les presses du réel

Les Formes du délai

Forword (p. 6)

In a society in which media pressure is tending to impose the event as the sole legitimate cultural format, it was up to a school to dare to define a different kind of workspace: one in which time would be consecrated to testing out new situations, with no concern for visibility or attendance figures. For the audience rating system does not sit well with the long time lapse required for a new idea to gain acceptance.
La Box, the gallery of the National School of Art in Bourges, has openly reaffirmed the research function concomitant with the teaching mission of a public higher education establishment. La Box is not just a showcase or an art outlet; it is an experimental framework within which all exhibition parameters can be challenged in the presence of students and teachers and with their active participation. The principle of an annual curatorship emerged as the precondition for an approach to programming. A call for curatorial projects was issued and a proposal chosen by a vote of the entire teaching team after a group interview with the shortlisted candidates. This delegation process enabled reconciliation of the independence of stance required by a genuine curatorial approach with the equally necessary transparency of the selection procedures. This transparency guarantees the school's democratic, collegial functioning while providing the students with interlocutors — the curators — ready to assume responsibility for their choices and discuss them throughout the year.
Entrusting young curators with a complete programme rather than a single event thus signals a certain resistance to the obligation to produce attention-getting content. And to focus the first such season on varieties of deferral was an especially pertinent decision on the part of the guest curators. There is a genuinely political issue to be dealt with today on the periphery of the art scene — in spaces and at junctures where the spotlights have been turned off and the microphones unplugged — in the form of an urgent need to invent forms as independent as possible of a visibility system monopolised by the media and their sponsored offshoots. This, it seems to me, is what Marie Cozette, Keren Detton and Julie Pellegrin set out to do by giving expression to time lapse in fascinating variations on the paradoxical deferral strategies implemented — before, after or whenever — by the artists they brought together here.

Maria Wutz

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