Call for Papers: Curating
The idea of a curatorial turn (Paul O’Neill 2007) has already been a pivot of discussion for some time within the museum and art context: since the 1960s the role of the curator as mediator, communicator and facilitator of art commissions and the dissemination of artworks has gained increased importance (Gabriella Giannachi and Jonah Westerman 2018). The curator's task is no longer to find and select the ‘best art’ and make it available to an audience. Nowadays, curators are compelled to create context, discourse and relationships between different audiences and the production and dissemination of artworks, sometimes to the extent that curators take on the role of authors.
It is debatable whether we see a similar development for the role of the dramaturg within theatres. The concept of curation indeed has gained ground in recent years in the field of performing arts (Georgina Guy 2016, Dena Davida, Marc Pronovost, Véronique Hudon and Jane Gabriels (eds.) 2018). Here, the notion of ‘curating’ is widely used either as a synonym for repertoire planning (Katalin Trencsényi 2015) or in a more acute sense as the temporal production of public spaces for political and social situations (Florian Malzacher 2017, Beatrice von Bismarck 2014). In recent years, educational programmes on curation in the performing arts have been launched, e.g. in Salzburg and Venice. This increased importance of curatorial practices beyond the so-called ‘artworld’ may be a necessary response to the old, classicist, citizenist, nationalist, patriarchal and heteronormative idea of a homogenous public, which needs educating through culture, through a curated canon and repertoire (Lessing). This situation presents theatres, dramaturgs, curators and artists with a range of challenges and opportunities, because the knowledge, relationships and contexts that were implied to constitute art as part of a common public sphere can no longer be taken for granted.
That is why, when planning a theatre repertoire, a live art or festival programme, curatorial practice can no longer be based on utilitarian principles such as ‘the best for most’. Such a principle presupposes the problematic idea of an educated citizen with ‘taste’, who would participate in the sensus communis (Kant), but the idea of ‘taste’ here of course is entangled with racialised, gendered and classist biases, and neglects histories of discrimination against marginalised perspectives, their cultural needs and tastes. Instead, contemporary curatorial and dramaturgical practices must take into account different demographic, economic and socio-political issues when assessing artistic quality, commissioning, framing and making certain artworks available to publics. The racialised history of the so-called artworld and its curation, as well as the painful persistence of white cultural canons and repertoires, have only become ever more pressing issues in the wake of the #BlackLiveMatters movement, the murder of George Floyd and artistic interventions like I am Queen Mary by Jeanette Ehlers and La Vaughn Belle. Demands for anti-racist reclaiming of public space have resulted in the destruction of historical monuments and statues of people involved in the Atlantic Slave trade. We are urged with renewed vigour to negotiate whose histories and tastes artworks actually represent, and who gets to think, write and curate public spaces and cultural experiences for whom.
These issues makes us reflect on the meaning of ‘curation’ for the field of theatre and performing arts: what does it mean to ‘curate’ repertoires in theatre institutions, to ‘curate’ performing arts festivals or to ‘curate’ performance practices outside of purpose-built theatre buildings? Where do curatorial practices and dramaturgical practices align, overlap and/or differ? What does a curatorial lens offer for the field of theatre making and dramaturgy? What is the potential and what are the limits in putting into dialogue curatorial traditions within art museums and the field of theatre, dramaturgs and performing arts?
This issue of Peripeti invites contributions which address but are not limited to:
- queer, feminist and postcolonial notions of taste
- contemporary and historical principles for repertoire planning, casting, audience development, artistic development and profiling of theatres
- the role of dramaturgs outside the purpose-built theatre, in curating festivals, residency programmes and archives
- new modes of collecting, exhibiting and displaying performing arts
- imagined museums and art spaces
- theatre, curating and new materialism
- theatre, curating and temporalities
- dramaturgies of museum exhibitions and art gallery displays
- reclaiming of art spaces from marginalised perspectives
- performances that curate and negotiate relations between audiences and spaces through their aesthetics
- curatorial sensibility as co-creator of the artwork
- curating as art
Articles can be submitted in any of the Scandinavian languages or in English and cannot be already published or submitted for publishing elsewhere.
Please send proposals to Anika Marschall: email@example.com
- Deadline for abstracts, max. 300 words: 1st December 2020
- Deadline articles (for peer review and other contributions): 1st May 2021
- Publication: mid-December 2021.
Research articles (for peer review): max. 36,000 characters, other essays: max. 24,000 characters
Peripeti is a Danish journal focusing on dramaturgy and performing arts, edited by researchers, dramaturgs and artists, see http://www.peripeti.dk
Editors of this issue are Solveig Gade, Johan Holm Mortensen, Anika Marschall, Storm Møller Madsen and Thomas Rosendal Nielsen.