Home » For and about students » Techne Community » Techne Students list » TECHNE Students 2017-18 » Emma Gradin
AHRC Techne funded doctoral student
Slow Works - Deceleration as Curatorial Paradigm
Year of enrolment: 2017
Curatorial policies currently favoured by public institutions such as Tate, the V&A and the National Gallery rely on sound bite information devised by the curator for ready interpretation, with the aim of making art more accessible to diverse audiences. My own curatorial practice has convinced me that this approach, while justified in its concern for accessibility, tends to speed up and compact the initial encounter with art, shortening the time of ‘not-knowing’, which crucially allows us to appreciate those often contradicting and hard-to-grasp qualities essential to aesthetic experience.My research challenges the sound bite approach while upholding its concern for accessibility by proposing deceleration as a new paradigm for curation. A ‘decelerated’ exhibition presents visitors not with foregone conclusions based on theoretical argument but with a structured wealth of contextual material informed by artistic practice and process, enabling audiences to cultivate curiosity and engage in self-directed exploration, on their own terms and in their own time. This asserts both the autonomy of the artworks and the integrity of the visitor against the hegemony of expert opinion.My critical approach will build on research on curatorial strategy and aesthetic experience (O’Neill 2012, Molesworth 2003, Crary 2001) while taking cues from artistic practice, with special emphasis on two formative sites: the studio and the art school (Latham 1991, Berger 2012, Obrist 2009). In keeping with my focus on art making (the nexus of work and experience), my inquiry will unfold along two complementary series of case studies: one consisting of observations and conversations with artists over a sustained period of time; the other analysing visitor behaviour in exhibitions. These will inform experimental methods of exhibition-making that encourage visitors to look longer and more closely and posits the gallery as a counter-space to the accelerated temporality of capitalism ruling our everyday lives.