13 10 07
How are we able to politicize exhibition practice?
To make exhibition project politically means to actualize the idea of soviets as a collective organ which produce and govern all forms of activity. It is important to transform the governmental logic of curating through the creation of Artistic Soviets, which would be involved in the making of the exhibition project as political undertaken from its earliest phases onward. It is the Artistic Soviet that could serve as a prototypical social model, capable of formulating and realizing its goals independently, taking on the function of an alternative power, an open system for interaction with society at large.
The true politicized exhibition produces new models of communication and
positions itself as a form of counter public space. These projects should
challenge the established relations what is accepted in the society as
political and what is accepted as aesthetic in art. It takes as a point of
departure the subjective space where true politics begin. As Jacques Rancière
has once precisely remarked:
To make exhibition politically means to find an embodiment to an activist approach to art. In this sense, it continues the tradition expressed in Marx’s 11th Thesis on Feuerbach: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it”. In this sense, these exhibitions need to avoid purely contemplative at all costs; in fact, such passive aesthetization represents a fundamental danger. Instead, the political exhibition demonstrates the possibility for aesthetic and social change, revealing the difference between what the world is today and what it could become.
The process of making exhibitions politically strives to address an audience that differs from the traditional audience of an art-exhibition in terms of social origin and class composition. It mobilizes the spectator to find himself as a political subject. But it realizes quite differently from the direct experience of participation in political action.
The actualization of the political potential of the “spectator” happens through the sharing the aesthetic experience, and it happens when everyone is approached with the challenge to become an engaged co-author, calling for solidarity through experience taken in common.
The politicized exhibition searches for alternate spaces to undertake its representations. Today, it seems as though the tactic with the most potential is not to choose between entrism and exodus but use this two strategies simultaneously. The main thing that we should keep in mind by choosing combinations of different tactics is the strategic goal to reclaim a surplus value that such projects create. This surplus value should become common and be dispersed back into everyday struggles and we should impose as more limitations as possible to limit the use of it for the profit of the institutions.
The politicized exhibitions arise in the process of interdisciplinary interaction. This process is not based on pre-determined knowledge, limited by the traditions of pre-existent disciplines (i.e. sociology, economics, philosophy, urbanism etc.). Instead, art becomes the spark and the catalyst for encounters between these fields, presenting them with new challenges and goals. This leads to the erosion of the dogmata of knowledge and the narrow approaches of professional guilds, and brings about a process of knowing, a creative cognitive process based in the micro-politics of establishing a new relation between disciplines and share the process of self-education of one small group with broader community.
The process of making visual art projects politically aim at achieving cultural hegemony. However, this striving toward hegemony has nothing to do with the old models of party dictatorship in cultural policy, or the dominance of one political discourse or one unified aesthetic style. Instead, it entails the strategic construction of the hegemony of subjectivity, critical and irreconcilable to any and all forms of sovereign power.
The formal-aesthetic practices of the politicized
exhibition create a new temporal mode of existence through the dialogue with
the spectator-participant. As an immediate embodiment of (counter-)public
space, it uses the creation of public architecture to erode the boundary
between art and life. In doing so, it employs the aesthetics of cinema and is
subject to the logic of participation, becoming an open multi-media archive or
a library, existing on foreign territory as a sit-in.
The political exhibition erodes the traditional autonomy of individual artworks by placing them into the public space of the exhibition. In this way, it works as a resonator for the differentiated political contexts that singular artworks will entails, bringing about a montage of subjectified polyphony.
The process of creating politicized projects is self-critical with regard to its possibilities and the legitimacy of its power.
other languagesHow are we able to politicize exhibition practice? ¿Cómo podemos politizar la práctica de la exposición? К вопросу о политической выставке