Session 4

Louise Garrett / Central Saint Martins, London
Cecilia Canziani / Accademia di Belle Arti dell'Aquila; American University of Rome


(In)hospitalities


“Hospitality” is a term that has recently emerged in art and curatorial discourse as a way of addressing the paradoxically open generosity and exclusionary closure that condition every curated encounter between configurations of hosts and guests, whether they be curators, artists, collaborators, audiences, participants, objects, institutions and local communities.

This session aims to critically address “hospitality” as a proposition within art and curatorial histories, theories, spaces and practices. A point of departure is the critical interpretation of “hospitality” offered by Jacques Derrida addressing the categorical imperative of unconditional hospitality as an impossibility that is nevertheless crucial to the orientation of the laws of conditional hospitality — a site of particularly urgent scrutiny in relation to the geopolitics of the current migrant situation.

This session welcomes papers that analyse art practices and their historical, theoretical and curatorial frames as tools to underpin and reorient imageries related to entangled encounters between normative “Western” and migrant “peripheral” subjects, addressing questions such as:

  • How has “hospitality” emerged within art and curatorial practice and how has the concept structured museum practices and museological approaches?
  • Can the term “hospitality” examine how the exhibitionary complex is regulated by its authorities as well as “performed” (and transgressed) by its users (guests and hosts)?
  • Is art able to address the potentiality and expediency of “hospitality” in light of the very evident inhospitality that marks the actual experience of many migrants today?
  • How do we — as art historians, curators, artists, and audiences — position ourselves or participate in this migratory space?
  • To what extent have participatory practices in art and politics been affected by the current scenario and can they provoke new types of open, collaborative institutional and social structures?
  • What (if any) agency does “art” allow for those subject to inhospitable limits, exclusion and controls?