ISACS17: Aaron James

Live Curation: A Methodology Towards A New Platform for the Reception of Art

Live Curation: A Methodology Towards A New Platform for the Reception of Art
28.09.2017 to 30.09.2017

Under the chairmanship of Morten Søndergaard and Peter Weibel the conference »ISACS17: Resonant Worlds – Curating Sound, Art & Science« takes place at the ZKM from 28–30 September, 2017. The conference addresses and debates the resonant worlds of sound, art, science and curation.

ISACS17 (re)investigates the  intersections of sound, art and science from the perspective of artistic / creative curation. The participants are asked to showcase, and reflect on, their own practices from the perspective of how and why choices are made in order to make things »work« – in the sense that it resonates in/with other people, contexts, culture, society, history, and »the world«. These are perhaps issues of (and effects from) embodied experiences, of language games, of existence.


The curation of art exhibitions is an integral part of understanding what, where and how contemporary art and society operates today. As an independent artist-curator I am interested in transgressing traditional acts of curation, demystifying and resituating the role of the curator within the live moment.

Live Curation thus can be conceived of as a epistemological methodology, which creates a localised ecology between art, artists and art audiences that offers the opportunity to explore macro issues in a micro ecology. I argue this method accelerates what art is and is ‘becoming’ whilst also challenging the boundaries of authenticity through a vital materialistic and agential realist sensibility.

In this paper, I will specifically focus on how resonance operates in real-time, analysing what occurs between artist-curator, sonic artwork and audience during a live-curated exhibition. Therefore, I will introduce my own approach to the methodology live curation, by deconstructing the impact of curating ephemerality as opposed to traditional modes of curatorial practice (whereby an exhibition is curated through months or years of planning and co-ordination to enable the curator to pre-determine how the exhibition space will position a combination of seemingly static or solid objects) and instead propose a rhizomatic approach that generates an ensemble of phenomena.

I will question how artist-curators and audiences work collaboratively to produce a diffractive ethnographic view of art, artworks and the art world, and propose that acts of live curation forge a sociological and epistemological resonance between these stakeholders, which enables and qualifies art-viewers as participants and active agents in the curation and reception of exhibitions and artworks.

Aaron James is a London-based artist, DJ, curator and researcher.

He has received commissions from leading european art institutions such as Tate, Arnolfini, National Galleries Scotland and Mo.E and has performed as a DJ for various brands and venues through his critically acclaimed event series Future History.

As an independent researcher, Aaron is currently working on a practice-as-research project entitled Live Curation: A Methodology Towards a New Platform for the Reception of Art. This explores whether the artist as curator and the audience as active agents in the curation of an exhibition, can curate an exhibition live and explicate art and curatorial knowledge relationally.

He is currently producing and co-curating Assembly of Disturbance with industrial pioneers Test Dept, which is also the first major event of the recently founded Institute of Sonic Art.