Michael Birchall

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PublisherOnCurating.org2013
The present issue of On Curating contributes to a critical re-engagement with New Institutionalism. This conceptual framework is used to encompass a series of curatorial, artistic and educational practices that, in various places around the turn of the Millennium, developed concrete ideas to change art institutions, their mandates and formats: art institutions were to function as sites of research and socially engaged spaces of debate. The fact that discussions about the function of and demands for change within art institutions have become increasingly topical in the context of the controversial and much criticized revised Swiss cultural policy for 2012-2016, and ...
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PublisherOnCurating.org2014
Dan Perjovschi’s 2005 drawing that precedes these pages laconically addresses the hierarchies operative in an art institution’s value chains, and it does so on the basis of an inventory of whoever holds agency in this context. Strikingly, this list doesn’t at a first glance seem to be in any way exhaustive, as it apparently lacks a varied range of other roles and functions at play in art institutions, such as security guards, visitor and technical services staff—as well as gallery educators. Is their absence from the work due to their evanescent significance within the hierarchy Dan establishes in his diagram, ...
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PublisherOnCurating.org2015
When we started a discourse on curating in 1998 with the conference “Curating Degree Zero,” we could not have imagined the intensity of interest in this subject in the coming years. In 2003 we wanted to re-examine the field together with Annette Schindler, but when we failed to organise enough funds, we changed the concept and concentrated on the archive, which originally should have just accompanied the symposium. This decision, half by chance and half out of a deeply felt interest in archival practices, proved to be valid, insofar that the archive grew and developed rapidly. Curating Degree Zero Archive ...
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PublisherOnCurating.org2013
Does the activity of exhibiting resemble the process of assigning meaning in language? By showing cultural artefacts of different authors, one necessarily makes links. If an exhibition is presented to an audience and retold in conversation, its spatial choreography gives rise to a syntax. Experience and perception are translated into linguistic expression. Thus, the act of exhibiting has close ties with the communicative activity of organizing the show, and with texts and discussions. Design then adds an action-based level to this communicative dimension — actions which, as one walks through the exhibition space, are at least imaginable, and in some ...
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PublisherOnCurating.org2015
This issue of OnCurating is dedicated to artistic ephemera on the occasion of the exhibition project They Printed It! Invitation cards, press releases, inserts and other forms of artistic (self-)marketing at Kunsthalle Zurich (21 November 2015 – 7 February 2016). Along with the presentation at the Kunsthalle, which will change on a weekly basis, the project also includes seminars for university students in Zurich, a blog, and a public workshop with international participants. The first part of this issue aims to contextualize the broad category of ephemera, including the invitations, press releases, and magazine advertisements mentioned in the title, and ...
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PublisherOnCurating.org2014
This edition of OnCurating is based on the panel “The Future of Short Film,” which was held at the Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur. The former artistic director Reto Bühler invited Lars Henrik Gass (Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen), Maike Mia Höhne (Berlinale Shorts), Peter van Hoof (International Film Festival Rotterdam), Jukka-Pekka Laakso (Tampere Film Festival) and Laurence Reymond (Quinzaine des Réalisatuers Cannes) to present a short film not longer than 10 minutes and to talk about the future of short films from an artistic point of view and not from a technical one, knowing that this often cannot be separated…
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PublisherOnCurating.org2016
This special issue of OnCurating has been conceived with the intention of inquiring into the relation between law and art as it is manifested in a variety of recent artistic and curatorial projects and legal writings. Based on the notion that the law holds an abiding influence on all terrains of society, our aim was to unravel tactics and mechanisms used by art and legal practitioners alike as they deconstruct, reconstruct, and appropriate legal matter and form…
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PublisherOnCurating.org2016
Collaborative work is of a special interest because it raises complexities questions on the fundaments of curating and artistic work through questioning the exhibitionary complexes. These concerns extend through to the biennale form where the thematic and their aesthetics move from formalist, object-bound sensibility to practices based on experimentation and agitation, processes, ephemerality, political and social ideas that are locally embedded. The practices represented in this issue are not collectives and collaborations in the traditional sense, but practices that follow more self-instituting strategies grounded in their immediate socio-political contexts. This issue of OnCurating consists of two parts: the first part ...
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PublisherOnCurating.org2013
This issue of ONCURATING.org brings together a range of interviews and essays, inspired by the symposium, “Why Artists Curate,” held by the Kunstbüro der Kunststiftung Baden-Württemberg in cooperation with Columbus Art Foundation in July 2011. The feedback from this conference prompted a discussion on authorship in contemporary art, from artists, curators and artist-curators. Walter Benjamin’s well known essay, The Author as Producer, outlines that artists became producers when they shifted their labour from an independent creator relent on conventional artistic apparatus, to an operative, in which the skills and accomplishments of the artists are transformed by the advanced technical content of ...
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PublisherOnCurating.org2012
This issue of the journal brings together contributions from an international group of art practitioners, curators and theorists exploring the relationship between performance and installation in the context of the contemporary art exhibition. Key amongst the concerns of the journal is the possibility for rethinking the static model of exhibition and exploring the way in which ‘performative’ approaches, adopted by artists and curators alike, can reframe the exhibition as an environment undergoing formal or relational transformation…
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PublisherOnCurating.org2014
This issue of OnCurating consists of a variety of texts and interviews, which were developed out of interviews from participants connected to the Postgraduate programme in Curating (www.curating.org). Many of the authors and interviewees gave lectures and participated in the programme over the last four years, adding to the dialogue in the postgraduate programme, as well as other curators in the field. In the spirit of slowing down, in sometimes rather a hastily discourse, we would like to present them to a broad public, which engages with our main topics: politics of display, politics of site and politics of transfer and ...
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PublisherOnCurating.org2013
The general shift from manufacturing to services as a source of employment has effected also the field of visual art, changing the labour market for curators. Their position in the division of labour has become closer to the one of artists, in the sense becoming much more unstable, short term, flexible, and exploited. An important aspect of the new working conditions is the demand for physical and mental mobility. This is affecting both the curators with “steady” jobs whose working places and working hours are becoming fluid, and even more so the freelance curators who offer their services to a ...

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