RESEARCH /  RECHERCHE

Ph.D. in Studies & Practices in Art

(Doctorat en études et pratiques des arts)

May 2021

University of Quebec à Montreal

Montréal (Québec)

The Practice of Co-curating Queer Stories:

An Autoethnography on the Creation of the Exhibition

Témoigner pour Agir

Abstract

This study follows the research-intervention into the development of Témoigner pour Agir, an exhibition focused on artistic testimonials about the body, sex, gender, sex work, and HIV status. This exhibition was a participatory, arts-based response to the marginalization of sexual and gender minorities in Canada and internationally. This type of exhibition creation actively involved individuals from under-represented communities in all stages of exhibition development.

My inquiry is an exploration into a participatory exhibition process from the standpoint of co-curating — from my perspective as the artist-curator within a co-curatorial group of marginalized people. The intervention discussed in this thesis also refers to my artistic practice and identity. The project's research component discusses the autoethnographic methods employed to query this curatorial intervention, including documentation research and review, semi-structured interviews conducted after the exhibition with key project participants, and observations from my own experience as an exhibition co-curator.

The conceptual framework of this doctoral work is based on queer and feminist theory. From that standpoint, I argue that a queer co-curatorial process values non-normative experiences and the stories of marginalized communities as significant sources of both knowledge and transversal politics. As a more socially responsible form of curatorial practice, this allowed people of different backgrounds and interests to claim a curatorial position as authors. As co-authors, or co-curators, we diverged from traditional (oppressive) practices of development and display. We valued personal experience and knowledge from the margins and shared knowledge, thereby producing both agency and a political space. The exhibition realization became a kind of 3rd space; a place for empathy, community building, solidarity, and activism.

The transformation of my identity and finding my voice as an artist-craftsperson living with HIV was pivotal in my participation and intervention in this exhibition project. Being immersed in the co-curatorial group known as Comité des sages made it possible for me to reconcile with my HIV status.

Keywords: Autoethnography, Curating, Exhibition, Living with HIV, Participatory, Queer, Testimonial, Transversal politics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Master of Art & Glass Science

(Mestrado em Arte e Ciência do Vidro)

October 2011

Universidade Nova de Lisboa & Universidade de Lisboa

Lisbon (Portugal)

Velas Içadas: Navigating Emotion in a Sea of Science

 

Abstract

I arrived in Portugal to learn the science of glass and to develop as an artist using glass.  Fascinated by science and the mysterious world it presents, I started in earnest to try to express that new awareness as it collided with my internal world. What is the connection between art and science? Grappling with this question, I began to explore. These explorations expressed in projects gave voice to how I feel about the totality of this potent experience. Here I will examine three of my artistic endeavours: Glass/Glace, an outdoor installation on the FCT campus; Observations, a solo exhibition on the FCT campus; and my thesis exhibition Velas Içadas presented at the Museu da Água, Reservatório da Patriarchal in Lisbon. These presentations of my work show my development. They also suggest how the stimulus of the scientific study and the experience of living in this foreign land can develop an artistic practice as it changes the artist. A crucial moment in that growth was the realization that science can be an inspiration without being the subject of my art. In my thesis exhibition, in order to understand where I was and the emotions that I had, I looked back in time using the history of my island home of Newfoundland and its five-century-old relationship with Portugal. Using historical maps and icons of sea exploration and personal symbols, such as the rose, I came to a greater understanding of not only these shared histories but also of myself and my world.

 

Keywords: Art & Science, Newfoundland, Portugal, age of exploration, maps