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DOOSAN Curator Workshop

Artist IncubatingDOOSAN Curator Workshop

Seminar Ⅱ - Binna Choi

May.25.2024

Seminar Ⅱ - Binna Choi

 

Our aim was to locate one another’s current curatorial position in the ever-changing, complex ecosystem of curating (agent/conditions/object/action/other similar and related professions, etc.), while simultaneously fostering dialogues over the (un)definability of curatorship as a profession. Throughout this process, we were careful to not lose sight of such fundamental questions as those regarding art, culture, society, life, politics, technology, and the universe; as well as the themes “artistic life,” “everybody is a star,” universal basic income and “three bodies.”

 

Ecosystem diagrams/maps/drawings to build the possibilities of the (un)definability of curatorship, shared stories/remaining thoughts

-     Curating is a profession! When I consider other things that are classified as such, I’ve come to realize that curating is one that works in an ecosystem of workers. As a necessary condition for curating as a vocation, we proposed “exhibition making.” We’ve come to see the distinction between those who make their own exhibitions and those who don’t as a clear measure of who can be considered a curator. By the end of this exercise there was also the sentiment that curators and exhibitions should be understood in terms of cultural history. In other words, the formation of the curatorial profession signifies the formation of a culture of people who make exhibitions. I hope to see more narratives relating to curatorial culture in Korean society. (Jinju)

-     “How can one speak of the dignity of labor to a person who inwardly feels that his or her profession should not exist? How could one not feel deep indignation and resentment in such a situation? . . . What would happen if that entire occupational class were to disappear?” (David Graeber, Bullshit Job, 19) Is curating a profession? What is the likelihood that it too falls under the category of “bullshit jobs”? Coined by anthropologist David Graeber, the term refers to jobs that appear as labor, but are in fact ambiguous in their aims and creations, ultimately proving meaningless and potentially even detrimental to those around them—think private equity CEOs, advertising researchers, insurance agents, telemarketers, bailiffs, and legal consultants. Middlemen, and the curators who are often likened to them, who have emerged in response to the hyper-intensification of capitalism. In the midst of the ruthlessness of the current industry, I continue to contemplate over what I can make with the tools I have. (Yurmyurng)

-     If, when debating over the conditions that make curator a profession, we determine it to mean the making of exhibitions, then questions such as what kind of exhibitions are made, why they are made, and what the goals and intentions of these exhibitions are rise to the surface. As much as usage of the word “curator” and “curating” has expanded (and in some ways become more casual), so have exhibitions in their varied forms. At the end of the last meeting, I had made a remark about not having very positive feelings towards regarding myself as a curator, or other curators in general, but after some thought I want to correct this statement. I believe that there is a reason and role for us curators. However, as a profession it is necessary to critique the (past and the changed, current) conditions and standards that curators are based on, as well as view curating through the lens of cultural history. I reconsider the importance of drawing the terrain of curators and curating. We also examined other professions similar to curator, or ones that co-create the ecosystem to which curators belong, on which we shared our respective positions. (Jaemin)

 

One curatorial idea from today’s meeting

-     If building exhibitions is the primary task of a curator, then that labor is driven by human relationships. Come to think of it, curator as labor is quite positively oriented. A curator’s practice is shaped by the process of making connections and the outcome of those connections. Therefore the question we need to ask is, what kind of relationships do we want to have? (Jinju)

-     From among the many forms of exhibitions, what can we name a curatorial practice? When and where in the life of an exhibition is the curatorial position formed? What does curatorial practice mediate, and whether it should strive for neutrality or take a more active stance? (Yurmyurng)

-     When I think of curators as mediators, I think of words that are implicit in journalism, like fairness, communication, and balance. Of these, balance seems to be what I am currently interested in and aiming for. Perfect balance is an ideal, but for me, balance is about blurring boundaries and creating a framework in which opinions and counter-arguments can be exchanged. To quote from the text Broker, “Curating is about refusing to define yourself through the ‘speed of art.’” (Jaemin)

 

 

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