A historic accompanying document of an artwork provides augmented visual access to an affirmative representation of that artwork and, on some occasions, is the only trace that is left to constitute that artwork as such. The “need to document” and the desire to see and be persuaded by the reality the document is revealing, has become the object of enormous attention in the recent theories and practices of exhibition making and museum studies. By assessing the notion of a performative document through the theoretical texts by Philip Auslander – taking into account his established typology of performance documentation and his recent research into the phenomenological relation of the public to the performance document – the author will discuss the reactivation and presentation of various types of documents that she assembled in the so-called contextual part of the exhibition “Promises of the Past” (Centre Pompidou, 2010; chief-curated by Joanna Mytkowska and Christine Macel). Working on the idea of an exhibition as a living archive renders urgent the question of a document’s status vis-à-vis a work of art as well —regarding its representation, actuality and the potential performativity of the past.

j vimeo.com/24685263

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