|Title||Art and Intervention in the Stewardship of the Planetary Commons: Towards a Curatorial Model of Co-inquiry|
This Ph.D. by Published Work examines five projects that took place over ten years, between 2007 and 2016, that were curated as part of the artistic programme of Arts Catalyst,an independent interdisciplinary arts commissioning organisation of which the author is the founding director. This programme of work sought to understand what form of curatorial model and interpretative framework could generate new artworks and
The projects take the form of exhibitions, texts and edited books, which are presented as the portfolio of work. The selected projects are: Malamp UK, Brandon Ballengée (2007-2010); Arctic Perspective Initiative (2009-2011); ITACCUS – IAF Technical Activities Committee on the Cultural Utilisation of Space – and associated activities (2007-2014); Holoturian, Ariel Guzik (2013-2015); and Wrecked on the Intertidal Zone, YoHa, Critical Art Ensemble, et al. (2013-2016).
Through analysis of and reflection on the projects, this commentary proposes a curatorial model of interdisciplinary co-inquiry, which can foster an ecology of practices, enabling curators, artists, scientists, specialist experts and people with situated expertise to coproduce knowledge around matters of concern, particularly relating to human environment interaction and common and extraterritorial spaces. It examines the roles of the curator in this model and how these might differ from those commonly understood as established curatorial practice.
The commentary further presents an interpretative and tactical framework of the planetary commons for curating art-led projects in the realm of ecopolitical concerns, that can engage audiences and publics with the art and ideas emerging from this coinquiry approach. The combination of curatorial model and interpretative and tactical framework contribute to discourses on both inter/trans-disciplinarity and the role of art in relation to the politics of ecology.
The Ph.D. contributes to the field on several levels. Within curatorial studies, the interdisciplinary co-inquiry model reconfigures curatorial practice as a collective, inquiry3 driven, knowledge-producing practice, and provides a useful methodology for inter- /trans-disciplinary artistic practice in relation to the politics of ecology, while the framework of the planetary commons proposes direction and allows for investment in reciprocity through commoning practices. Beyond contemporary art, a curatorial coinquiry model deepens and alters existing approaches for listening to, valuing, and synthesising different types of knowledge and expertise around current environmental and related social concerns. While the commentary argues for the planetary commons framework within the contemporary art space, there are wider implications for it as a complement and alternative to the dominant interpretative framework of the Anthropocene.