BBC1 DJ John Peel had a self-check: if he didn’t like a submission he received he thought that rather then the recording being necessarily bad, something was off with himself, because whoever made it had invested into studio time, putting artwork and money together, and he needed to try to understand how to work with not understanding what people make.
Curator, as a figure, unlike an artist, is a fairly recent development and one easily villainized. Curating can be seen as an outgrowth of professionalized system of submission and application, the auction-tradefair module, curators painted as gatekeepers, a bundle of keys and credential. Curiosity, dialogue or discovery in this figure is replaced with quantifiable objectives, admin work or aspirational lifestyle. In practice, theory or art history qualification frequently do not hold up against structural accountability or is reflective of depth of a curator’s inquiry. These relationships on the artists’ end can feel like bending oneself into a pretzel and putting a bow on it, or pawing at a door despite the fact that without art being made, there would be nothing to paw, or to access. However, curator as a producer, a guide or a well-versed collaborator to bounce ideas off is a fantasy I’d like to retain.
In this rubric of the Journal, I will try to get to know the frustrations and difficulties that arise in the curatorial process in hopes of artists and curators meeting each other halfway, more often.
Acid Reflux: Ilona Dergach, an emerging Belarusian curator and founder of saliva.live, on silent protests, parasite living, “letters of joy”, “what Venice biennial?” and 8 years in Belarusian culture through the eyes of one art worker here.
We Regret To Inform You: Zane Onckule is an independent curator and was the Program director of Kim? Contemporary Art Centre in Riga from 2010 to 2018. This interview is available in print only.*