CSNI Director Andrew Dewdney has contributed a chapter, Art Museum Knowledge and the Crisis of Representation to a new volume, Representing Art Education: On the Representation of Pedagogical work in the Art Field, edited by Carmen Mörsch, Sigrid Schade & Sophie Vögele.
The chapter argues that established art museum value systems and organisation are unraveling and ultimately unsustainable in the face of the new conditions of knowledge production and circulation, produced by informational capitalism and network culture. The first part of the chapter offers an analysis of the limits of critical and aesthetic modernism as the episteme of art museum knowledge, pointing out the increasingly hermetic nature of the art museum experience and its conversion into a commodified form of heritage. The second part of the chapter defines the new conditions of art museum experience as one of hybridity in which transcultural and transmedial modes of attention and connection operate in and beyond the spacio-temporality of the museum. The paper argues that art-media hybridity opens up the way for museum educators to free themselves from the representational frame of the museum in which they have been structurally marginalised through tracing new lines of value in networks of association.
Within the increasingly hollowed-out shells of the systems of representation academics, policy makers and museum professionals remain gatekeepers of cultural authority of one separated kind or another. Paradoxically, however, far from being under-employed as the functions of cultural value are relocated to the non-representational spaces of the market, the labour of knowledge professionals is being functionalised in an orgy of hyper-production expressed in terms of more research, more students, greater audiences and more programming. The chapter contends that transcollaboration can reconfigure the spaces of cultural production in order to win the conditions in which new goals for the future can be set. In this way research is an integral part of all cultural production.
The argument developed in the paper is based upon two UK Arts and Humanities Research Council funded projects with Tate Britain and Tate Modern conducted between 2007 and 2014, entitled Tate Encounters: Britishness and Visual Cultures and Tate and the Cultural value and the digital: practice, policy and theory respectively.