Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Curation as Process etc

Today, I am pondering 'curation as an artistic process.' I noticed that Summerhall are advertising for an events coordinator, and wondered how this differed from an artistic director. I guess that the coordinator is a practical, hands-on type role, while the a.d. has a vision... one is a managerial role while the other is all about the leadership.

Recent years have seen the rise of the festival as an 'aesthetic unit': that is, an entire series of events linked and connected by a theme. The Tron's Mayfesto is coming back later this year - it began as a 'political' festival, although that definition has been stretched over time - and Buzzcut, now in its third year, has a clear identity as a place for emerging artists to experiment in the region between 'theatre' and 'performance.'

Manipulate is almost traditional in its emphasis on a festival as a place to explore a single genre - fortunately, the genre (visual theatre) is broad enough to include object manipulation, puppetry, physical theatre and even dance. There tends to be an assumption that manipulate is 'about' puppetry (probably because Puppet Animation Scotland are behind it), but the choices of Simon Hart, artistic director, are bounded only by imagination. It remains as one of the last great Scottish festivals that have an international pull and is determined to include challenging performance - although the Edinburgh International does a fair job (and I don't count the Fringe, since it lacks an overall curation).

Some part of the importance of manipulate comes from the influence it might have on Scottish artists: in Europe and beyond, theatre supports an industry of performers in more experimental practices, and the scale of companies like Editta Braun (Luvos) reveals that Germany, at least, can sustain intriguing work at a high level. While the National Theatre of Scotland is not afraid to play with form and format, and the Citizens is defining itself through radical imaginings of familiar stories, the larger independent companies tend to be in a script-based tradition.

Back in the days when the National Review of Live Art was still running, it was a truism to say that it was important not to pick and choose events, but dive in, almost at random. Manipulate and Buzzcut deserve the same advice - it might be the only way to work out how the curatorial process operates.

No comments :

Post a Comment