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Dorothee Richter

Curating: Politics of Display, Politics of Site, Politics of Transfer and Translation, Politics of Knowledge Production

A Fragmented and Situated Theory of Curating

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Dorothee Richter’s argument understands curating or the curatorial not as a philosophical concept but as a practice that is deeply involved in the politics of display, politics of site, politics of transfer and translation, and regimes of visibility. It is based on a concept of critical research that takes as its starting point the investigation of what is often the overly simplistic understanding of the curator as a new agent in the fields of art and culture. Richter understands the curatorial as a multi-authored approach to the production of meaning, which is intrinsically linked to transformations of contemporary societies, the reorganisation of labour, cultural policies, politics of inclusion/exclusion, and issues posed by points of intersection.
Curatorial practice and theory have been developed in the context of cultural analysis, theories of power, and theories of communities based on feminist, queer, postcolonial, ecological, post-Marxist and other political and emancipatory positions. Many of these positions emerge out of political struggles or social movements. Ideally, curatorial knowledge production can be seen as a space for the negotiation of social, political, cultural, and economic conflicts. It understands curating as agency from which new constellations emerge. These could be represented in the format of an exhibition but equally in other forms of meaning production through a context-related media conglomeration, which involves a critical review of contemporary curatorial practices and theories. By engaging with these trajectories, the conditions and the foundations of knowledge production in the curatorial field become the subject of critical research leading to their re-positioning.

Dorothee Richter is a professor at the University of Reading, a professor at the Zurich University of the Arts, publisher of OnCurating.org, and a filmmaker, see FluxUsNow.net.


This publication is part of the ongoing series of publications on theoretical perspectives on curating.


The rights of this publication remain by the author. The publication is openly accessible on the website www.on-curating.org and can be downloaded and shared under the restriction of crediting the author and/or OnCurating.org.

The Publisher is granted a non-exclusive right of use in respect of the online  publication of the work without the obligation to make use of this right. The Author is entitled to make a PDF version of the work publicly accessible online via his/her personal website, an institutional server or a suitable subject-based repository once it has appeared in book form. This usage of rights is in compliance to the requirements by the of Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).

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