Art as a verb

9.09.2013 / from 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Bard, Center for Curatorial Studies, CCS Bard Seminar Room 1. New York, United States
Organized by Graduate Program at Bard Centre for Curatorial Studies and coordinated by Paul O’Neill

The Visitor Talks: Pre-ambulation and Retrospection – Tania Bruguera. 

Bruguera’s presentation “Art as a verb” will be centered on Arte Útil which in Spanish roughly translates as useful or benefitial art, but also suggests art as a device or tool. Arte Útil is an artistic practice that imagines, creates and implements socially beneficial outcomes. This year-long investigation initiated by the artist Tania Bruguera includes an online archive, an association of Arte Útil practitioners, an open-call, a publication, a working laboratory at the Queens Museum, an artist residency at Immigrant Movement International and a series of public projects and debates culminating in the transformation of a building at the Van Abbemuseum in the Netherlands into the Museum of Arte Útil in the fall of 2013.

In the Fall of 2013, the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (CCS Bard) will host The Visitor Talks. Focused on themes of Pre-ambulation and Retrospection, two parallel series of talks will reflect upon overarching issues pertaining to the conundrum of research within contemporary art, curatorial practice, and their attendant discourses.

Rather than accepting “doing research” or “the curatorial” as shorthand catch all phrases for the practices of seeking, questioning, and unraveling the as-yet unknown, The Visitor Talks examines the various methodological pathways towards the “Eureka moment”, and their aftermath. In attending to the many activities associated with collecting, gathering, and editing, the series will explore the possibilities, limitations and contradictions of these pathways.

By examining how the cognitive working-through, living and questioning of the generative agencies made possible within such modalities The Visitor Talks aims to speculate on the implicated position of the researcher and how certain conceptions and understandings of individual approaches to research-as-practice and practice-as-research can intersect or diverge from one another. Given that research projects regularly involve dialogical and co-operative forms of production, the entanglement of relationships that make them possible are invariably accompanied by social, ethical and political imperatives. The Visitor Talks will look at how artists, curators and theorists employ different models, processes, and actions as ways to inscribe, produce and exhibit knowledge as much as how they can inhabit their own material, textual, and discursive fields of praxis.

Under the rubric of Pre-ambulation, visitors to CCS Bard will present their individual approaches to research within current works, projects, and texts under development by responding to the question:

. How Do We Do What We Do, How Do We Know We Are Doing It?

For Retrospection, a range of practitioners, educators, and theorists will critically reflect upon the after effects of projects past. These presentations will consider the question:

. With Retrospection, How Would We Do Things Differently, How Would We Do It Again?

Each of these two overlapping strands will unpick the enigma of research and how it’s understanding currently intersects with contested notions of the curatorial, given they have arguably begun to closely resemble one another. Together, they have been conceived of as forms of critical thought that do not rush to embody themselves from the outset, but instead they evolve over time. Both have been expressed as having the potential to go beyond what is already known-as continuous processes of becoming that allow for connections, ideas, and outcomes to emerge in the course of being realized-where serendipity often overlaps with speculative action and open-ended forms of production.

Some of the issues to be expanded upon are: research as artistic production; the problematic question of agency within co-production; professionalization versus the instinctual amateur; writing as curatorial practice; the exhibition as a form of research action; expanded notions of the curatorial and the role of research models and methodologies within these; art writing as a curatorial form, and the distinction between research into curatorial practice/exhibition histories and the curatorial as in itself a mode of research practice.