How to be a Good Witness: The Architecture Curator

The University of South Australia
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Critique 2013: 2013 Conference Proceedings, 2013, pp. 279 - 294
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This paper describes a unique role emerging in architectural criticism: the curator. The first section will examine the status, relevance and location of contemporary curatorship in architecture, seeking to frame a specific curatorial position. It will define the lineage of this position historically and map out a contemporary constellation of practitioners and projects, from Hans Ulrich Obrist to the global profusion of architecture pavilions. Curation can be understood as a critical spatial practice in which social, political and, cultural theories are enacted through spatial investigations. By distinguishing the characteristics of this curatorial practice, the authors begin to frame the agency and opportunities of this role within architectural and spatial discourse. The second part of this paper will focus on the Australian Architecture section of the 2011 Prague Quadrennial for Performance Design and Space, curated by the collective N. N is a collective made up of David Burns, Sam Spurr and Adrian Lahoud, who are determined to build new kinds of public using unique formats and pedagogical models drawn from art, architecture and politics. Using public education programs and social networks as an artistic medium, the collective creates original, non-institutional spaces for practice, knowledge and social action through events and forums related to art and architecture. Believing that socio-political activity can only emerge from a rich milieu and the supportive tissue it provides, N works to glue disparate creative practices together by intensifying their moments of engagement and providing new and experimental forums for their expression. This paper seeks to frame the projects by N as defining an innovative trajectory for architecture curation.
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