Autograph ABP (London) and the Visual Identities in Art and Design Research Centre (VIAD), (Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA), University of Johannesburg) are hosting a three-day conference to coincide with the opening of Black Chronicles IV, an exhibition curated by Renée Mussai (Senior Curator and Head of Archive & Research at Autograph ABP) at the FADA Gallery.
Using the exhibition and photographic portraiture as a departure point, the conference will build upon a critical rethinking of curatorial practice, as traditionally bound to a colonial logic of collection, arrangement, ‘safe-keeping’ and display. Challenging the authorial custodianship associated with this tradition, and its historic (but lingering) application in the ethnographic/raciogenic arrangement of marginalised bodies, proposed in this reappraisal is an ethical recourse to curatorial care – where contemporary practices linked to traditional understandings of curating, as a ‘caring for objects’, are reconstituted in relation to (re)-acknowledged subjectivities.
In seeking to engage with such curatorial approaches – as practices through which, as Anthony Bogues suggests, “we may grasp how different acts of humanization occur’”1 – the conference will comprise an interdisciplinary programme of papers, presentations, panel discussions, screenings and performances. Through an engagement with a multiplicity of critical approaches to collection, presentation and display, and the ways in which these practices impact upon audience engagement, participants will reflect on curation as a means to facilitate opportunities for intersubjective encounters, through the re-inscription of voices historically consigned to the objectifying violence and routine silencing of colonial modernity.
Prof Anthony Bogues / Curator, Academic & Director of the Centre for the Study of Slavery and Justice, Brown University
Prof Jay Pather / Curator, Choreographer & Director of the Institute for Creative Arts, University of Cape Town
Renée Mussai / Senior Curator and Head of Archive & Research, Autograph ABP, London
Prof Deborah Willis / Artist, Curator & Chair of the Dept. of Photography & Imaging, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University
Bogues, A. 2010. Empire of Liberty: Power, Desire, & Freedom. London: University Press of New England: 119.