The Matrix of Curating

Efrat Shalem & Yanai Toister

I'd like to use a series of photographs made by Yanai Toister for the sake of demonstrating my argument about curating. Yanai Toister's work titled “Visible Color” was photographed in Israel in the winter of 2005 in a recently constructed, seemingly abandoned, military compound. This military compound is part of, and located right next to, a cargo terminal in the new dividing barrier (fence) between Israel and the Palestinian controlled territories. All 7 photos in "Visible Color" portray rainbow colored architectural structures. These structures, when presented in the photographic form, are arranged according to the arbitrary order of the visible color (circle). This series of photographs brings to mind many contemporary curatorial projects that attempt to map out a place or an identity through the exposing of ideology as it is being reflected in the counter-relations of architecture and economy.

The act of curating can reveal ideology and ideological apparatuses. What is then the relationship between the act of curating, the work of art and reality? If we were to momentarily presume that an act of curating doesn't only present ideas but also represents ideas, or theories, than would it be possible to conceive a model in which life and reality arrange themselves around curatorial models?

In conclusion, would it be fair to say ideology today is so powerful and sophisticated that it arranges our realities for us in such ways that confuse and further vague the difference between sub ordinance and awareness? Or in other words – Are our ideologies so complex that we actually believe that in curating or being curated we are revealing ideology in those very moments when we are actually being interpellated? In the case of Toister's work while we admire the slick ways in which ideology is reflected in architecture and concealed in aesthetic (chromatic) codes we fail to notice, or notice too late that a new type of camouflage has come to life. A type of camouflage that we are details in.

Visible Color 1

Visible Color 2

Visible Color 3

Visible Color 4

Visible Color 5

Visible Color 6

Visible Color 7