petit THINK TANK exhibiting as going public (gathering)

_exhibiting as going public

_4 Dez _ Dec 09 : 15 / 17 pm [friday] _Oporto

petit CABANON proposed a two hour conversation revolving around notions of public, exhibiting and publishing. This was the first gathering occurring outside the physical space of pC, the small space we had in the same street which was handed back before summer. We have called “petit THINK TANKs” to a series of long, calm and more or less deep conversations into interdisciplinary questions – these are different from the conversation pieces, or from the gatherings and small exhibitions we have been producing. Recalling what propelled the petit THINK TANKs, these are moments of intense discussion of a question or notion articulating a conjunction of concerns of its intervenients. Although from different disciplines, perspectives and backgrounds, we have been thinking of the extensions of curating, of exhibiting and of research in visual cultures. The 1st one posed a problem of extension: “after the laboratory?” questioning and collectively thinking of the limits of the idea of laboratory as a research model and space. It was transcribed and published as a chapter of a book, and its contributors came from anthropology, biology, visual arts, or critical theory. The second one was encapsulated within a multi-practice environment of architecture and revolved around the limits of the discipline of architecture in which we were trapped: “what can we do?”, was maybe the question raising from that afternoon, which obviously remained unsolved, and even led to a certain tension among those present. As for the third particular session, called “exhibiting as going public”, it was the first one to be open to an audience, due to the nature of the contents it was addressing: the public and publicness of research and exhibiting.

We performed at different levels: firstly staging an encounter with a public. And, more indirectly, addressing the moments of interaction and participation with “the public” or “the audience”, but also, and most especially the conundrum of filtering, and editing, and communication, and translation that occurs when transforming an “incomplete content”, whether academic research, or partial experimentation, or on-going project, into something public. Editing and exhibiting, are activities giving a shape and making public that which is previously unfinished, secretive or simply private. And the politics of going public behind these activities – that most of us share as researchers, writers, teachers or curators – is mirrored by that politics of the encounter with a public, with and audience, and it is conceptualized in more active notions of participation, of relationality or in even deeper notions of communality within the group perceived as the public.

The send-off of this petit THINK TANK was the recent release of the 3rd edited volume of Displayer, by Doreen Mende, a curator, theoretician and editor who produced Dispalyer within the “Program Exhibition Design and Curatorial Practice” Hochschule für Gestaltung / ZKM Karlsruhe. We departed from her presentation and from the audiovisual contribution of Filipa César, a filmed book especially directed for Displayer 3, screened besides us, following us, as part of the conversation. But, instead of a book launch, we tried to expand the notion underlying this volume:

While an academy is an environment which does not request a ‘finished’ product, the space of exhibition depends on something to be shown to a public. (…) In which way can a publication be understood as a space for exhibiting? Under which demands as well as urgencies does a publication expand the conditions of an academy?”.

We invited Susana Caló, a philosopher and editor of Detritos Magazine, who is undertaking her PhD in London, to respond and to expand on the interceptions of going public: the politics of space and the notion of public domain. Susana opened 3 questions that articulated the later discussion: “on singularities and difficulties of the editorial practice” and “on how is a publication actualizing”; “a question of collectiveness and the dissolution of the author” and the difference of an author writing of things, and a writer writing with things; “on the erasure of the author or the artist by that of the collective” and on collectiveness and the fragility of academy research. The conversation proceeded with a presentation of Gabriela V. Pinheiro, an artist whose artwork is devoted to notions of public, who addresses the public from a close relation in which communality and relationality are conceptualized to interpolate participation, and, to more recently posit the art work within the dynamics of the public within an art institution [or a certain vision of institutional critique].

We intend not to be academic on our approach, but to expand the limits of academy and those of going public, as ours guests proposed us.


organization _
petit THINK TANKs are part of petit CABANON
a project by Inês Moreira since 2007

this petit THINK TANK has the support of Reflexus, JUP and FBAUP