Curating Experiments

Curating Experiments, a two-week MFA course at the Umeå Academy of Fine Arts, examines contemporary curatorial strategies for engaging with emerging science, technology and environmental crises. In an era in which humans are experimenting both intentionally and unintentionally with ecosystems, the atmosphere, and our own bodies, artists and curators face the challenge of making these processes visible and open for critical discussion. This course presents a selection of experiments in curating in which art exhibitions become stages for conversation about climate change, the Anthropocene, and scientific methods, and the concept of experiment itself. Comprised of lectures, readings, discussion and short research assignments, curating experiments introduces students to central principles of curating and prepares them for future projects in the Arctic and other stressed and extreme environments.

Readings: A growing list…

I. Curating In General and In Particular

Michael Bhaskar, “In the age of the algorithm, the human gatekeeper is backThe Guardian (September 2016)

Regine, “Book Review: The New CuratorWe Make Money Not Art (April 11, 2016)

Miya Tokumitsu, “The Politics of the Curation Craze,” The New Republic (Aug. 2015)

Maria Lind, “On the Curatorial” Artforum (October 2009)

Elena Filipovic, “The Global White Cube,” The Manifesta Decade: Debates on Contemporary Art Exhibitions and Biennials in Post-Wall Europe (MIT Press, 2005)


II. Curating the Anthropocene

Heather Davis & Etienne Turpin, (2015) Art in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Aesthetics, Politics, Environments and Epistemologies, Open Humanities Press (Required: “Art & Death: Lives Between the Fifth Assessment & the Sixth Extinction” pp. 3-30)

The Anthropocene Epoch: Scientists declare dawn of human-influenced age” The Guardian, (August 29, 2016)

Dehlia Hannah & Sarah Krajewski, Placing the Golden Spike: Landscapes of the Anthropocene (Exhibition Catalogue)


Marina Zurokow, Mesocosm (Wink TX)
Xavier Cha, Surveil


Bildemuseet, Umea, Perpetual Uncertainty, 2016

Röda Sten Konsthall, Göteborg 2016 Thematic: The Anthropocene

Eleanor Heartney Art for the Anthropocene Era, Art in America,  June 30, 2014


III. Climate Change

Bildemuseet, Umea: Current Exhibition: Amar Kanwar/The Sovereign Forest 2018

Regine, “Disappearing Legacies: The World as Forest” (Exhibition Review), We Make Money Not Art (February 2, 2018)

Interview: JM Ledgard and Alastair SmartClimate Change: Can artists have any influence?Tate, Etc. June 7, 2017

Cape Farewell

Indicators: Artists on Climate Change, Storm King, 2018


IV. Everyday Exhibitions

Hannah, D., Selin, C., (2016) “Unseasonal Fashion: A Manifesto,” Climates: Architecture and the Planetary Imaginary, The Avery Review & Lars Müller Publishers, 222-231


V. The Arctic

Louisiana Museum, Copenhagen Arktis 2013-14

Isaac Julien, “Interview: On political expediency” Canadian Art, Januar 27, 2017

Isaac Julien, True North, 2004

Pierre Huyghe, A Journey that wasn’t, 2005

Glenn Gould, Experimental Radio Documentary, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 1967, The Idea of North


VI. Curating as a Transmedia Thought Experiment: A Year Without a Winter

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, Or: The Modern Prometheus (1818)

Nadim Samman (2018) “Errant Curating,” in A Year Without a Winter, Edited by Dehlia Hannah, Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, Columbia University Press