Editorial Statement

Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez, Virginie Bobin

After the comprehensive grammar and manual for contemporary curatorship that the editorial alchemy of the greatly-missed Igor Zabel and Viktor Misiano established in the first six issues of Manifesta Journal, and which Viktor Misiano, Nathalie Zonnenberg and Filipa Ramos then prolifically continued in the series of six issues that followed, we are honoured to take over the editing of Manifesta Journal. Proposing several mutations of previous editorial endeavours, we intend to use Manifesta Journal as a porous platform to reconsider the meanings and the effects of curatorial practices today. In the current state of socio-political, economical and ecological emergencies, in the context of rapid changes affecting the Global South and North, in the midst of the protests and upheavals borne from the Arab Spring and the “Occupy” movement that is spreading around the world, we wish to emphasize our viewpoint on contemporary artistic and curatorial practices as being negotiations between objects (images, texts, gestures, presences), situated knowledges and subjectivities. 

We have deliberately chosen the encompassing subtitle “Around curatorial practices” in order to mark the trajectory from the previous subtitle, “Journal of contemporary curatorship”. If we were to visualise our editorial logic, concentric circles would be most appropriate as they have in common one centre—curatorial practices, in our case. Thus the preposition “around” should be devoted to what actually moves subjectivities when they adopt the notion of curating as responding to their practices. We wish to look at the practices in the global art world that reassess this notion today and focus on its urgent (geo)political, humanistic, instigating and controversial potentialities; practices that are informed by subjective drives, subversions, opacities, risks, desires, beliefs and solidarities. Through them we will investigate the past history of curating, speculate on its future, and allow its relationships to the sensorial and the discursive to unfold, all the while offering space up to the powerful real and to the equally powerful imaginary. 

We wish to reflect on current practices of reading, researching, publishing and curating that have been enabled by the internet and its social technologies, while exploring new formats and advocating the open circulation of knowledge. We therefore present here a new online and downloadable Manifesta Journal, with most of its texts licensed through Creative Commons. Every two months, we invite a blogger-in-residency to share with us their research in progress: their reflections on, assessments of, and reactions to a specific subject. As our first resident for December 2011–January 2012, we are very pleased to host Adnan Yildiz, the artistic director of Künstlerhaus Stuttgart.

Manifesta Foundation is recognised for its having embraced progressive curatorial positions as well as for its understanding of curatorial practices as political agencies. The Manifesta Biennials have given a special emphasis on the collaborative, negotiating, affective, political, and groundbreaking aspects of what the unprecedented curatorial federations, exhibitions and mediations have relayed to them. This is a point of inspiration. Furthermore, we are motivated by recent attempts to go beyond social cynicism by establishing once more the capability to act and resonate in the public sphere. We thus wish to bring forward with each issue those potentialities that enable us to think what we think, feel what we feel and do what we do when we say that we curate.

We are most delighted to inaugurate the new series of Manifesta Journal with Cuauhtémoc Medina, Katerina Gregos and Dawn Ades, the curatorial team of Manifesta 9, as guest editors for this issue, where ghosts from the past prove to interact very actively with our current preoccupations. Engaging in a dialogue with these persistent spirits is a way for us to open the door to the pressing questions that we would like to unfold with you through the next five issues of Manifesta Journal.

Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez and Virginie Bobin

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The new sections of Manifesta Journal include:

Speculation (Syn.: cogitation, conjecture, contemplation, deliberation, hypothesis, meditation, reflection; Ant.: fact, information, reality, truth)
In-depth theoretical texts offering investigations of, reflections on, and even diversions from the journal’s core issues.

Statement (Syn.: affirmation, allegation, announcement, articulation, charge, comment, manifesto, proclamation, testimony, utterance; Ant.: question, request)
Contributors are invited to express their position through a short text, optionally accompanied by visual or audio material.

Conversation (Syn.: chat, colloquy, debate, dialogue, discussion, exchange, palaver, tête-à-tête; Ant.: silence)
Unexpected or long-awaited encounters between artists, curators, critics, theoreticians, or people from other fields than art.

Projection (Syn.: extension, fantasy, forecast, project, prediction, prognosis; Ant.: depression)
Studies of past exhibitions/events or reflections on potential future exhibitions/events that constitute a history of curatorial forms, offering space up to fiction.

Etude (Syn.: analysis, cogitation, comparison, contemplation, deliberation, examination, inquiry, investigation, meditation, musing, questioning, reflection, reverie, scrutiny; Ant: idleness)
Critical studies written in response to an image or a sound chosen by the author. 

Exhibition Room (Syn.: exposition, display, narration, position, presentation allowance, area, capacity, chance, occasion, opening, opportunity, place, play, scope, space, territory, volume; Ant.: dissimulation zone)
Curators are invited to devise an exhibition for the specific space of both the journal’s online and printed versions.  

Materials (Syn.: being, body, component, constituent, documents, elements, evidence, goods, paraphernalia, stuff; Ant.: absence) 
Exploration of archival materials that have not yet widely circulated.

Game (Syn.: adventure, amusement, occupation, pastime, play, recreation, undertaking; Ant.: immobility)
Artists whose practices encompass scores, instructions or games are invited to share them with the readers of Manifesta Journal.