Exhibition as Reflexive Transformation
Taking Forensic Architecture's project Triple-Chaser as its point of departure the article is a theoretical exploration of the role of exhibition in contemporary aesthetic and artistic practices. It claims that works of art are capable of producing a reflexive transformation of our non-artistic everyday lifeworld (cf. Juliane Rebentisch) and argues that the act of exhibition, of making visible or perceptible, is a decisive element in such a reflexive transformation of the non-aesthetic and non-artistic social reality that the art work addresses or in which it embeds itself. The act of exhibition makes something/the work present but, at the same time it creates a distance, precisely because the appearance of the work has been arranged and addressed to someone/us; what is exhibited is given as having been organised and deliberately made available to appear to us (cf. Tristan Garcia). This distance installs a difference, a pensive image in the language of Jacques Rancière, which is what allows for reflexive transformation. When Forensic Architecture, for instance, make use of reenactments in their investigations of human rights violations, real space is turned into a model of itself, and a negotiation of what it means can begin. An agency like Forensic Architecture, however, operates in a number of different forums to communicate and exhibit their investigations, of which the forum of art is but one as they consider each forum, i.e. place of exhibition, as a distorting lens of its own kind. A decisive aspect of what then still makes their work—and many other contemporary practices that expand their field of operation beyond the dedicated spaces of art—aesthetic is a certain mode of exhibition or exposition and address, which invites the addressees to take part in a process of sense-making.
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