In an instance of synchronicity, the current Honours in Curatorship students have just returned from a whirlwind trip to Venice as Okwui Enwezor, the curator of the 56th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia, was awarded the degree of Doctorate of Literature, honoris causa, by the University of Cape Town. The honorary degree was conferred during the shared Humanities and Science mid-year graduation ceremony, on the 12 June 2015.
f you take a walk through the Bois de Bologne in Paris you’ll discover many of the things you expect to see in a park: playgrounds, walking trails, and ducks. You may also find yourself stumbling upon a majestic architectural wonder that looks as if it was placed there by a very chic race of aliens (image right: view from the park). The Foundation Louis Vuitton is a Frank Gehry-designed art museum (and biannual Prêt-à-Porter show venue) that rivals this architectural giant’s Guggenheim in Bilbao. Its doors have been open to the public shy of a year, and already some of the world’s most iconic artworks have been exhibited inside this nautically inspired space.
“Stop!” says the guide at the Punta della Dogana museum, pointing out the window. “Don’t just focus on the art inside. Remember – we are in Venice.” Thinking about the sinking city as a piece of art in itself was the equivalent of dropping a boulder in our already overflowing art cups, so the Honours in Curatorship students just laughed.
“I’m on Okwui’s time,” I said, after I bought a watch designed by Swatch, one of the sponsors for this year’s 56th International Art Exhibition, on our Honours in Curatorship trip to the Venice Biennale. Part of me feels like the concept of time has been a focus of mine lately, as for my most recent project, for the ‘Object’ section of the Museum Studies module, I selected a Cartel clock as my object of choice from IZIKO Museum’s Koopmans de Wet House. This was based on the concept of time as being something that has already passed, moments in ‘history’, and the clock’s continuing presence, use and significance today.Koopmans de Wet House. This was based on the concept of time as being something that has already passed, moments in ‘history’, and the clock’s continuing presence, use and significance today.
Before we provide reviews, begin with a travelogue of daily activities on the Curatorship Honours students’ short but busy trip to the Venice Biennale. This travelogue, which chronicles the group’s movements through Venice, was provided by Curatorship Honours student Barnabas Ticha Muvhuti, the self-appointed photographer of the group.
A recent residency at Skaftfell Centre for Visual Art took CCA’s post-doctoral Fellow, Alexandra Ross to Seydisfjordur, East Iceland in order to conduct research for a forthcoming publication. Alexandra spent two weeks in Seydisfjordur in May undertaking research for an anthology that will draw together reminiscences and anecdotes by the residents of Seydisfjordur concerning the time Dieter Roth spent in the area.
Last month, in the southern Italian city of Bari, VESSEL held the 2015 edition of their International Curatorial Workshop. This iteration was entitled, a ‘retreat’, and drew together practitioners from across the globe with a shared interest in the role of writing as it relates to the curatorial. Informed by issues pertaining to Southern Theory, VESSEL collaborated with MADA (Monash University, Melbourne) to organise and host the series of workshops and surrounding events. The director of the PhD programme in Curatorial Studies at MADA, Tara McDowell, and the VESSEL team (Anna Santomauro, Andrea Vara, Nicoletta Daldanise and Viviana Checchia) collaborated on content creation and participant selection to compose a rich programme that approached curatorial writing from many angles, drawing on some idiosyncratic examples relating to each tutor’s research interests and previous practice