The exhibition archive is what endures when a show ceases. It is also a basis on which we may later attempt the impossibility of revisiting that exhibition. The attempt sharpens and amplifies the arguments that make the exhibition relevant to the present.
What would it mean to consider an artwork as an artefact of an exhibition?
Aura is the antithesis of ‘exhibitability’ (‘Ausstellbarkeit’, in Walter Benjamin’s ‘Work of Art’ essay). Could we try starting with exhibitability, or exposability, rather than aura? It operates collectively and intimately, both affectively and critically, opening onto a play-space of political action. By contrast, aura acts at a distance, through contemplative immersion to provide individual enlightenment, fostering ‘a breeding ground for asocial behaviour’.
I have undertaken one modest digital project: an online response to ‘The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Postwar Britain’ (1989). https://www.afterall.org/exhibition-histories/the-other-story Normally I give presentations or publish books within the field of exhibition histories, but producing something online allowed me me to tour a past show in distinct ways. I guess I would say there is a distinct dynamism, layering and openendedness to the digital, in this instance. There are distinct threats too: of corruption, neglect and failed longevity.
I think of an exhibition as the public moment for art. More particularly, I would argue for exhibitions as the durational fields in which people engage with each other and the world as enabled through art.
See Esther Leslie, elsewhere on this site, on ‘the archive that is the web’
Data is taken from us all the time and as such used all too much.
Gah, exhibition as echo chamber?? I’m going to interject another voice. This is Fred Moten: ‘The blur of spirit admits of no personhood, just as art is a constant violation of the artist, the viewer and the work that is the mobile location of their entangled differentiation.’ That work is the exhibition.
Aura is museological fetishism. It is controlled through ritual. To what extent is the political play-space opened through virtual proximity – whether you want to say ‘via exhibitability’ and invoke art or not – controlled through algorithms?
The ‘-ship’ of ‘authorship’ is maybe interesting – its ordained givenness or self appointment. See the Writing Test for ‘exhibition’ for something from Fred Moten on the blur of spirit between artist and viewer.