How are we to analyze power relations in the current system of contemporary art, or the presumably non-existing censorship in this free and democratic domain? The important event that struck the art world in the last century was the appearance of a new agent on the art scene: that of a curator. The following analysis has the ambition to strip curating down to its essence, by comparing three main domains in which we find this profession active: the Roman Empire, contemporary arts, and contemporary zoos.
Two large-scale manifestations served as platforms for the promotion and recognition of this profession, both with a clear political mandate as well: documenta in Kassel, Germany, and the traveling Manifesta—European Biennial of Contemporary Art. The third case-study, the Hollywood blockbuster film AVATAR, continues the discussion where the analysis of Manifesta brought us and, somehow, this perfect 3D cinematic image brings us back to curators. What this historical overview made clear was, that what all those various agents have in common is a duty to protect those considered to be in need of protection, which further opened up the questions of who decided this, and where the threshold is when care becomes confinement.
General Editor: Wolfgang Schirmacher
Editorial Board: Pierre Alferi. Giorgio Agamben. Hubertus von Amelunxen. Alain Badiou. Judith Balso. Judith Butler. Diane Davis. Chris Fynsk. Martin Hielscher. Geert Lovink. Larry Rickels. Avital Ronell. Michael Schmidt. Victor Vitanza. Siegfried Zielinski. Slavoj Žižek.
Final proofreading: Douglas Heingartner
Design: Karen Willey
© 2013 by Vesna Madžoski
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