Thoughts on caring

1st May 2013 at 14:49

In a matter of days, a café has popped up in the Peter Scott Gallery, some 1960s James Bond posters from India have been hung from the balcony, uncanny creatures have made an appearance in the making time garden and a group of strangers met up to go on a silent walk...

Yes,  you have guessed right, curate the campus is back!

For the third year running, Live At LICA is inviting people to engage with a variety of projects across unusual campus locations and is turning its usual venues inside out.

Wonder what it might feel like to be allowed to write on the shiny white walls of an art gallery, cuppa in hand?

Why don't you pop in and find out?

Curate the campus has become something I very much look forward to every year, it is an amazing opportunity to experience new projects, often as they are still being conceived and to take some time to reflect on past and future projects.

Over the fortnight, I find myself engaging in conversations which are stimulated by the context of this unique residency programme and which always go on to inform my own thinking and practice a great deal.

This year, one of the key conversations I am having, thanks to Andy Smith’s Exquisite Corpse project, is around ‘curation’.

To me, curating means thinking about, and to some extent plotting, the context in which an artwork is being presented and how it may affect the various ways in which said artwork might be read, or experienced.

Parallel to this, curation, linguistically, also triggers thoughts around “caring”, “looking after”... What should we prioritise when curating an exhibition or an event? How do we negotiate looking after a viewer/audience, caring for the work (and in the case of live work, the artist), and communicating the fact that WE as artists and curators really do care while ensuring that we leave it up to the audience/viewer to interpret the work in whichever way(s) they wish and leave enough room for them to come in as what could be thought of as a ‘co-author’...

In the case of live art (in the broadest possible sense, i.e. read performing arts if you wish), where a living, breathing human being puts him/herself in front of an audience, there is that sense that what they are sharing does matter, that they do care. The time and the way in which the piece is presented is often enough to communicate the fact that the artist in question really does care and would like you, the audience, to care too...

I wonder if curation, in visual art terms, could/should include some kind of guidelines as to how much attention a piece might require, for example, maybe the label underneath a painting could include a recommended viewing time?

I wonder if and how curation might be about bringing “still” work to life... if it might form part of making experiencing the work some form of “live-ly” experience... and I am looking forward to seeing how A Smith’s background in performance might work towards a version of this...

Leo Burtin