Curating Lively Objects: Exhibitions beyond disciplines

8 December 2021, 10:00:00 pm

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Session Convenors

Associate Professor Lizzie Muller, UNSW
Katie Dyer, Senior Curator, Contemporary, The Powerhouse Museum

Session Moderators

Associate Professor Lizzie Muller, UNSW

Session Speakers

Anna Davis, Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
Bec Dean, Create NSW
Caroline Seck Langill, Vice President Academic and Provost, OCAD University
Ryan Rice, Associate Dean, Faculty of Arts & Science + Curator, Indigenous Art, Onsite Gallery, OCAD University

In this panel we examine the impact of lively objects on contemporary curating and the challenge they pose to disciplinary exhibition making. We consider object liveliness as a generative force that disrupts disciplinary thought and requires new ways of imagining and configuring knowledge in exhibitions. Working with an expansive notion of liveliness as a felt-experience, speakers consider a range of animating forces, including agency, metabolism, spirituality and intelligence. The panel presents research from an eponymous volume of essays by Canadian and Australian curators and artists who foreground a reciprocal relationship with objects, including robots, altarpieces, biomedical materials, sugar, rocks, and databases. Published in September 2021 by Routledge and edited by Lizzie Muller (Australia) and Caroline Seck Langill (Canada), the book draws on shared geopolitical, environmental, and Indigenous-Settler experiences across both countries, that inform a specific context for understanding object liveliness. Disciplinarity is fundamentally implicated in the colonial project, and we argue for the importance of lively objects in pushing beyond imperial-disciplinary modes of displaying material culture.
Speakers in this roundtable critically reflect on the question of what might come next, and how lively objects can help generate creative, ethical, and inclusive ways of curating after the end of disciplines.

THIS SESSION IS A ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION

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Biographies

Associate Professor Lizzie Muller, UNSW

Lizzie Muller is a curator and researcher specialising in audience experience and reflective-curatorial practice. She is Associate Professor at UNSW, Sydney, where she teaches in the Master of Curating and Cultural Leadership. Lizzie researches the future of museums as sites of participatory knowledge creation, and the impact of science and technology on aesthetic experience. Her curatorial projects, which blend art, science, and technology, have been shown in Australia, the USA, Canada, and the UK.


Katie Dyer, Senior Curator, Contemporary, The Powerhouse Museum

Katie Dyer is Senior Curator, Contemporary, at the Powerhouse Museum, where she leads and develops creative cross-disciplinary contemporary curatorial programming. She has held positions at the National Art School and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, and the Museum of Modern Art and The Drawing Center, New York. Her research areas focus on creative practice as a response to our contemporary conditions, interdisciplinary collaboration and the re-imagined museum.


Anna Davis, Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Anna Davis is a curator based in Sydney. Her research focuses on future ecologies and fantastical worlds, with an emphasis on encounters between human and non-human entities, as well as on expanded notions of life and non-life, nature, and consciousness. Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, she is a specialist in experimental media, and is one of the co-curators of the 23rd Biennale of Sydney (2022).


Bec Dean, Create NSW

Bec Dean is a curator, writer and arts consultant specialising in performance art, photomedia and interdisciplinary arts practice. She has worked as a Director, Curator and board Chair for many Australian experimental arts organisations. Her recent curatorial projects focus on health and wellbeing including The Patient, How the City Cares, and The Empathy Clinic (with Jill Bennett). She has a PhD in curatorial practice from the University of New South Wales. Dean is currently Senior Manager of Policy and Partnerships for the state funding agency Create NSW, most recently supporting sector recovery from the impact of COVID-19.


Caroline Seck Langill, Vice President Academic and Provost, OCAD University

Caroline Seck Langill is a writer and curator whose scholarship looks at the intersections between art and science, as well as the related fields of media art history, criticism, and preservation. She recently curated Carbon and Light: Juan Geuer’s Luminous Precisionat the Ottawa Art Gallery, 2019 and – with Andrea Fatona – will curate Fable for Tomorrow: A Survey of Works by Wendy Coburn at Onsite Gallery. She holds the position of Vice President Academic and Provost at OCAD University


Ryan Rice, Associate Dean, Faculty of Arts & Science + Curator, Indigenous Art, Onsite Gallery, OCAD University

Ryan Rice, Kanien’kehá:ka, is an independent curator and an Associate Dean at OCAD University. His career spans 25 years in the curatorial field. Recent curated projects include; “raise a flag: work from the Indigenous Art Collection 2000–2015”, You’re Welcome, Listen to the Land, and BAIT: Work by Couzyn van Heuvelen.