A Curator’s Game / Making Public

Making Public:

Positing Architecture as a Medium and Methodology for Curatorial Practice

The curator has recently emerged as a key mediating figure within contemporary culture. An unprecedented surge of recent critical writing on the topic of curating has begun to theorize the discipline as a fundamentally ‘spatial practice,’ casting space as the essential medium for the curator (diCarlo, 2010; Chan, 2011). Architecture, a discipline that has consciously contended with the problematics of ‘space’ since at least the mid-19th century (Semper, 2004), is now widely perceived to be in urgent need of new forms of address to connect with contemporary culture. This crisis within architecture is an internally acknowledged degeneration of its critical capacity to imagine publics and public spaces independent of modes of capital production (Davidson, 1999; Somol, 2000; Foster, 2002; Hight, 2009; Puglisi, 2009; Scott, 2011). Here, what is perceived to be at stake is not only architectural culture, but the very notion of ‘culture’ in its broadest sense (Foster, 2002; Obrist, 2006; Lawrence, 2008; DiCarlo, 2010; Chan, 2011, Koolhaas, 2011). Can architecture and curating be theorized together to construct a new interdisciplinary operating platform within the “culture industry” of the present day? Might the groundswell of interest in spatial practice within curatorial studies constitute an invitation and opportunity for architecture to address its self-acknowledged crisis? So begins my inquiry.