The Museum Is Not What It Used To Be Speaker Series

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Upcoming Talks

More talks will be posted soon.

Past Talks
Vasif Kortun: Questions on Institutions
October 1, 2:30pm


The Museum Is Not What It Used To Be

MOCA Toronto Canada launches a series of talks that focus on the act of building a cultural institution at this accelerated point in history. The conversations will explore ideas around use, democracy, sustainability, interdisciplinary programming and horizontality. The program aims to ask how we can create a museum model that answers to the pressures of our extreme present, but at the same time establishes a meaningful and enduring agenda?

The first speaker in the series, Vasif Kortun, was the founding Director of Research and Programs, SALT, Istanbul and Ankara. An interminable critic of institutional practice, when Kortun stepped down from this role earlier in 2017, he presented the paper Questions on Institutions at his farewell party.

Kortun’s talk explores institutional time frames, non-capitalist museum conditions, zombie institutions and survivalist expansions. Mid-way through the text he states: “The average lifespan of a private company is less than a century, something like 75 years, but public time is supposed or expected to be more or less infinite. The museum is a three centuries old operation making it older than most countries, economic or political systems. It has however veered away from its legacy to align with others, namely the theme park and the industrial fair.”

On October 1, Kortun is invited by MOCA to give the first presentation of Questions on Institutions in English at the University of Toronto. His initially “depressing picture” will be followed by proposals, ways out of stagnation, that could open the institution to a whole lot of different things, to different forms of assessment, different alliances and convivialities. This paper marks the beginning of Kortun’s writing on the museum in our age.

Forthcoming speakers in this series include Kate Fowle, Chief Curator for the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow and Director-at-Large at Independent Curators International (ICI) in New York; and Alistair Hudson, Director of Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art.

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