Jaspar Joseph-Lester

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Curating Video

Curating Video is a long term research project established in 2003 and led as a collaboration between Dr Amanda Beech, (Course Director, MA Critical Writing and Curatorial Practice, Chelsea College of Art, UAL) Dr Jaspar Joseph-Lester (Programme Leader, MA Contemporary Art Curating) and Matthew Poole (Director, Centre for Curatorial Studies, Essex University). It has included two exhibitions that have been shown internationally in 5 locations, where each exhibition has discussed the political affect of the experiences of lens-based media artworks and how notions of the curatorial extend and respond to this. To date, they have involved four symposia and an upcoming book due for publication in August this year from Artwords press.

The key achievement of Curating Video has been to established discussion on the role of video as architectural. That is, how video is ideological, political and capable of powerful experiential affect. This is something that has increasingly been attended to in video art and its curation, but the consequences of identifying video in this way have been attended to less. By taking this up in international exhibitions, panel discussion, symposia, conferences and publications we have developed new questions regarding the politics of art and our experience of it in the context of contemporary democracy.

The research is now established as an ongoing exploration into the curation of video and the politics of lens-based media, and as a professional and educational resource (in terms of providing the public access to writing, public discussion and documentation of the exhibitions on the Curating Video web site). As this research is now firmly established other links with individuals and institutions are likely to be made more firm.

Over the next year this will include working with Victoria Walsh at Tate Britain and, in particular, the invitation to produce a conference at Tate Britain in November. This relationship has also extended to invitations to participate in Tate Britain’s research group in architecture and lens based media with Victoria Walsh and Professor Andrew Dewdney, at LSBU, which we intend to take up in the near future. These links have been established through the development of the project.

The research aims of the collaborative project Curating Video are i) to examine and theorise new forms and approaches to the curation of video, specifically by understanding video as architectural, object based and specific within the gallery environment; and to ii) explore how approaching video as an architectural space that is established as public and theatrical or as a cinematic field, extends to particular notions of social and political praxis.

We have established this research through organising five international exhibitions, three symposia, and a conference panel at Tokyo University, a book published by Artwords press. We aim to further develop this research in a one-day conference at Tate Britain (November 28 2008).

Key to the interdisciplinary methodology that underpins the project is the development of an understanding of curation and writing as a form of practice as well as developing a more comprehensive sense of practice as research. The project team have successfully collaborated across the organization, strategy and implementation of this work where methodologies in research as well as approaches to the project’s production were discussed regularly. The central development in this interdisciplinary practice is to emphasize the relevance of the process to the research questions. To that end, the research questions focus on an analysis and production of new spaces and experiences of and for art and demand techniques that move fluidly between looking, speaking, listening, making, writing and discussion.