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How can the curatorial create spaces and conditions for activating a micropolitical and holistic making of social empathy; an approach on post- representational curation

How can the curatorial create spaces and conditions for activating a micropolitical and holistic making of social empathy; an approach on post- representational curation
How can the curatorial create spaces and conditions for activating a micropolitical and holistic making of social empathy; an approach on post- representational curation
This practice-based PhD research contributes a new perspective to the field of contemporary post-representational curation with the specific angle of examining how the curatorial can activate spaces and conditions for a micropolitical and holistic making of social empathy. The research reconsiders and experiments with what an ‘exhibition’ can be, how else ideas can be ‘exhibited’ or rather ‘in-habited’ and made to be experienced beyond curatorial forms of display, representation and beyond the consumption of –in particular– the visual. This thesis challenges the tri-partition of the audience, artist, curator; rethinking and questioning the curator’s role and the paradigm in which she ought to operate. It explores how the curatorial can achieve a more self-determined aesthetic and discursive form of practice, one that actively engages and dissolves the on-looking audiences; a practice that instead strives to nurture agency and partaking protagonists. This research activated a curation which emphasises the processual and that replaces the approach of what curator and theoretician Nora Sternfeld would call displaying ‘objects’ or ‘objective values’ with a focus on the notion of the discursive encounter. It extends what Sternfeld refers to as the ‘contact zone’ and a space for ‘asymmetric relations’ by focusing on the micropolitical and the deepening of the relational by incorporating alternative and holistic ways of knowledge production, embracing what Brazilian curator and theorist Suely Rolnik calls the ‘knowing body’. Micropolitical is understood in Rolnik’s rationale as an affective and social process in the production of subjectivity, decolonisation and de-subjectivation of the (social) body and its relationality to the Other. The concept of decolonisation is approached here phenomenologically, to delink from hegemonic and capitalistic appropriations in the process of subjectivation. The research takes guidance in, and exists as an extended interpretation of, Brazilian activist and educational theorist Paulo Freire’s learning approach of ‘critical consciousness’ (conscientization) of the 1960s and 70s, to address and experience readings of- and being in the world, moving towards new levels of critical awareness. Through the practical research framework of the Radical Empathy Lab (REL), a curation that creates the conditions for a holistic relational –versus an informational– learning was explored. REL’s approach emphasises the sensual and experiential for creating conscientization, to sharpen our senses for an ‘active micropolitics’ (Rolnik), towards exploring new forms of being together that momentarily allow one to reflect, to re-feel and undo a reactionary an-aesthesia (Greek: anaesthēsis: without sensation). REL encompasses recovering and re-learning subaltern knowledges, practices and forms of relating, mindfulness and awareness. It keeps reciprocally intertwining and cross-fertilizing theory with practice, the individual with the collective. REL investigates the relation between micro and macro dimensions of agency, as practices of self-empowerment that decolonise and desubjectivate the (social) body and its relationality to the other, towards building a collective, temporary ‘relational body’ (Spinoza), allowing for social empathy and existing in difference with (each/)Other; a social empathy that scholar Carolyn Pedwell would call ‘affective translation’. The research concludes with the coinage of a new terminology as “intra-curation” and “affective transformative curation” for considering this specific curatorial approach.
University of Southampton
Fischer, Berit
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Fischer, Berit
c49d2488-2b1b-4770-9a4e-6dc5d02a1b1a
Bishop, Ryan
a4f07e31-14a0-44c4-a599-5ed96567a2e1
Davis, August J.
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Fischer, Berit (2019) How can the curatorial create spaces and conditions for activating a micropolitical and holistic making of social empathy; an approach on post- representational curation. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 199pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This practice-based PhD research contributes a new perspective to the field of contemporary post-representational curation with the specific angle of examining how the curatorial can activate spaces and conditions for a micropolitical and holistic making of social empathy. The research reconsiders and experiments with what an ‘exhibition’ can be, how else ideas can be ‘exhibited’ or rather ‘in-habited’ and made to be experienced beyond curatorial forms of display, representation and beyond the consumption of –in particular– the visual. This thesis challenges the tri-partition of the audience, artist, curator; rethinking and questioning the curator’s role and the paradigm in which she ought to operate. It explores how the curatorial can achieve a more self-determined aesthetic and discursive form of practice, one that actively engages and dissolves the on-looking audiences; a practice that instead strives to nurture agency and partaking protagonists. This research activated a curation which emphasises the processual and that replaces the approach of what curator and theoretician Nora Sternfeld would call displaying ‘objects’ or ‘objective values’ with a focus on the notion of the discursive encounter. It extends what Sternfeld refers to as the ‘contact zone’ and a space for ‘asymmetric relations’ by focusing on the micropolitical and the deepening of the relational by incorporating alternative and holistic ways of knowledge production, embracing what Brazilian curator and theorist Suely Rolnik calls the ‘knowing body’. Micropolitical is understood in Rolnik’s rationale as an affective and social process in the production of subjectivity, decolonisation and de-subjectivation of the (social) body and its relationality to the Other. The concept of decolonisation is approached here phenomenologically, to delink from hegemonic and capitalistic appropriations in the process of subjectivation. The research takes guidance in, and exists as an extended interpretation of, Brazilian activist and educational theorist Paulo Freire’s learning approach of ‘critical consciousness’ (conscientization) of the 1960s and 70s, to address and experience readings of- and being in the world, moving towards new levels of critical awareness. Through the practical research framework of the Radical Empathy Lab (REL), a curation that creates the conditions for a holistic relational –versus an informational– learning was explored. REL’s approach emphasises the sensual and experiential for creating conscientization, to sharpen our senses for an ‘active micropolitics’ (Rolnik), towards exploring new forms of being together that momentarily allow one to reflect, to re-feel and undo a reactionary an-aesthesia (Greek: anaesthēsis: without sensation). REL encompasses recovering and re-learning subaltern knowledges, practices and forms of relating, mindfulness and awareness. It keeps reciprocally intertwining and cross-fertilizing theory with practice, the individual with the collective. REL investigates the relation between micro and macro dimensions of agency, as practices of self-empowerment that decolonise and desubjectivate the (social) body and its relationality to the other, towards building a collective, temporary ‘relational body’ (Spinoza), allowing for social empathy and existing in difference with (each/)Other; a social empathy that scholar Carolyn Pedwell would call ‘affective translation’. The research concludes with the coinage of a new terminology as “intra-curation” and “affective transformative curation” for considering this specific curatorial approach.

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Berit Fischer PhD Thesis - Version of Record
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Published date: September 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 444089
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/444089
PURE UUID: 100b1a60-765f-4f11-9839-f1c27503759f

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 24 Sep 2020 16:44
Last modified: 12 Dec 2021 10:04

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Contributors

Author: Berit Fischer
Thesis advisor: Ryan Bishop
Thesis advisor: August J. Davis

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