The Curatorial Design Research Lab anchors its community of practice with regular meetings that act as the Lab’s hub, offering a critical sounding board for projects, curatorially-related courses, and potential collaborations within and beyond the Lab.
CDRL members identified four thematic, structuring threads that can be distilled through our projects and practices. We have used these threads as an organizing tool for our website’s content, and to invite ongoing exchange.
Glenn Ligon, FOR COMRADES AND LOVERS, 2015, Permanent Site Specific Commission, The New School University Center, entrance.
“What brings me to the Lab is the possibility it offers of connecting with other people in the institution who are similarly engaged in framing curatorial issues within a broader socio-political context.”Radhika Subramaniam
“If you start to understand the goal of curating to be about generating dialogue, or new sorts of social relations, or unusual forms of knowledge exchange–then that becomes the project’s focus and guides all curatorial decisions. The objects/images you choose to include may be aesthetically charged and of interest to an art-oriented crowd, but the ways that you curatorially activate those objects through co-creation or orchestrated dialogical exchanges has the potential of attracting much broader publics who want to engage with the issues that the art works raise.”Lydia Matthews
“At the Vera List Center, we have a public mandate, and hardly ever do we present anything that is confined to an academic discourse exclusively …I am not interested in having conversations just among ourselves …I want to test our ideas with a public there.”Carin Kuoni
“From a student point of view I’m really interested in the ways graduates from other departments could exchange critically with each other…the curatorial bracket is a really fertile space to do that.”Fernando do Campo
“Within an institution that prides itself on a certain academic freedom, how are disagreements manifested? How does an institution deal with contestation and dissent? How are differences of viewpoint voiced and more importantly, heard? How do we actually think about dissensus in an educational institution?” Radhika Subramaniam
“The collaborations across the New School’s divisions don’t happen as much as they could or should…I was interested in reaching out to all kinds of different programs…and so this desire or wish or curiosity to overcome the silo nature of the divisions and to reach out to other divisions more proactively.”Carin Kuoni
“The dissent we were looking at in our “Offense + Dissent” exhibition was a way to corral this other past that a lot of us want to find ourselves connected to — a past of the New School that was particularly politically active. What does it mean to dissent now, and how do we open that question through looking at the past? As a curatorial project, there’s a temporality to it all. So how do we embrace and use the temporality of an exhibit to push questions and answers in different ways?”Julia Foulkes
“Sometimes getting local residents involved in the co-production of a project (e.g., by leading public workshops, crafting material aspects of a work, conducting multidisciplinary research, envisioning strategies for the project’s focus to link to external groups or political actions, etc), makes engagement more immediate and meaningful for the local audience, especially if they have had a voice in determining the project’s overall shape or content. This does not have to be the domain of art/design experts alone.”Lydia Matthews
pedagogy, political action, research and dialogue
“I try to orchestrate events which may or may not include exhibitions, but that bring multiple perspectives and multiple bodies of knowledge together to investigate a topic that is of common interest to all. I like to think of curating as a kind of a performative “expanded workshop” practice. For me, how artists and designers function in dialogue with people from other disciplines is key, so acknowledging the ethics involved in curating is core.”Lydia Matthews
“It is exciting to see how material from the past can spark and affect current conversations around and outside of the university, which often take unexpected and productive turns; it is our challenge to find ways to encourage these conversations to grow and continue on after an exhibition closes.”Wendy Scheir
pedagogy, research and dialogue, social practice
“Carin Kuoni came into my class to take about curatorship in a way that was very helpful to me… Her definition was “taking care” … you’re basically responsible for somebody else’s creation and/or facilitating group dialogue and public dialogue and you need to do so with as little harm as possible.”Julia Foulkes
“I see it [curating] as the ability to think temporally and spatially about initiating dialogue. Those are the processes that interest me—being able to convene a wide range of people, in the creative disciplines and their particular contribution. I’m rarely compelled by how one might conceive of a one-person show or an art historical moment or a trend in a discipline in and of itself. I would go to exhibitions that do that but I myself am not interested in doing that kind of work.”Radhika Subramaniam