Curator-in-residence Nida Ghouse is collaborating with EMPAC curator Vic Brooks on research towards their forthcoming exhibition Shifting Center, for which they are recipients of a Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Curatorial Research Fellowship.
Shifting Center will be presented at EMPAC in fall 2023 and considers the often-overlooked acoustic practices in contemporary art and exhibition-making as they relate to cultural memory, colonial history, and decolonial processes. More specifically, this curatorial research and the subsequent exhibition investigates the politics of sound by considering two opposing tendencies at play within contemporary art exhibitions and colonial museums: dislocation (objects, artworks, and cultural belongings taken from their original context and silenced through the mechanisms of museological preservation and display); and location (how architecture and acoustics impact the experience of exhibitions as resonant spaces of sited and situated listening).
Curatorial research in preparation for the exhibition will span two years and will comprise international travel for studio and site visits, interviews, and archival research. The curators will meet with artists and specialists where they work as well as convene at EMPAC for discussions about acoustic display and spatial audio technology. This period of research is itself an exercise in listening to and learning from others, an essentially communal and temporal practice that is not only rooted in the present but looks for how past ways of knowing and practices of listening can inform an exhibition today.
Nida Ghouse is an independent curator and writer based in Bombay and Berlin. She previously served as director of Mumbai Art Room, an experimental exhibition space in Bombay. As part of her curatorial practice, Ghouse explores auditory technologies alongside colonial legacies through artistic and curatorial collaborations with documentary films, sound-based practices, and contemporary art. Her recent exhibition A Slightly Curving Place (2020) at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, brought together artists, writers, performers, and sound designers in response to unique archaeoacoustic studies of premodern performance sites in India conducted over decades by self-taught acoustic archaeologist Umashankar Manthravadi.
EMPAC Spring 2022