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The Three P’s: Participatory, Performative, and Political Practices

The course will examine participatory, performative, and political artistic and curatorial practices from the last decade in the notions of commoning, consensus, and difference, specifically employing the term “antagonisms”, and exploring the concept of the political in collaborative and participatory practices. We will ask what is performative through the notion of Speech Acts and how the performative can also be political. We will look at categories of participation: voluntary, non-voluntary (mandated), and involuntary (the participants are already there, and the event is happening around them).

We will then discuss how participation has changed with the introduction of the Internet, and how forms of online participation are affected by neoliberal logic and in turn affect notions of democracy and commoning. In addition, we will discuss how recent and current crisis modes, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, enhance and extend online participation, how they reflect political tendencies of nationalism and isolation, and what this could mean for artistic and curatorial participatory practices.

Maayan Sheleff is an independent curator based in Tel Aviv, as well as the artistic advisor of The Art Cube Artists’ Studios in Jerusalem and the founder and curator of its international residency program, “LowRes Jerusalem”. Her projects take a reflexive approach towards participation and activism. She is currently PHD candidate in Practice in Curating programme, a partnership with University of Reading (UK) and ZHdK (CH), exploring political choirs, or the use of the collective human voice in participatory practices. Some of her recent projects include The Infiltrators, an exhibition of participatory projects with African Asylum seekers, at Artport Gallery, Tel Aviv ( 2014); Preaching to the Choir at Herzlyia Museum in Israel (2015); and 50 Years, an activist project marking 50 years of Israeli occupation with the Bet’selem human rights organisation. She is currently working on an exhibition at the Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht, Netherlands, related to her PhD research. She teaches at various academic institutions, and her latest publication was “Fear and Love in Graz,” in Empty Stages, Crowded Flats. Performativity as Curatorial StrategyPerforming Urgency #4, eds. Florian Malzacher and Janna Warsza.