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Sub-project 2, headed by Mette Thobo-Carlsen

Sub-project 2 , headed by Mette Thobo-Carlsen.

How do art exhibitions work?

A project on performative exhibition formats in modern art museums, participatory potentials and its aesthetic, social and political effects.

The research project develops a performative approach to art, curating and culture in order to account for the increasing demands on museum communication for active audience participation and immersion in affective and sensory experiences and embodied and collaborative knowledge processes. The project focuses on participatory and experimental art exhibitions that stages new, performative and collaborative spaces for affective, social and critically engaged art experiences. The project examines the performative aspects of the art exhibition, i.e. what it does on and through its audiences in the exhibition event. How are museum visitors addressed, constituted, engaged and mobilised, and what are the cognitive, affective, social and political/democratic effects of active audience participation in exhibition events? How to examine, analyse and evaluate the participatory potential and transformative effects on the audience and the institutional surroundings?

The project has three exhibition cases: Palle Nielsen: Modellen, 2014 at ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, Riverbed by Olafur Eliasson, 2014-2015 and Yayoi Kusama I Uendeligheden, 2015-2016 at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Three articles are being published in Danish and international journals. They develop the theoretical and methodological framework around the art exhibition as a performative communicative act and event and examine its participatory modalities (aesthetic, sensory-affective, critical-political). The studies of the performative aesthetic of the participatory exhibition event is put in a broader museological and cultural perspective in order to account for the performative art experience of the museum visitors and the cultural value of museum participation.

The research project is also part of the research program at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

The first article published is ”Deltageren som museumsaktivist”, K & K, (2014). Read it here.

The second article is “Walking the museum – performing the museum. On performative curating, affective encounters and the anticipation of alternative museum futures in Olafur Eliasson: Riverbed (2014)” (unpublished)
The article examines the performative aspects of the exhibition Olafur Eliasson: Riverbed (2014) in order to qualify and evaluate participatory modes of curating, doing research, and learning from art in museums. The article develops a performative approach to exhibitions as spaces for social and corporeal practices, where affectivity is enacted and social relations may be transformed. The article examines how the participatory design of Riverbed produces affects that are inherently performative, relational and political. The article analyses how the visitors are affected and moved by the exhibition to put into operation alternative ways of knowing, connecting and being together in museums. 

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