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Cruising Curating: Notes on a Promiscuous Methodology for the Curatorial

Lecturer: Tommaso Speretta

This workshop invites participants to look at the potential outcomes of a promiscuous research methodology, not only as a system of knowledge production, but also as a catalyst of energies –cultural, aesthetic, theoretical, artistic– which shapes the curatorial not in the direction of a complex unity but at the contrary of a site of different, of-all-kinds forms of becoming. Thus, the course seeks to open a debate around the following questions: “Can cruising be used as a research method? Can the curatorial be a place to perform promiscuity as a way to escape the normalizing discourse perpetuated by society while problematizing the trajectories imposed by art history?”

The act of cruising is that of an ungrounded movement through an unbounded, placeless place; to be promiscuous is the practice of willfully engaging in sexual activities with multiple and indiscriminate partners. Both carry the traces of an experience, which is anonymous, nomadic, indistinct, itinerant, pleasurable, and more importantly non-dualistic. In other words, one that seeks for neither a positive nor a negative self-affirmation. When applied, metaphorically, to the field of artistic research, such a position contributes to create a space of appearance, i.e. the curatorial, which embraces the uncertainty, the impossibility, the obliqueness rather than to respond to the imperative of achieving historical closure in regard to the object of the inquire or the conditions for aesthetic and artistic production.

By discussing curatorial strategies for the exhibition “Every Moment Counts. AIDS and its Feelings” (Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo, 2022), the course addresses the personal, the intimate, and the emotional as effective affective forces and the art institution as a venue for permeable and perpetually transformable encounters. Emphasizing process and movement, cruising curating elevates “multiple singularities” over “singular multiplicities” and seeks to create the conditions for multiple subjectivities to emerge and co-exist –in other words, for being in common with no need to strictly embrace any condition of belonging.


Tommaso Speretta (he/him) is a curator, writer and book editor based in Venice, Italy. Speretta is currently pursuing his PhD in Practice in Curating at the Zurich University of the Arts jointly organized with the University of Reading. Over the last decade, he has conducted research in the field of art history and queer theory in the specific context of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and authored the book “REBELS REBEL. AIDS, Art and Activism in New York, 1979–1989” (Ghent: MER. Paper Kunsthalle, 2014).

Speretta has curated projects independently as well as worked for art institutions such as the Venice Art and Architecture Biennale, The Office for Contemporary Art Norway and the DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art in Athens. He has co-organized with artist Bjarne Melgaard the M.A. program “Beyond Death: Viral Discontent and Contemporary Notions about AIDS” at the IUAV University in Venice and co-curated the culminating group exhibition “Baton Sinister” (2011).

Forthcoming curatorial projects include the exhibition “Every Moment Counts. AIDS and its Feelings” at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter in Oslo (February 2022) and the queer film program “I am/We are” at the Stavanger Art Museum, Norway (March 2022).