This lecture concerns the particular ‘life of the mind’ that shapes, and is shaped by, the experience of artistic production. I want to explore what studio conversations tell us about Walter Benjamin’s famous prediction that the pace of the modern world will require art to change at the speed of speech.
Chris Dorsett is an artist and exhibition curator whose career has been built on collaborations with collection-holding institutions such as the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford and the Royal Swedish Armoury, Stockholm. His curatorial activities also include fieldwork residencies in the Amazon (organised with the Centre for Economic Botany, Kew) and the walled village of Kat Hing Wai (commissioned by the Arts Development Council of Hong Kong). Dorsett seeks to resituate the changing aesthetic and political ambitions of experimental art within the widest range of historical and scientific contexts and, as a Professor of Fine Art at Northumbria University, he continues to interrogate museological claims about the construction of knowledge through exhibition display. He publishes regularly with Routledge for the museums studies sector and was recently commissioned to lead ‘Cast Contemporaries’, an exhibition about the fate of anatomical and sculpture cast collections in art schools (2012 Edinburgh Arts Festival).