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chris paxton

Eingangspunkt – Meditations on Entry, Access and Assembly

What role does the point of entry play in relation to the curatorial? Crossing the threshold is the first point of contact for audiences, preceding content and form. From there the audience is immersed in a physical and ideological space which is not their own but rather is determined by the artist(s), curator(s), and/or institution. How is the public welcomed into such a situation? Are they welcome at all? The political implications of the interior/exterior dichotomy become immediately apparent. The exclusivity of the art world or even the regulation and enforcement of political borders, for example, raise urgent questions about accessibility and agency. Postcolonial theorist Gayatri Spivak asks us to acknowledge not only ‘who’ we are but ‘where’ we are in relation to authority and privilege. Are you in or out? What kind of curatorial strategies can create hospitable contact zones where ideas can be freely negotiated and exchanged, despite existing boundaries of accessibility? What potentials exist for new modes of entry and collaboration?

Assembly as Curatorial Strategy

What are the potentials and limitations of assembly as a strategy for facilitating open and inclusive discursive spaces, that is, spaces where a transformative processes of negotiation can take place?
Let’s rethink the whole thing. Give it away. Let them figure it out. By renegotiating the terms of access, a point of entry can become more than simply a threshold to cross. Considering assemblage in curatorial terms, as a mode of entry into a situation, could shift the dynamic. Facilitating an assembly as a curatorial strategy provides the tools, building blocks and agency for discourse and critique, while the narrative remains open ended. The nature of assembly can be sporadic, not bound to a particular physical space or moment in time. A gathering becomes a happening becomes a riot. The point of entry transforms from a demarcation of inclusion and exclusion into a permeable contact zone: a way of entering into a new reflexive engagement. Is there a curatorial responsibility to facilitate spaces where the boundaries between the work and audience blur beyond recognition? As the tools and agency are handed over, the indeterminacy of the situation increases, but so does the potential for a continuous and reflexive world building process.

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