Curatoria Forense – Latinoamérica

The Rise of the Clinic 02 – Clinician Models.

Dec 27th 2010

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This article was written in the context
of SPARRING TOUR 2009


[versión en español]


Unlike cartographic maps, mind ones act on field by metaphorizing its objects. Not only they nominate, set limits and establish relative positions, but also -and more importantly- they give significance to the point that they point.

This is the reason, why I like to use, as areas´s names, references to stories (or groups of them) so as to act as a narrative context for the name.

I firmly believe that a map should be simple to read at first sight, but it should not be exhausted in the organization of its signs. In other readings it can try to make things more difficult by complicating their relations with history, anecdotes and codes common use. In other words, including the symbolic burden.

A couple of years ago, going through immigration at Santiago de Chile International Airport Santiago de Chile, I filled out the entry form as usual: in the occupation blank I wrote “curator”. I forgot to add at the beginning the term: “art.” The girl who received the piece of paper could not tolerate the intrigue and asked me if I was some kind of “imposition of hands healer”… I smiled and replied that I had not yet arrived to do that.

This misunderstanding led me to wonder if perhaps this confusion did not say anything about our profession. Led me to think on the possibility of establishing types for those who impart art clinics and what would be their principal attributes, because in these clinics, names which we can apply are diverse and work in combination.

Here I will only give some examples for the purpose of this article. These are: shamans, jesuits and cynicals.

The shamans administer ritually the truth, an enlightened and enlightening truth, which nobody knows where it comes from, but we know that faith is knowing how to discard facts, or the lack of them.

In contrast, there are those who understand the art clinic execution as an apostolate, which I called “Jesuitism”.

The Jesuit missionary is simultaneously an intellectual and a rationalist under reasonable control.

Perhaps, as once joked, we are in front of the Universal Church of Contemporary Art of Latter-days Saints. If we follow this line of thought, we could say that what we are witnessing in certain art clinics is both a homily and a confession.

The jesuits, unlike shamans, configure a discursive logic, which is pretended to be reproducible; they build a system of thought, but on an indubitable axiom: the value´s structure is already anticipated (either from outside or above).

Last -but not least- the cynic who has a sophist attitude towards its object, claims ignorance towards the truth and seeks it in particular cases (though perhaps this is only a gimmick). This fiction allows a non-dogmatic approach to the object because any truth is arguable and therefore insignificant. The references must then be established between each art work, they must be searched. It occurs to me that this can be like in the TV drama Dr. House, in which a doctor and his team infringe ethical principles searching for an imperative, urgent diagnosis.

The cynic is in love with his study object. The value, which he seeks, is supposed, he desires it there where he is looking. The relationship between subjects occurs between the love that connect things together and the critical humor distance. Lissete Lagnado -in her 2006 Sao Paulo´s Biennial evaluation- declared: Living together, but with the just distance.

What these three stereotypes -used to define some of the types of relationships between clinician and clinicees have in common is that the clinic is defined as the space where what is being questioned is the “value of what is being diagnosed”. The “in outlines”, the map imposition over the field or the technical rigid criteria underestimate the processes and products value, they force the analysis and discourage artistic production and discourse experimentation. To recognize the others, we must determine their actions and mechanisms, see them deploy in their production environment.

These models proposed have very different implementations and implications for clinicians. This will be discussed on the next article.

Jorge Sepúlveda T.
Independent Curator
Buenos Aires – Salta, april 2009

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