Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Curating walks

I have been thinking about the nature of curating for some time. At Nottingham Contemporary the current exhibition, Jean Genet - The Courtesy of Objects, has been curated in an unusual and interesting way, almost creating a portrait of Jean Genet through a collection of other artists' works.

I have led workshops about curating before at the galleries. It's often the unseen creative process that people forget about. You tend to focus on the artworks and the artists in an exhibition and yet everything you see is also framed by the curatorial concept. The fact that you may not be consciously aware of this as an audience gives a curator a lot of power. It could even be considered manipulative!

Maps from the Wellbeing Walks finished this week and ready to go!
I've started thinking about all the walking and mapping projects that I have been doing for the last few years in terms of curating.

In a sense the mapping process is like the curation of the walk.  A particular walk can take on its own theme.  A map then identifies and draws together the theme or overarching idea about a place or a route and attempts to present this as a coherent truth.

Detail from Myth Maps, Snibston
I have used walks as a way of exploring a place and discovering something of its character, which is then made visible in a map. The process can be transformative and also enables the map maker to develop a quite intimate relationship with a particular place or landscape. 

Detail from Myth Maps, Snibston
I have been talking with LJ, a colleague at the Contemporary who has just finished her Art History degree and is interested in curating and mapping, about exploring some of these ideas further. We hope to propose an action research project some time in the future which will pull together a number of these interests.

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