Beyond the Academy, Research as Exhibition (now with updated links)

Symposium at Tate Britain. 14.05.2010

In case TATE is not making the recording available I have a MP3 recording.

1. Intro by Noortje Marres, Research Fellow Oxford University. 9 min. 3.2 MB

download intro here

2. Bruno Latour. Discusses the process and issues raised by his co-curatorship with Peter Weibel of Making Things Public. Atmospheres of Democracy (2005) and Iconoclash (2002) exhibitions both held at ZKM Museum of Contemporary Art. 35 min. 12.4 MB

download Latour here

More about Bruno Latour:   http://anthem-group.net/2010/05/06/research-as-exhibition/

Post on Symposium: Mutable Matter
http://mutablematter.wordpress.com/2010/05/15/do-that-thing-that-you-do/

I went to this symposium with a different idea about the relationship between research and exhibition. From an artist point of view and practice based/led PhD research point of view. Creating installations is in a sense creating exhibitions, and my research will lead to making an exhibition or situation where questions are tested, leading to evaluation of positions taken, conclusions and new questions.

The first speaker to refer to the exhibition as part of research was Susan Pui San Lok. She considers the exhibition as ‘a pit stop’. Sadly non of the speakers went into any detail about research methodologies or about how they evaluated their research.

See for instance an article by Niedderer, K.; Biggs, M.;Ferris, M. (2006) The Research Exhibition: context, interpretation and knowledge creation.
http://hdl.handle.net/2299/4383

If an exhibition is really a research outcome then we should see exhibitions that have a negative answer or conclusions to the research questions. At least to mention that such and such positions where not found to be the case… Clearly today museums and (public) galleries are first of all commercial operations, not a place where exhibitions are staged that fulfill research criteria as a top priority. Same might be said for the artworld as a whole.

Bruno Latour’s exhibitions might be the exception. [other examples anyone?]
Not for nothing his comments about these exhibitions mentioned the fact that he didn’t need to worry about the funding,  about visitor numbers,  about ‘making a success’ and he didn’t need to worry about the catalogue as it was made after the exhibition was finished.

The exhibition as research: exhibition as thought experiment, and a place to dramatise facts, following theatre of proof argument from science.

In his view the most important thing to consider is the fact that by aiming to create an exhibit the artist, curator or researcher needs to work with very specific constrains: The research needs to be materialised, put into forms that are more than illustration, more than questioning, it needs to test. The constraints are much bigger than the thought experiments or the written papers because you have to go all the way. The thought experiment often anticipates the real experiment.

Bruno Latour talked about the exhibitions but showed some examples of art. Does the exhibition as research imply that there is something as the instance of art as research? Is the research on the level of exhibition (the ‘making public’, or done by the curator) and can contain any art? Is the research done by the artist and in the process exhibited? Or both?

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