When things disappear: curating immateriality.

Scholze, Jana (2020) When things disappear: curating immateriality. In: von Bismarck, Beatrice and Meyer-Krahmer, Benjamin, (eds.) Curatorial Things. Berlin, Germany : MIT Press/Sternberg Press. (Cultures of the Curatorial, (4)) ISBN 9783956792809


This chapter draws attention to intangibility as possible material quality of design and art objects and the inability to present and collect them in exhibitions and museums. The text starts by highlighting an increasing attention to the sky as space to inhabit. By demonstrating the crowdedness of this seemingly empty space, I emphasis the importance of engaging with this space but most of all the ‘things’ that he occupy it. The interrogation of these objects concludes with the observation of a shift from object to projects in design practice that challenge curatorial practice because of its varied temporality that necessitates presence at a particular time and space for its experience, its processual character that does not result in a specific work but produces a number of objects without necessarily a hierarchy, and a tendency towards invisibility. The analysis of a case study, the acquisition of the sign ‘@‘ by the Design and Architecture Department of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, demonstrates the lack of procedures and even terminology to include such objects into a museum collection and define its future use in exhibitions. Critical reflection is necessary to understand the status of this object and its qualities to enable its application as representation of a specific moment in time and space and its effects on society. The chapter concludes with an example showing that the presentation of certain subjects through art and design object might be most effective through not the tangible object itself but a critical project dealing with the chosen theme.

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