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Accepted Paper:

Reshaping the Collectible  
Haidy Geismar (University College London)

Paper short abstract:

This talk comes from the perspective of being a research fellow inside the Reshaping the Collectible project at the Tate Gallery. The project asks how a selection of key works works are challenging, and shaping, practices of collections care in the Art museum.

Paper long abstract:

This talk is generated from the perspective of being a research fellow inside the Reshaping the Collectible project at the Tate Gallery for four months in 2019-2020. Through intense focus on specific artworks, either in, or coming into, the Tate’s collections, Reshaping the Collectible asks how these works are challenging, and shaping, practices of collections care in the Art museum. Given this backdrop, here I aim to unpack some of the key words that underpin the Reshaping the Collectible Project drawing from both anthropological and decolonial thinking to situate them within an expanded and cross-cultural field. I focus on the ongoing acquisition of a work by the Aboriginal Australian artist, Richard Bell into the Tate's collections. Embassy, is a satellite of the Aboriginal Embassy, an ongoing political action that asserts Aboriginal Australian sovereignty in the face of settler-colonial domination resulting in centuries of erasure of Aboriginal rights. As Aboriginal sovereign space, both the original embassy and the artwork ask those who enter them to resituate themselves, to understand that the ground they are on is not an undifferentiated “public” space, but rather re-zoned as an Indigenous space and place, governed by alternative rules and protocols, looking from there out and back at the nation-state and its citizens. Here, I ask, what do questions of participation, political activism, and social networks look like from the perspective of an artwork that rezones the terms of relation between spectator and spectacle, visitor and guest?

Panel Speak22b
Art, response, and responsibility II
  Session 1 Wednesday 31 March, 2021, -