On Refusing Translation: Speaking & Listening to Us

On Refusing Translation: Speaking & Listening to Us

Friday, May 1, 2020
1-2:30pm CDT

with Ajay Kurian (New York, NY), Kim Nguyen (San Francisco, CA), Taylor Aldridge (Detroit, MI)

Art institutions have perpetuated and continue to perpetuate structural racism, sexism, classicism, the gambit: the discrimination that exists everywhere else also permeates the arts. However, when artists and writers write about such phenomena in the form of critique, large arts institutions often treat said critiques as “negative” public relations, rather than as opportunities to engage in critical dialogue and transformation. This conversation group seeks to examine the material dynamics of critique: who “gets” to make it, how does it become legible and legitimated, how does it circulate, and what is hoped for in the process? Additionally, we will generate dialogue on the “flip-side” of institutional critique, speaking specifically to how we write, make, and curate for our various communities, friendships, and futures. We will grapple with how the various strategies we employ to engage in institutional critique are not often the same methods utilized when we are connecting and building with each other.

As writers, curators, and artists whose practices centralize the examination of structural injustice in arts institutions, we will discuss the strategies deployed in our critical exchanges: from their reception, to what we imagine as “best practices.” Pulling from personal to contemporary and historic examples, we will discuss: How do we engage with multiple audiences? When do we translate our practice for institutions and when and how do we say no? How do we imagine speaking and listening to each other?


Please note: There is no archival video for this session.