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RCA talks

Architectures of the New Curatorial: Contradictions of Continuity and Change

2 December 2020 | 6pm – 7pm


Join our School of Architecture for Contradictions of Continuity and Change, a lecture from Sofia Hernandez Chong Cuy. Sofia is a director at the institution formerly known as Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam.

Sofia’s lecture will be followed by a conversation with the audience and special guests.

Sofia Hernandez Chong Cuy is a director at the institution formerly known as Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam. Previously, she was curator of contemporary art at Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros in Caracas and New York from 2011 to 2017. In 2016-2017, she was also guest curator at the Bronx Museum of the Arts in New York. In 2013, Sofía was artistic director and chief curator of the 9a Bienal do Mercosul | Porto Alegre in Brazil, and before that, she was an agent of dOCUMENTA(13) in Kassel. In the past, Sofía has been director of Museo Tamayo in Mexico City and held curatorial positions in New York at Art in General and Americas Society. She is also a board member of Creative Time in New York and of Council in Paris.

Architectures of the New Curatorial

This lecture series was initiated and organised by Eleni Han and Guillermo Ruiz with the support of Ines Weizman.
This lecture series invites speakers to reflect on the recent challenges to curatorial practices, particularly concerning an arguably new kind of architecture for research that has gained urgency during the recent pandemic. On the one hand, the pandemic revealed even further the systemic inequality intersecting multiple layers of society, but also affecting the concept of the museum and exhibition-making platforms. On the other hand, the conceptualisation of the exhibition space expanded rapidly into the digital realm. This lecture series aims to reflect on these “architectures of the new curatorial”, inviting curators, architects and researchers who have recently produced exhibitions, or are developing work concerned with the intersectional and transnational politics of their research as a form of counter-institution. It also aims to explore how they are engaging in the changing relation between analogue space and digital media. This lecture series looks to the practice of curating as research as a way to build new understandings of institutions while destabilizing established ones.
The lectures and conversations will discuss three main issues: One looks at current museum practices that address their problematic histories and institutional forms and protocols. For some institutions, this has meant a process of collective reckoning that questions their legacies, the financing of their buildings and governing structures, their endowed chairs celebrating histories of oppression, or their exhibition practices perpetuating discrimination based on race or gender. The second looks at models of new curatorial research in architecture that helps engender feminist, anti-racist, decolonial modes of counter-institutional practices. Approaching these issues with a focus on their architectures and temporality, the conversations in this series will examine concepts of research that aim to expand their cooperation with local partners and alternative constituencies to go beyond the actual event of an exhibition. The third looks at the potential of digital media and exhibition design to connect new audiences and ideas. It will look at what is gained and what is lost in that translation and in the politics of these technologies, as well as how conditions of precarity and exploitation are reframed and transformed when migrating to the digital realm.

Ines Weizman is the head of the PhD programme at the Royal College of Art’s School of Architecture. She is the founding director of the Centre for Documentary Architecture (CDA). In addition to numerous books and publications, Weizman has set up exhibitions and installations such as Repeat Yourself: Loos, Law, and the Culture of the Copy, exhibited at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale and in 2013 at the Architecture Centre in Vienna and the Buell Center at Columbia University, New York. Her other research and exhibition projects include Celltexts: Books and Other Works Produced in Prison (2008, with Eyal Weizman), first exhibited at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin and The Matter of Data (2019), which was shown in Weimar, Tel Aviv-Yafo and Berlin.

Guillermo Ruiz is an architect and urban researcher whose work focuses on the intersection of space, the state and power. He is based in London, where he is a Stavros Niarchos PhD researcher at the Royal College of Art’s School of Architecture. He trained as an architect at the Architectural Association School of Architecture, London and Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City, and received a Master in Design Studies from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.

Eleni Han is a PhD researcher at the Royal College of Art’s School of Architecture, focusing on the relationship between architecture, urbanism and photography. Eleni trained as an architect and engineer at the University of Thessaly in Greece and holds a second master’s degree in Architectural Design from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design. She is an architect and educator in London with a particular interest in curating and exhibition design. Together with Guillermo Ruiz she is leading the research project Curating as Research, creating a network of researchers and curators around the world and investigating the possibilities of interdisciplinary research.