Anti-Humanist Curating (Archive)


Thursday 25th November 2010
Anti-Humanist Curating Seminar #2

Speakers: Roger M. Buergel, Bridget Crone, Anselm Franke, and Matthew Poole
Venue: Whitechapel Gallery Auditorium, London

The University of Essex’s Centre for Curatorial Studies in collaboration with PoCA (The Political Currency of Art Research Group) present presentations and discussion between three international curators: Roger M. Buergel (art critic, curator, and Director of documenta 12, 2007), Bridget Crone (Artistic Director, Media Art Bath), and Anselm Franke (Artistic Director of Extra City Center for Contemporary Art in Antwerp, and co-curator of Manifesta 7 in Trentino-Alto, in 2008).

The symposium focused on the limits and problems of liberal humanism, as it is manifest through the workings and ethos of contemporary curatorial practice, and asked what other modes of ethics might regain more stringent political valence for curatorial activities.






Thursday 8th July 2010 
Anti-Humanist Curating Seminar #1


Speakers: Robert Garnett, Matthew Poole 
Venue: Goldsmiths College, London



At this event PoCA  announced the first seminar of the (then) new research strand, initiated by Matthew Poole, entitled Anti-Humanist Curating. This seminar began with an introduction to the research strand by Matthew Poole, followed by a presentation by Robert Garnett, writer, art critic and curator. It was then followed by responses from Matthew Poole, Programme Director of The Centre for Curatorial Studies at The University of Essex, and a discussion with questions from the audience.

The seminar was planned to begin exploration of the problems of the legacy of Humanist ethics in their many forms as recognized as the persistent residual core of almost all historical and contemporary curatorial practice and theory. 

The event focused overall on discussion of key problematic issues to critique how curatorial practice is especially susceptible to instrumentalisation by various hegemonic forces to produce determined 'socially beneficial' goals. The key move is to explore how new organizing principles for curatorial practice that seek to de-privilege the production of a subject-centred private individual subjecthood could be made manifest, and to urgently propose how curatorial practice could avoid instrumentalisation as an agent of the State (i.e avoid complicity with weak naïve Liberal or stronger cynical Neo-Liberal political modality) and avoid banal assimilation and desublimation into a mill of commodity exchange (i.e. avoid being a pawn in or avoid producing new paradigms for the various 'economies of scope' of Post-Fordist Capitalism). 

The seminar began with in introduction to the research strand by Matthew Poole, followed by Robert Garnett's paper on Humour, Deleuze, and the possibility of a Curation of Humour. A discussion with the audience then continued.

Audio file ...


Robert Garnett is a writer and art-ctitic based in London. He has written for a wide variety of Uk and international art publications, including regular contributions to Art Monthly and Frieze. Robert is co-editor with Andrew Hunt of the critically acclaimed anthology, Gest: Laboratory of Synthesis #1, (London: Bookworks, 2008), initiated by a series of events and discussions during the exhibition ‘Gest’ — at the Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston University, the book Gest: Laboratory of Synthesis, includes a range of essays and interviews bringing together philosophers, artists, theorists and critics to discuss new approaches to art writing; including Jennifer Allen, Eric Alliez, Devrim Bayar, Dan Fox, Rainer Ganahl, Johnny Golding, Peter Osborne, Anne Pontégnie, Nina Power, Ralph Rugoff, John Russell and Dirk Snauwaert. Robert's other recent work explores the concept of humour in the writing of Giles Deleuze.



Go to:






L to R: Matthew Poole, Roger M. Buergel, Bridget Crone, Anselm Franke
Whitechapel Gallery, London 25th November 2010