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ARTIST AS RESEARCHER:
A SCHOOL OF THOUGHT
Morad Montazami

26 October 2016

Pejman Foundation: Kandovan presents a lecture and Q&A with Morad Montazami, curator at Tate Modern, Pejman Foundation board member and art historian involved in the general effort to study the shifting lines and patterns of global modernism, especially the Middle East and North Africa. The event is moderated by Sohrab Kashani.


ABSTRACT

Michel Foucault is the philosopher who made us aware how power structures do not mainly rely on political repression and ideological coercion but often on knowledge production and control. The international contemporary art scene has been largely transformed in the last decades through an "ethnographic turn". Artists tending to act either as ethnologists, archaeologists, historians, editors, archivists and knowledge activists often find themselves in a paradoxical process: to raise and collect their data while challenging and debunking it at the same time. Who talks? Who writes? Who films? When and where? With or to whom? Under what institutional or social limitations? How does fiction tend to interfere with the "reality" at stake during one’s inquiry? Such questions become as important as the data itself. Either through film work, installation art, museum mockery or community based practice, artists find themselves as "safeguards" for conflicting and reclaiming subjectivities. In such context marked by a multiplicity of new methodologies, the "ethnographic" does not mean any debt from art to science. On the contrary, art transforms scientific modes of knowledge, by leaving an open space for deconstruction. By treating the blurred lines between individual and collective archives, the artist as researcher gives way to a fragmented and hybrid “collage” of experiences and discourses. The spectator becomes actively part of the inquiry.
Pejman Foundation: Kandovan presents a lecture and Q&A with Morad Montazami, curator at Tate Modern, Pejman Foundation board member and art historian involved in the general effort to study the shifting lines and patterns of global modernism, especially the Middle East and North Africa. The event is moderated by Sohrab Kashani.


ABSTRACT

Michel Foucault is the philosopher who made us aware how power structures do not mainly rely on political repression and ideological coercion but often on knowledge production and control. The international contemporary art scene has been largely transformed in the last decades through an "ethnographic turn". Artists tending to act either as ethnologists, archaeologists, historians, editors, archivists and knowledge activists often find themselves in a paradoxical process: to raise and collect their data while challenging and debunking it at the same time. Who talks? Who writes? Who films? When and where? With or to whom? Under what institutional or social limitations? How does fiction tend to interfere with the "reality" at stake during one’s inquiry? Such questions become as important as the data itself. Either through film work, installation art, museum mockery or community based practice, artists find themselves as "safeguards" for conflicting and reclaiming subjectivities. In such context marked by a multiplicity of new methodologies, the "ethnographic" does not mean any debt from art to science. On the contrary, art transforms scientific modes of knowledge, by leaving an open space for deconstruction. By treating the blurred lines between individual and collective archives, the artist as researcher gives way to a fragmented and hybrid “collage” of experiences and discourses. The spectator becomes actively part of the inquiry.