I am doing curating now (and then)

Hammonds, Kit (2017) I am doing curating now (and then). (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


Pursuing threads of my own activity that are discussed or enacted in texts and their related curatorial and publication projects, I put forward a practice that performs curating in the act of doing it. The thesis lays out a context for this approach to curating against a backdrop of how curatorial theory has been moving the practice towards disciplinarity. Through proposing the adoption of the persona of a curator, facilitating a means to play with the conventions of art, I explore how exhibitions and the institutions in which they are staged my be convened as a different form of public space. This stands as a countermove against the formation of curating as a discipline. In this, curating is displayed as a fundamental aspect of the contemporary aesthetic where narratives, both real and fictive, suffused with the a sense of self in a broader cultural landscape. I touch on a shift where veracity in saying and acting out roles has supplanted concrete truths. As a fundamental player in a globalised culture, the curator, and doing curating, is claimed as potentially emancipatory, albeit fraught with tensions. My own work proves illustrative of how these tensions might be generative by adopting rules or conventions as game-like structures. This offers a unique consideration of what lies between critical and practice-based acts – exhibition-making, critical writing and an element of strategically deployed tom-foolery - in an attempt to avoid simple definition and lay out alternative, speculative positions. I illustrate and narrate these moves in the outcomes of a selected number of projects over the past decade, and lay out how my approach may be transferred into a formal museum setting.

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