“Between the DISCURSIVE and the IMMERSIVE” symposium on research in 21st Century art museums

“Between the DISCURSIVE and the IMMERSIVE” symposium on research in 21st Century art museums

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

Courtesy of Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen.
November 28, 2015
“Between the DISCURSIVE and the IMMERSIVE” symposium on research in 21st Century art museums

3-4 December 2015

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art


Organized by: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and Aarhus University

The conference
Research occupies a greater and more autonomous role in the modern and contemporary art museum than ever. No longer restricted to supporting exhibitions and the collection, this type of knowledge production in the museum has become an independent, often interdisciplinary form of programming with its own curators and budget. In this regard, Paul O’Neill talks of a “curatorialization of education” and Miwon Kwon of a “discursive turn” in the museum sector. At the same time, a major part of the knowledge production in the twenty-first century art museum results in the creation of spectacular exhibitions and collection displays, designed to offer audiences a unique and immersive experience. Whereas didactic exhibitions and the focus of collection preservation may have previously prevailed, museums are thus increasingly embracing a synaesthetic dispositif, an experiential model of curating, to engage their publics.

Moreover, what to think of the growing participation of the public in the selection, presentation and interpretation of art in museums? And the increasing use of new media technologies such as online video, blogs, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to share curatorial knowledge? In other words: knowledge production in museums of modern and contemporary art oscillates between the discursive and the immersive.

In this landscape of changing paradigms of museum programming and institutional outlook, the alliances between museums and universities are solidified. In the past years, governmental policies are encouraging, if not demanding academia to get out of its ivory tower and ‘valorize’ itself by collaborating with partners beyond the conventional outreach of the university.

Thus, the modern and contemporary art museum has become an increasingly interesting partner for academic teaching and university research programs. This is in many ways a welcome and timely development, however, museums should consider that this does not merely lead to an ’academic turn’, in terms of measuring the research output of a museum solely on the number of peer-reviewed articles published by its staff. On the contrary: it should result in more knowledge about, and development of the specific potentialities of museums to produce knowledge at the intersection of academic discourse, artistic inquiry and artistic research, the display of objects, and the broad publics addressed by museums; the institutional specificities the modern and contemporary art museum.

The organizers of the conference aim to stimulate a critical debate on the potentialities of the art museum as a research-based institution – between the discursive and the immersive. The conference will focus on the significance of hybrid forms of research and curating in modern and contemporary art museums, dealing with questions such as: How can exhibitions function as mediums for research? How can artistic research contribute to art museums? What is the research value of (immersive) exhibitions? What is the role of the sensory experience in gathering and disseminating knowledge in the museum? What is the function and position of ‘public programs’ as curatorial models for research and knowledge production? What does the public contribute to the museum’s knowledge production?

A selection of the contributions to the conference will be shared in forthcoming issue of Stedelijk Studies, the new online peer-reviewed journal of the Stedelijk Museum.

Confirmed keynote speakers:
Francesco Manacorda, Director, TATE Liverpool
Anselm Franke, Head of Visual Arts and Film, Haus de Kulturen der Welt, Berlin
Chus Martínez, Head of the Institute, FHNW Academy of Art and Design, Basel
Mark Wigley, Dean at Columbia University, Graduate School of Architecture, New York
Maria Finders, Strategy and Developement, executive member Supervisory Board, LUMA Arles
Johanna Burton, Director and Curator of Education and Public Programme, New Museum (New York)
Victoria Walsh, Head of Programme, Curating Contemporary Art, Royal College of Art, London
Thomas J. Lax, Associate Curator in the Department of Media and Performance Art, MoMA, New York
Abdellah Karroum, Director at Mathaf, Doha
Molly Nesbit, Professor of Art, Vassar College

Registration will be possible through our website until November 30 2015 through the following link:billetto.dk/lmomabetween-the-discursive-and-the-immersive

Symposium programme
Explore the full symposium programme including all confirmed speakers and scheduled sessions for the two conference days.

Programme overview & download here.

Organizing committee: 
Marie Laurberg, Curator at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
Dr. Margriet Schavemaker, Head of Research at the Stedelijk Museum
Irene Campolmi, PhD Fellow at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
Hendrik Folkerts, Curator, documenta 14
Jacob Wamberg, Professor in Art History, Aarhus University

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Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
November 28, 2015

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