Accepted Paper:

Curatorial affects and the contingency of fieldwork  
Magdalena Buchczyk (Humboldt-Universit├Ąt zu Berlin)

Paper short abstract:

As anthropology has been utilising curatorial techniques to present ethnographic insights, this development exposes disciplinary and affective dilemma. The paper offers lessons from two exhibition projects to consider some of the issues posed by translating ethnographic projects into curated spaces.

Paper long abstract:

As the discipline of anthropology has been utilising curatorial techniques to showcase fieldwork to a broader public, ethnographers have increasingly organised exhibitions within museums, art galleries, universities and community spaces. It has been argued that curated spaces are sites of feeling and imagination, and include the deployment and stimulation of emotional states (Blackman 2016, Butler and Lehrer 2016). If curated spaces "function as contact zones where affect is transmitted" (Fisher & Reckitt 2015), how does this inflect the practices of anthropological representation. What kind of disciplinary and affective dilemma do curatorial spaces expose?

This paper offers lessons from two exhibition projects to consider some of the issues posed by translating ethnographic projects into curatorial projects. Using examples of exhibitions organised within and beyond ethnographic museums, the paper explores the disciplinary and affective dilemma curatorial spaces can be infused with. The examples of projects in London and Bristol shed a light on how some affects could be provoked deliberately, others less consciously. They tell us about some of the ways in which meanings are mediated by complex emotive registers, their various effects in the decision-making process and the ways in which they redefine the relationships between the fieldworkers, curators and respondents in the making of anthropological knowledge.

References:

Blackman, L. (2016). Affect, Mediation and Subjectivity-as-Encounter: Finding the Feeling of the Foundling. Journal of Curatorial Studies, 5(1), 32-55.

Butler, S. R., & Lehrer, E. (2016). Curatorial dreams: Critics imagine exhibitions. McGill-Queen's Press.

Fisher, J., & Reckitt, H. (2015). Museums and Affect. Journal of Curatorial Studies, 4(3).

Panel P064
Redefining the curator, curatorial practice, and curated spaces in anthropology