/ecm diskurs 52: CHOPPING ONIONS, OR: CURATING CRITICAL DISCOMFORT AND THE LABOUR OF REPAIRING
Friday, March 12, 2021, 7pm, via zoom
Public Lecture by Elena Agudio Art Historian and Curator, SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin
Moderation Nora Sternfeld /ecm-director team
Nearly every savoury recipe starts with the chopping of onions. Clearing up the space, preparing the ingredients, planning a timeline. But it is when the tears start to flow and the eyes are burning that real work begins. It is when an intense smell suddenly reaches your nostrils and gives you a sense of slight discomfort or distaste that creativity can take off and the labour commences. Maybe because I too often missed the opportunity of delving into the noblest alchemies of cooking, I have been starting to chop onions when I began to curate.
In this lecture I will ponder the labour of curating and its politics of affect. Curating to me means not only throwing questions in the room, troubling master narratives and exercising political imagination, but – as a white European art historian – also unlearning and setting yourself in a position of critical discomfort. Opening up to practices of deep listening and welcoming the unexpected to happen, walking away from your comfort zone to navigate new contact zones. This presentation will grapple with the understanding of curatorial practices as forms of troubling whose maieutic and insurgent forces lie in their relational and performative aspects.
Elena Agudio is a Berlin-based art historian and curator. She studied Art History at the University of Venice - Ca’ Foscari and in 2010 she received her PhD in Contemporary Art and Design. She is interested in curatorial practices as forms of troubling, with a focus on its performative and relational aspects. Since 2013 she has been artistic co-director of SAVVY Contemporary, where she curates and co-curates exhibition projects, discursive programmes and series, among which recently Ultrasanity. On Madness, Sanitation, Antipsychiatry and Resistance. Soil is an Inscribed Body. On Sovereignty and Agropoetics; and the series Speaking Feminisms/We Who Are Not The Same dedicated to an exploration of current feminist practices and alliances. She is also artistic director of the non-profit association Association of Neuroesthetics (AoN)_Platform for Art and Neuroscience, a project in collaboration with the Medical University of Charité and The School of Mind and Brain of the Humboldt University encouraging both a dialogue and lasting cooperation between contemporary art and the cognitive sciences. She writes and since 2017 has been teaching at the Weissensee School of Art in Berlin. In 2017 and 2018 she was Guestprofessor at HfBK (Kunsthochschule für Bildende Künste) in Hamburg and Resident Fellow at Helsinki University of the Arts.