• Politics of Contemporary Art: Workshop 3
Politics of Contemporary Art: Workshop3 - Writing about Art - Politics of Contemporary Art

Politics of Contemporary Art: Workshop3 - Writing about Art
Moderator: Suzana Milevska

Participants: Milot Hasimja, Sara Kelmendi, Besa Luci, Marko Miletic, Arif Muharremi, Dardan Selimaj.

31 January - 2 February 2009

Saturday, 1/31/09
12.00 - 13.30 Introductory lecture and open discussion
A Voice of One's Own: catalogue text as an example of performative writing

Catalogue text is a piece of interdisciplinary and performative writing. Most importantly each exhibition has a certain concept that needs to be clarified with the catalogue essay. However, there are other requirements that a thorough catalogue essay needs to fulfil. On the one hand, many relevant data need to be clearly presented throughout the text so often takes a long research to collect and select the necessary information. On the other hand, the catalogue text is a text after all so each writer has to find his/her own voice through the process of writing.
Therefore the writing of the catalogue text happens by a performative entanglement of these three radically different aspects: the extrapolation of the concept, collecting and analysis of necessary information (about the works, or issues related to the exhibition) and the personal quest for one's own unique voice (of the writer/curator).
Theoretical concepts, literature and certain creative writing methods can help the writer in finding the appropriate writing approach for each exhibition and catalogue text. However, I want to argue that the catalogue text is a unique genre that is neither only theoretical text, nor just another literature genre. It is also far from pure description or retrieval of the artistic concepts and expressions. Therefore even though it is open to experiments and variability there are certain specific rules of this genre and only by following these rules it can justify its existence.

13:30 - 14:30 Break

14:30 - 15:30 Sub-genres of texts about art
The already existing different exhibition models (individual, monographic, retrospective, thematic, historicised, or biennial international exhibitions), as well as the recent development of different exhibition models (on-line, collaborative, participatory, etc.) require re-thinking of the genre itself. Critical texts are genre on their own.
The main questions of this session are how should one adapt and change the writing methods, forms, vocabulary, etc., when writing different texts and how this affects one's own voice.

15:30 - 15:45 Break

15.45 - 17.30 Close reading workshop
Organisation of the order of reading of different textual samples, forming the groups of participants according to the interest for particular texts, etc.
The texts for this session of close reading will be available to the participants in advance and they may choose some of these and other texts for the close reading session.

The questions that in the previous session had been tackled generally and theoretically during this session will be exemplified on some samples of the proposed texts.
Each participant is expected to have chosen to present one text: either one of the two theoretical texts, or samples of catalogue texts, reviews for reading and discussing together.

17.30 - 18.00 Q/A session about the assignment:
Discussion about the specific issues related to the writing of the text required for the last day of the workshop.

Sunday, 1/2/09
10.00 - 13.30 Participants start the morning session together, divide according to their interest in theoretical or reviewing texts, collaboratively make decision about the texts - themes, and discuss other relevant issues about writing particular texts, under part time supervision - breaks according the dynamic of the each group

13:30 - 14:30 Break

14.30 - 17.00 Division in groups and starting writing the abstracts for the texts

16.30 - 17.30 Groups get together, address urgent issues and dilemmas, and verbally present their written drafts (abstracts of up to 200 words for their texts) in front of all participants

17.30 - 18.00 Final agreements between the group members on certain assignments for each group member (internet check, research printing)

Monday, 2/2/09
10.00 - 14.00 Q/A session (both groups) and writing the texts under supervision (breaks according to the needs)

14.00 - 15.00 Break

15.00 - 17.00 Reading and commenting the completed texts

General requirements:
Each participant should decide at which group's work will participate, should get familiar with all suggested texts and should select one theoretical text for discussion during the session of close reading. In addition, each participant brings one review or a catalogue text and presents it to the others.

Suggested theoretical literature:
Kemal, Salim and Ivan Gaskell. Eds. The Language of Art History. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1991.
Wollheim, Richard. Art and its Objects Second edition. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1980.

Selected texts:
Baxandall, Michael. The language of art criticism.
Wollheim, Richard. Correspondence, projective properties, and expression in the arts.