Full Spectrum Curatorship Programme 2020
New online training for emerging curators
The Full Spectrum Curatorship is IMPAKT’s new online training programme especially designed for emerging and aspiring curators with a specific interest in media art and its relationship to technology and society. The programme aims to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and the practical aspects of curation in the field of media art. Therefore, the main this programme consists of lectures form renowned international curators that share not only their curatorial vision, but also hands-on experiences and insights. During the programme, each participant is guided by one mentor/curators and develops an artistic programme of his/her own.
The lecturers/mentors for this first edition of the programme are:
Ade Darmawan, Paulien Dresscher, Katerina Gregos, Bart Rutten, Angelique Spaninks, and Florian Wüst.
The Full Spectrum Curatorship Programme kicked-off in October 2020 and consists of three phases, ending in December 2020. Phase one and two consisted of lectures with Q&As from the different curators. Here, we present you with a small report of the highlights of each of the lectures. During the third and final phase in December the final presentations are taking place.
Lecture 1 by Florian Wüst
In the first lecture, independent film curator Florian Wüst presented his signature curatorial style, in which he combines historical and contemporary works, from the arts, to documentaries and commercials. He delved into his own curatorial process with the participants, explaining how he combines historical and contemporary film to convey a media history, a history of technology, of social developments. He went on to explain that history inscribes itself in the present day and the conception and construction of the future. He combines a vast variety of aesthetics, genres, historical time, mostly related to political and socially relevant topics, and on technical progress and development. According to Wüst, film is the perfect medium to mediate these issues.
Lecture 2 by Paulien Dresscher
Last month during her lecture, Paulien Dresscher shared her love for arts and storytelling and practicalities of the Dutch cultural field. During her lecture, she explained that the way we tell a story becomes a part of the stories we tell. This shapes our perception of the world. The core of why she loves to work with artists is that she believes they give us the material to understand the core essence of our world, our being, what it means to be human in this day and age. Art can be seen as a laboratory for the future but also as a road map for today. She went on explaining that we no longer look at painting to represent the world, but at the technological imaginary. The world of technology, new media and social media, are defining how we live our lives, but they are not always that new. When we look at Virtual Reality, for example, we see that the first imaginary book about VR was already published in 1935, and the first real VR device was in 1957. The heritage, where technology comes from, is good to keep in mind when you deal with ‘new’ technologies, Dresscher explained.
Lecture 3 by Ade Darmawan
In Ade Darmawans lecture, he delved into collaborative curating within his artist collective. He also touched upon video activism in Indonesia, local contexts and what it means to have a sustainable practice. He explained that an exhibition cannot stand alone, because a lot of important processes are not evident in the artwork. How do we imagine that audiences will see these processes? What if we exhibit in different contexts, such as a village demonstration? How do you show that in Amsterdam? What is the post-exhibition? Reinterpation, hacking, making tools so that something lasts longer, it is against the logic of the technology industry, he said. His project Unconditional Design collects all of these aesthetics and practices, how people deal with technology in everyday life, and turns it into something else. In Southeast Asia technologies, as representations of modern inventions, clash with tradition, spirituality and culture from a traditional and local contexts. Ade explained he finds tension very interesting, because these new technologies and media come together with knowledge, language, tradition, spirituality. This is still happening and practiced today. A lot of artists try to combine or divide these contrasting elements in a very extreme way.
Lecture 4 by Angelique Spaninks
In her lecture Angelique Spaninks focused on the importance of literature to expand your knowledge as a curator. She shares her reading list with the Full Spectrum Curatorship participants. According to Spaninks books have a great value. A lot of the weight of what really grounds knowledge is still in books. She explained how the careful writing and nuancing of your thoughts is an interesting take on things for her as a curator, which she combines with the visual, the experience of an installation or a performance. She continued with a work that she has recently commissioned: Lucy McRaes Solitary Survival Raft. Lucy focusses a lot on her physical relationship to machines and the way we get to interact with machines, Spaninks said. She wondered if machines will take over the relationship we would normally have with people. All Lucys work is about quarantining, solitude and interacting with machines. When the pandemic hit, suddenly McRae found herself alone in her studio, only interacting with machines for weeks and weeks. This raft was made to capture that feeling.
Lecture 5 by Bart Rutten
During his lecture, Bart Rutten talks us through his career path, working with institutions and acquisitions and sharing past and future shows he’s worked on. He explained how he started in the field of new media arts when it was still in a definition fight, on becoming the last avant garde. New Media was the promise of the future. He said he remembers clearly the moment we got access to the web. You could go to a special room, where there was a computer, so you could send an email. The arrival of institutionalized video art was most booming back then.
Lecture 6 by Katerina Gregos
In her lecture Katerina Gregos examined the relationship between arts, society and politics. She explained that how artists bridge meaningful content and memorable form are the two things that are extremely important when looking at art from a curatorial perspective. She went on saying: “Never about them without them!” with which she stresses the importance of being in dialogue with the ones whose stories you are portraying through your work, in particular when it’s about contesting issues. As a curator you are not there to represent them, you are there to have an understanding of their circumstances. Media arts is much more challenging to present, she explained. The first thing you have to make sure is that you have the expertise, budget, and technical infrastructure to meet the artist’s needs. According to Gregor the curator is first and foremost at the service of the artist and it is their responsibility to present the work in the optimum way. She also shed light on the importance of finacially compensations artists, as it is absolutely paramount that we take into account the fact that artistic labour is labour of any other kind.
Florian Wüst is an artist and independent film curator based in Berlin. He has been a regular contributor to the Impakt Festival. Besides curating film programmes for international venues, Wüst frequently writes and lectures about topics related to film and society. Together with Stefanie Schulte Strathaus, he is editor of Who says concrete doesn’t burn, have you tried? West Berlin Film in the ’80s (2008).
Paulien Dresscher is an independent curator and researcher in the field of art, culture and digital media on the crossroads of theory and practice. Currently she is part of the Steering Committee of PublicSpaces, curator for the interactive program of the Nederlands Film Festival, the art program of Into The Great Wide Open and Planet B/Waag. She is teaching Media Philosophy and Screen Cultures at Utrecht University and is a researcher affiliated with the Creative Economy theme of the Fontys University of Applied Sciences. Furthermore she is part of the Advisory Board of the Dutch Literature Fund.
Ade Darmawan is curator and the director of Ruangrupa, a contemporary art collective based in Jakarta. Together with Ruangrupa, he co-curated TRANSaction: Sonsbeek 2016. With Ruangrupa he is also appointed as the artistic director of Documenta 15 in Kassel 2022.
Angelique Spaninks is director and curator at MU Hybrid Art House, Eindhoven. She was director and artistic manager at STRP Festival from 2012 to 2018 and international curator for the 6th Guangzhou Triennial in 2018.
Bart Rutten is artistic director of the Centraal Museum Utrecht. He was previously the head of collections at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and the Netherlands Media Art Institute.
Katerina Gregos is a curator, lecturer and educator. She is currently artistic director of the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens (EMST). Gregos has become internationally known for curating critical exhibitions that examine the relationship between art, society and politics with a particular view on questions of democracy, human rights, the economy, changing global production circuits as well as historiography. She has curated numerous large-scale international institutional and museum exhibitions and biennials including, among others, the 1st Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (2018); the 5th Thessaloniki Biennial (2015); the Göteborg International Biennial (2013) and Manifesta 9 (2012). She has also curated three critically acclaimed national pavilions at the Venice Biennale: Croatia (2019); Belgium (2015) and Denmark (2011). Gregos regularly publishes on art and artists in exhibition catalogues, journals and books, and is a visiting lecturer at HISK: the Higher Institute of Arts in Ghent. She lives between Athens and Brussels.