Care as Method? Exploring Curatorial Support Structures

While the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the essential social and economic functions of care, it has simultaneously rendered its gendered, racialized conditions legible as forms of ‚structural violence’. How can artistic and curatorial practices position themselves in regards to the prevailing crisis of care? In which ways can a socially engaged curatorial practice foster “caring infrastructures” for their audiences, artists, and other collaborators? With these questions in mind, the course does not only focus on addressing care as an urgent topic but also on how to enact it structurally.

The course departs from an outline of feminist social reproduction theory, then revisits the etymological root of curating and examines how curatorial labor, like carework, is a highly feminized, invisible, and precarious practice (Reckitt, 2016; Buurman/Richter, 2017). Building on the discourse of curating-as-care (Krasny, 2015; Reilly, 2017), the curatorial platform CARE (curated by Sascia Bailer in 2019/20 at M.1 in rural Northern Germany) is presented as a “case study”. This site-specific, relational project invites the participants to test how care, in such instances, does not only serves as a theme but can be regarded as a curatorial method to build “caring infrastructures” for the various participants and collaborators.

Through discussions, critical readings, group works, and individual assignments the participants will examine and challenge the “implications of care” for artistic and curatorial practices. In guided exercises, they will be asked to develop concepts/principles/strategies on how to enact “care as method” in their own curatorial practices.

Sascia Bailer is a curator, researcher, writer and editor working at the intersection of care, feminism and social transformation. She is conducting her practice-based curatorial PhD at the Zurich University of the Arts & University of Reading, and recently completed her Artistic Directorship 2019/20 at the Arthur Boskamp-Stiftung in Northern Germany with a focus on „Care“. In October 2020 the Arthur Boskamp press published Bailer´s publication “Curating, Care, and Corona”. Her article „Care for Caregivers“ will be published in the anthology „Curating with Care“ (Routledge, forthcoming 2022). She is co-editor of the anthology „Letters to Joan“ (2020, HKW) and of the artist books „Re-Assembling Motherhood(s): On Radical Care and Collective Art as Feminist Practices“ by Maternal Fantasies (Onotmatopee, 2021), and „What We Could Have Become: On Queer Feminist Filmmaking“ by Malu Blume (Onotmatopee, 2021). Sascia Bailer has worked internationally within the arts, including MoMA PS1, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, and the Vera List Center for Art and Politics. She holds an MA from Parsons School of Design, a BA from Zeppelin University, and is based in Southern Germany.