The guest for the first Reading Room of 2016 was curator Chus Martínez. Her work explores how changes in art can enrich public life, with an emphasis on questioning the role of the museum. Martínez is head of the Institute of Art at the FHNW Academy of Art and Design in Basel. The director of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam Beatrix Ruf took part in the evening as a respondent.
The Metabolic Museum
In this Reading Room Martínez explored how we can break with the conventions of the museum using imaginative metaphors such as osmosis and the octopus. The octopus is the only animal with part of its brain in its arms. Without a central nervous system, each arm ‘thinks’ and ‘feels’ independently but is also part of a single organism. Using the analogy of the octopus, what might a future museum look like that is not ‘consciously’ driven by a centre of aesthetic experiences but instead activates the senses of the visitors, the art, the animals and the things.
Read the article by Chus Martínez on e-flux, 'The Octopus in Love' and the essay 'Food in the Metabolic Era' as a pdf, see below.
Chus Martínez is a curator and head of the Institute of Art at the FHNW Academy of Arts and Design in Basel. She studied art history and philosophy and was previously curator at El Museo Del Barrio in New York, head of the curatorial team for Documenta 13 (2012), curator at MACBA, Barcelona (2008-2011), director of the Frankfurter Kunstverein (2005-2008) and artistic director of Sala Rekalde, Bilbao (2002-2005). In 2005 she curated the exhibition in the Cypriot pavilion at the 51st Venice Biennale.
Beatrix Ruf is the director of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. She was formerly the director of the Kunsthalle Zürich, where she devised a groundbreaking exhibitions programme. She has been one of the most influential figures in the international art world over the past fifteen years.
The Reading Room is a series of evening exploring contemporary forms of reading. It is a place to decipher and interpret the world with its countless languages, signs and systems, including ideas and things that are hard to identify, let alone read. Guided by a researcher, designer or scholar, a small audience will reflect upon a text, a design, an object or a series of images. Reading Room is a space for intimate, provocative conversations.