Uncommon Pursuits, established in the summer of 2018, is a school dedicated to emerging Southeast Asian curators who aspire to gain theoretical and practical skills as they research, write and curate contemporary art in their translocal contexts. Please find more information on our program here.
The term ‘research’ has become common currency among the range of practitioners under the rubric of ‘contemporary art.’ The term has a history in this context and carries certain implications: a break with conventionalized approaches to art history, the use of rationalized methods and a pursuit of exceptionally new insights. Such can be readily recognized in recent studies in Asian art histories and the move away from problematic categories such as ‘world art.’ However, empiricism and the appropriation of other disciplinary procedures carries challenges for those working with visual and material cultures. Is it possible to shape distinct methodologies for this work?
This session explores this question by focusing on the practical production of research questions, examining extant research methodologies and speculating on innovative approaches. Suspending discursive separations of theory and empiricism, the session also considers the politics of how and what knowledge is produced.