Maayan Sheleff

Echoing with a Difference––Curating Voices and the Politics of Participation

26 April 2024, 6pm


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Maayan Sheleff will discuss her recently completed thesis, Echoing with a Difference––Curating Voices and the Politics of Participation, which probes participatory curatorial practices that entail agonistic relations. Taking the global wave of protests that begun in 2011 as an entry point, the thesis critically discusses its impact on participatory practices, and the ambivalent manifestations of this impact in collective vocal utterings. In this talk, Sheleff will focus on several of her curatorial projects, among them (Un)Commoning Voices and (Non)communal Bodies (Reading International, UK, 2019), and Voice Over (Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht, 2020). Exploring conflictual participatory curating as a clash between mediation and curatorial authorship, and between care and control, she will examine the projects from within the cracks that appear between intention and result, fantasy and reality, accomplishments and failures, and from the varying vantage points of artist, community of participants, audiences and institution. The participatory curator is thus rendered as a sort of double agent, instigating conflictual situations and at the same maintaining their boundaries.

Dr. Maayan Sheleff completed her thesis at the Curatorial platform, the University of Reading (UK) and ZHdK (CH). She is co-curating the public program for the 2024 Summer Academy in Salzburg together with Sophie Goltz. She curated projects at the KW, Berlin, Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht, Reading International, UK, the Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo and Madre Museum, Naples, among others. Her publications include (Un)Commoning Voices and (Non)Communcal Bodies (co-editor with Sarah Spies, OnCurating, 2021), “Fear and Love in Graz”, in Empty Stages, Crowded Flats. Performativity as Curatorial Strategy, Performing Urgency #4, ed. Florian Malzacher and Joanna Warsza (Berlin: House on Fire, Alexander Verlag and Live Art Development Agency, 2017) and “The Infiltrators – Crossing Borders with Participatory Art”, in Refugees and Cultural Education – Formats and strategies for a new field of practice, ed. Caroline Gritschke and Maren Ziese (Transcript publishing, Germany, 2016).

Caption: Rehearsals in the courtyard of KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, August 2023, for ‘I Know What to Do,’ performance by Sunny Pfalzer in collaboration with Lau Lukkarila and Slim Soleded, Music by Marshall Vincent. As part of the performative Gathering Voice Over #2, curated by Maayan Sheleff for the KW. Photograph by Maayan Sheleff.