Greenroom Project Glossary was created in the Fall of 2008 at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (CCS Bard). It functions as guide and review of the "Greenroom Project: Reconsidering the Documentary and Contemporary Art," curated by Maria Lind in collaboration with Hito Steyerl . The exhibition opened on September 27, 2008 and closes on February 1, 2009.
This page provides a non-exhaustive compendium of different viewpoints on the exhibition as a whole. The content for the glosses has been culled from individual papers written by CCS students, from personal opinion, and from the Greenroom Exhibition Brochure.
The Glossary is intended as a polivalent text, which functions as
*accompaniment to the museum brochure to be used in the gallery
*review of the exhibition
*suggestive list for the reader interested in the discussion on documentary art practices
*alternative archive of ephemeral opinions and observations
*site that enables connections between different institutions, terms, and publications
*addendum to The Greenroom Project published by Sternberg Press
Originally developed by Sarah Demeuse (CCS 2010), the glossary exists as experiment in anonymous and collaborative authorship. It is a text that feeds off and supplements its main referent, the Greenroom Project. Visitors to the exhibition are encouraged to use and edit this text.
*Reconsider—“Reconsider x” = “revisit x armed with a reading list and thoughts on x”. Repetition with a difference.
The assumption is that a topic has been considered in the past, but that it is currently misunderstood or neglected. At CCS, documentary practices and their relation to contemporary art (or vice versa) come under the loupe. A large selection of art works, talks, and readings are offered for the visitors' critical perusal.
While visitors participate in this effort to reconsider, a core reference group (Petra Bauer , Matthew Buckingham, Carles Guerra, Maria Lind, Walid Raad, and Hito Steyerl) spends more private brain time on the topic, with the aim of organizing future talks, articles and exhibitions about documentary practices. Lots of sitting still and contemplating--now as well as in the future (see Seating).
*Narrative-Recurring ingredient in the exhibited works. Crucial in the creation of dubious biographies, conflicting accounts, edited autobiographies, or even palimpsestic histories.
*School—The Greenroom exhibition occurs on the borders of museum, school, and research institute. It brings the museum visitor into the seminar room, the student lounge and the library. Inversely, the seminar has moved into the museum, (purposely? shamefully?) turning students and professors into one-time performers who visualize the production of knowledge at Bard’s Center for Curatorial Studies.
This theatrical aspect aside, the visitor is literally cast back to school, by accessing the greenroom library and by raising awareness to the educational models often pushed aside into the shadow of the white cube. (see Knowledge Production)
*Project—In this context, “project” is the equivalent of a selection of art works in combination with museum programming that exceeds the time frame of a typical exhibition. We’re presenting the show as a work-in-progress. Closure is for later, perhaps for after the 3 years project span. The curator and her artists don the garbs of researchers and public discussants; the interested visitor receives an invitation to return and look out for upcoming events.
*Seats— Comfort not guaranteed.
A lot of thought went into directing and framing the visitor’s gaze (as that of a complicit, voyeuristic, distanced, or ambivalent participant). In this context, seating is more than a prosaic detail: the chairs’ aesthetics often match that of the shown video and films, ranging from cheap metal to vintage blue glass fiber.
*Ambivalence-Slippage, artifact, found document, authenticity, fabrication.
*Documentary/Documenting/Document-Grierson’s 1926 ghost is resurrected, so is Vertov’s kino-eye. Maria Lind argues that we’re in a confusing situation similar to that of the 1930s. .
The label “documentary” applies to a great range of works, many of which are lens-based pieces, others sculptures or even neon signs.
What isn’t a document, really?
It comes to no surprise that most works in the exhibition refer to filmic tradition and investigate or play with the production codes of a true document.
Is this exhibition documenting recent documentary practices? Does it double the feverish drive to document, or does the curator-en-réconsidérant step outside of the codes of the genre?
*Video Essay-Adorno meets Big Brother. Tastes like defamiliarization.
*Knowledge Production-In construction (see School, Project, Resistance, Self-awareness)
*Art to Take Away—Don’t leave the Greenroom exhibition empty handed. Rakowitz, Motta, and the curatorial department provide sufficient reading leaflets for the train-ride home , either as a way to feed the visitor’s own voguish archive fever , or as a way to counteract short-term amnesia caused by visual overload.