Dematerialized Critical Practices
Les pratiques critiques dématérialisées
Lecture by Viktor Misiano (Russia)

- Viktor Misiano, Russia : Curatorial Practice : from ”Confidential Communities” to “Operational Communities”

On curatorial activity Curatorship is a young discipline 40 years young, deeply linked with arts management, social structures, and business politics. The responsibilities of the curator include the logical and intellectual process in collaboration with the artist. The curator has to involve her/himself into creative process with the artist while communicating with a larger audience. The curator’s role is not to manipulate the viewers’ perception of the artwork but to balance the artist’s message and the audience’s initial impression through the presentation of the artwork.

On personal experiences Misiano’s curatorial background is closely linked with the political situation in the USSR and Post-Soviet Russia. In the beginning of his career, he wanted to operate in a public space but the lack of infrastructures put curatorship into a position of crisis. The art scene was reduced and the methodology of artwork was missing. The artist himself was also taking on the role of a curator. The artist could proclaim himself as an artist only by context. And there was no context in that period. The only solution to perform at the art scene was to be both the artists and the curator (idea of "curator mediator").

On Confidential, Post-confidential and Operational Communities In the beginning of the ’90s, Misiano conceptualized his ninth month project Visual Anthropology Workshop, a collaboration between artists and philosopher V.A. Podoroga. During the workshop there were many conceptual, intellectual, and philosophical debates among the artist. Misiano believes that this stress and antagonism were useful to produce artistic projects and could be used strategically for success. This exemplifies what he calls "Confidential communities" : communities of artists where discourse creates evolution.

After the ‘90s “Post-Confidential Communities” appeared. Out of this idea the art group What is To Be Done ? was founded. The group consists of artists, writers, and philosophers from Russia and Berlin. They publish newspapers about contemporary poetics, politics, and Russian intellectual artistic situations. They also produce different projects, such as videos, installations, actions, radio programs, and urban cultures.

The problem coming out of « Operational Communities » is crucial nowadays because the work and obligation of curators is to address critical discourse to public audiences and the art works requires interaction with the people to prove most effective in its message. It is of high importance for the works’ notoriety and quality aesthetic as well.

Victor Misiano : Curator of the Russian paricipation in Instanbul (1992), Venice (1995, 2003), Valencia (1999) ; Manifesta I, Rotterdam ; 1st Central Asia Pavilion, Venice (2005), Biennials. Founder and chief-edior of the Moscow Art Magazine ; Co-founder of the Manifesta Journal. Journal of Contemporary Curatorship (Amsterdam-Ljubliana).

Julija Cistiakova
Lucia Pesapane


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