Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 1 - CTE (Curating the Ephemeral: Practices of Engagement and Display in Contemporary Art)

The overarching objectives of Curating the Ephemeral are for Prof. Heathfield to:

1. Acquire extensive knowledge in theories of visual art and art history, alongside experience, grounded skills and international connections in the curatorial practices associated with ephemeral art: strategies for its arrangement, display and engagement with audiences.
2. Research, write and publish a book-length study on the curation of ephemeral art, communicating its diverse international dimensions and analysing its relation to aesthetics, cultural politics and global art markets.
3. Research, plan and realise a series of small events in years 2 and 3 of the project, within major institutional contexts of the research, that explore, test out and manifest through curatorial practice the skills and strategies acquired.
4. Realise direct impacts from the training-through-research for European arts culture through broad dissemination of its findings in talks and knowledge exchange events, and by generating new projects beyond the term of the award with key performance agents.

Work performed since the beginning of the project:

In the first period of the research Prof. Heathfield conducted sustained reading and writing processes exploring the conceptual contexts of his work on ephemeral art through existing published, archival and online research materials. The intensive research period of the fellowship enabled him to extend his work from its usual foci within aesthetics, philosophy, cultural politics and theory, to examinations of curatorial theory and contemporary art; philosophies of work and labour in global neo-liberal capitalism and their relation to aesthetics; speculative realism and object oriented ontology; philosophical and cultural studies of spirit and soul and their relation to cultural politics and art. These investigations formed the ground of a writing practice that lead to the drafting of six chapters of a single-authored work. Throughout his stay in New York he was able to access significant archives, exhibitions, talks and performance events that helped to shape the concerns of the research. During the period Prof. Heathfield worked with key artists and curators based in New York (and internationally) on the development of curatorial initiatives crystallising specific issues of the research investigation: the relations between object-oriented and event-oriented curation, temporalities of display, material and affective economies. These collaborations have led to the development of two curatorial projects with international institutions to be realised within the final year of the research, whose life extends beyond the term of the award. He also conducted numerous outreach activities in New York, including events with Performa at Judson Memorial Church and at Columbia University. He worked on the composition and co-chairing of a significant three-day public event – Afterlives - at the Museum of Modern Art and French Institute Alliance Française.

The main results so far:

• Six draft chapters of a single authored work provisionally entitled Spirited Matter: The Persistence of Performance.
• Keynotes and Papers:
‘Spirited Affinities - Planetary Consciousness’, Show Me the World, Haus der Kunst, Munich, October 2015.
‘Glimmers in Limbo’, Postdance, MDT, Stockholm, October 2015.
‘Binding Legacies’, Performance and its Materials, The Clark, Williamstown, April 2015.
‘The Ghost Time of Transformation’, keynote address, Experimenta Sur, Bogota, June 2014.
‘Writing Performance’, Who Can Write About Performance Art?, Performa, Judson Memorial Church, New York, April 2014.
‘Embers’, Museum Der Moderne, Salzburg, March 2014.
• Writing and publication of three essays and two interviews arising from the research:
‘Glimmers in Limbo: Inhuman Animations, Child’s Play and the Coming Catastrophe’ in Boris Charmatz, ed. Ana Janevski, MoMA, New York, 2016.
‘Unforeseen Passages: Propositions of the Imperceptible’ in Actions, ed. Eleonora Fabião and André Lepecki, Itaú Cultural, São Paulo, 2015.
‘Life Re-encased’ in Janez Janša: Life II [in Progress], ed. Janez Janša, Maska and Live Art Development Agency, Ljubljana and London, 2014.
‘Being with Emergence’, interview by Branislava Kuburovic, Performance Room, Tate Publishing, 2016.
‘Their Retrospectives’ in Danse: A Catalogue, ed. Noémie Solomon, les presses du reel, 2015. Dialogue with Xavier le Roy.
• Development of two curatorial projects: Ally and ghost telephone
• Co-curation and realisation (with Prof. André Lepecki, NYU) of a three-day public event at MoMA and FIAF New York as Part of the Crossing the Line Festival: Afterlives: The Persistence of Performance.

Expected final results:

• A single-authored book: Spirited Matter: The Persistence of Performance.
• Ally: Janine Antoni, Anna Halprin, Stephen Petronio, premiere at Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia 2016. An exhibition taking the form of performances, installation environments, video, and sculptures, 21st April – 31st July 2016. An edited book arising from the exhibition with co-authors: Carol Becker, Jacquelynn Baas, Richard Move, and Hélène Cixous.
• ghost telephone: curation of a one-month long chain performance, commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney as part of the Embassy of Spirits at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 15th March – 15th April 2016.
• Spirit Labour a documentary film on art and immateriality made in collaboration with Hugo Glendinning. Part of the freethought collective’s work on Infrastructure at the Bergen Assembly, Norway, where it will premiere on 1st September 2016.

Curating the Ephemeral generates new ways of thinking about the relations between the material and the immaterial in art, performance and its curation, and forges new forms of creative and curatorial expression. By shifting cultural practices and perceptions, these activities have impact on non-academic beneficiaries such as cultural sector partners (who are both a research subject and a context for practice-as-research realisations), participating artists (in terms of the development of their practice) and the general audiences experiencing the planned outreach events in the project’s partner venues.

The project itself does not have an independent website, however numerous materials arising from the research can be found at Prof. Heathfield’s website:

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Gemma VART
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