Ana S Gonzalez Rueda
Meaningful Matter: Testing Feminist Pedagogies in the Exhibition Space
My project for Deviant Practice examines and reimagines the kinds of knowledge and learning that take place at the museum. I focused on experimenting with feminist materialist pedagogies within the dynamics of the contemporary art collection display: The Way Beyond Art. In particular, I worked with the notion of ‘diffraction’ as a tool to move away from the Cartesian mindset and the strict boundaries between meaning/matter, subject/object, mind/body. The project consists of a ‘movement-as-learning’ session in which we started from postures and gestures that correlated with the feeling of certainty and uncertainty. The group worked with smaller and larger movements and choreographic scaffolding to bring them together. As a form of ‘thinking in action’, this exercise raised the question of what legitimate knowledge looks and feels like. A second session consisted of a seminar with the curatorial and mediation teams. Discussion revolved around visitors’ expectations and the ‘asymmetrical faith in word over world’. We looked into ways of shifting attention to the physical encounter with the artwork, rather than overly relying on explanatory discourse and language. The paper elaborates on these sessions and argues for the relevance of feminist materialist pedagogies to exhibition-making today.
Ana S Gonzalez Rueda is an independent curator. She holds a PhD in Museum and Gallery Studies from the University of St Andrews and an MA in Curating Contemporary Art from the University of Essex. Her doctoral dissertation is titled “Inherent Pedagogies: Critical Approaches to Exhibition Making in the 2000s”.