Curating Lively Objects : Exhibitions Beyond Disciplines book cover
1st Edition

Curating Lively Objects
Exhibitions Beyond Disciplines

ISBN 9780367148027
Published September 7, 2021 by Routledge
250 Pages 37 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Curating Lively Objects explores the role of things as catalysts in imagining futures beyond disciplines for museums and exhibitions. Authors describe how their curatorial collaborations with diverse objects, from rocks to robots, generate new ways of organising and sharing knowledge.

Bringing together leading artists and curators from Australia and Canada, this volume addresses object liveliness from a range of entwined perspectives, including new materialism, decolonial thinking, Indigenous epistemologies, environmentalism, feminist critique and digital aesthetics. Foregrounding practice-based curatorial scholarship, the book focuses on rigorous reflexive accounts of how curating is done. It contributes to global topics in curatorial research, including time and memory beyond and before disciplinarity; the relationship between human and non-human across different ontologies; and the interaction between Indigenous knowledge and disciplinary expertise in interpreting museum collections.

Curating Lively Objects will be of interest to scholars and students in the fields of curatorial studies, museum studies, cultural heritage, art history, Indigenous studies, material culture and anthropology. It also provides a vital resource for professionals working in museums and galleries around the world who are seeking to respond creatively, ethically and inclusively to the challenge of changing disciplinary boundaries.

Table of Contents

List of Figures;

List of Contributors



Part I: Troublesome Objects

Chapter 1

Decolonising archives: killing art to write its history 

Brook Garru Andrew and Paris Lettau

Chapter 2

Rendezvous with the Indigenous Art Collection: how to ‘raise a flag’

Ryan Rice

Chapter 3

Troublemakers in the museum: Robots, romance and the performance of liveliness

Anna Davis and Lizzie Muller

Chapter 4

Curating data-driven information-based art: Outlive or let die

Sarah Cook 

Part II: Metabolizing Objects

Chapter 5

Digesting institutional critique

Lisa Myers

Chapter 6

Curatorial care and the lively materials of biomedical art

Bec Dean

Chapter 7

Living and semi-living artefacts on display: The monster that therefore is a living epistemic thing

Oron Catts, Chris Salter and Ionat Zurr

Chapter 8

Troubling (natural) history: Bonnie Devine, Mark Dion, and Musée de la Chasse et la Nature

Caroline Seck Langill

Chapter 9

Social objects, art, and agriculture

Lucas Ihlein and Caroline Seck Langill

Part III: Energetic Objects

Chapter 10

Mineral materialities in contemporary art: Between intra-action, discursive magic and grief

Randy Lee Cutler

Chapter 11

Objects, energies and curating resonance across disciplines

Katie Dyer and Lizzie Muller

Chapter 12

Feminist new materialism, religion and perception

Sally McKay

Chapter 13

Digital-physical-emotional immersion in country: Bearing witness to the Appin massacre

Tess Allas and Lizzie Muller


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Lizzie Muller is a curator and researcher specialising in audience experience, reflective-curatorial practice and changing disciplinary formations in museums. She is Associate Professor at UNSW, Sydney.

Caroline Seck Langill is a writer and curator who researches intersections between art and science, and the related fields of media art history. She is Professor at OCAD University, Toronto, Ontario.