Vulnerable Processes. Vulnerable Processes. A Curatorial Reflection on the Museum in Transition.

A contribution by Prof. Dr. Doreen Mende

Director of the Research Department of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD) and Associate Professor of the Seminar for Curatorial Studies/Politics of the research-based Master of the CCC RP at HEAD Genève/Switzerland.

Impulse lecture within the framework of the symposium
Yesterday. Today! Tomorrow?
From the museum of late modernism, its history and its future, monument protection, the “third place” or climate box versus climate crisis.
Part II, September 1 + 2, 2023
What next? More and more is not enough. Best Practices in Dealing with Redevelopment, Expansion, Rededication in Reflection of the Third Place’s Expanded Museum Function.

With the capitalist modernity of the museum, in which the objecthood of art becomes a fetish, exhibiting and researching are treated as two separate processes: Often the exhibition shows the result of the research as a closed object as if there were no before or elsewhere. However, the practices of exhibiting and researching have always been closely interwoven building blocks of art. The lecture will attempt to dissolve the temporal and spatial separation between research and exhibition by means of current curatorial projects of cross-collections research at the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, in which artists as well as curators and researchers are involved. It is about a shift from the object to the process as knowledge: The museum becomes an archive as a hybrid.

On the left, an oblong, rectangular flyer in magenta, on the right one in yellow. In large black letters on the top of both is written: Stannaki Forum Art and Research in Conversation. Below that on the left it says: 05.04.23 Motif, FROMPO. On the right it says: 07.06.23 Mining, AQU.
Flyer for the Stannaki Forum events.

The Stannaki Forum is a format of cross-collection research at the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD), launched in 2022, that promotes the connection between art and research, as well as transdisciplinary dialogue. Across the collections, global processes are examined as diasporic knowledge histories in conversations between guests and SKD staff. The Stannaki Forum is named after the indigenous Tuski Stannaki, one of the few named people at the Saxon Court who reached Dresden via the transatlantic trade. Tuski Stannaki, along with Savase Oke Charnige, were enslaved from their indigenous Choctaw and Muscogee communities in North America by the British John Pight and eventually came to Dresden in 1722/23 via trading posts in London, Vienna and Breslau. The forum will help to recognize the importance of diasporic life in Dresden over several centuries and to appreciate it as a history that has not been completed.

“Museum research is, on the one hand, a practice of preserving historical knowledge as well as canonized historical narratives. On the other hand, it must be a place of breaking open, questioning, and visioning in order to be a practice of shaping both contemporary social debates and future narratives.” -Prof. Dr. Doreen Mende-

You can watch the recording of the entire talk here.

A white woman against a white background on which she casts a strong shadow. She wears an open light blue shirt and dark hair tied up.
Doreen Mende, Foto: Armin Linke

Curator and theorist who is currently Associate Professor of the curatorial/politics seminar of the CCC RP research-based Master at HEAD Genève/Switzerland.

Director of the Cross-Collections Research Department of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD)

She has held the directorship in Dresden since 2021 and has since initiated the Stannaki Forum on Diasporic Knowledge there and conceived the Transcultural Academy “Futurities” in 2023. Ongoing projects include the case-based academic research study “Decolonizing Socialism: Entangled Internationalism” (2019–24), funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. Based on this research, a new series of exhibitions, called “Sequences: Entangled Internationalisms”, is coming up in 2024 featuring invited curators-researchers and artists at the Albertinium of SKD. In 2022 she will realize “The Missed Seminar: After Eslanda Robeson in Conversation with Steve McQueen’s End Credits” at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin. She has published with e-flux journal, MIT Press, Oxford University Press, Jerusalem Quarterly, spector books, archive books, IBRAAZ, and Sternberg Press. She is a cofounder of the Harun Farocki Institut in Berlin.

Further blog posts related to the architecture symposium

The symposium is sponsored and supported by:

Black and white logo, the name of the institution flush left and the coat of arms of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia flush right.
Black and white logo, a black rectangle in which the name of the organization is written in capital letters.
Foundation logo, in green is written on the left in capital letters B & A with a circle around it. To the right is the foundation name written out in capital letters.


The advertising poster of the Architecture Symposium with writing in the bottom left corner: Part 2, September 1. + 2. .