Maria Lind: I believe that art is a form of understanding, and it’s a form of understanding on par with philosophy, science, religion, politics, but it’s also different from all this because it can contain all of the others, it can hold the rest, so to speak, in a way that no other form of understanding can do. Which means, that it seems as if contemporary art is specifically fit to deal with the contemporary situation in all its complexities, because it can absorb and rework everything else. This also means that artists remain the individual within society that often are the first to detect patterns, to feel phenomena, to understand connections between things, and they where also very early to point out that education is at the core of society, but something that it’s being changed, and I would say threatened, and problematic sides of it are enhanced more and more, so I’m not sure if older models are perfect models for education, but I do know that the commodification of education that goes on it’s absolutely horrible and one of the biggest threats to culture and maybe humanity at large. And I’m interested in thinking about how museums and other art institutions can have some sort of function in terms of education, but I would rather start small scale, I would rather begin with thinking about smaller initiatives, ideas within a larger structure and see how they can develop and change and so on. But to have the aspect of knowledge production as one component among several within any program of contemporary art is for me very relevant.
I’ve lately been alerted to the kind of spectatorship model that the constructivists developed in the 20’s, which is an idea of a display which is not predicated in the individual viewer, who is only using his or her vision, but who is having an embodied experience and where this experience is shared, so there is some collective element to it. And further more that within this collectivist, within this constructivist spectatorship model, the experience is dynamic meaning that when you move into space, what you see and what you experience, how you can engage with the works changes as you move around. Of course you can be critical against things being dynamic, because that’s also a selling point in contemporary culture, but I think there’s something to be said about how they wanted to use it, like Rodchenko and Stepanova, and others in the 20’s, El Lissitzky not least. This is in contrast to the kind spectatorship models that existed prior to the 20’s, but also after the 20’s, and the kind of spectatorship model that is dominant today, which is based on the individual and not like in the XIX century where the purpose for many art museums was to educate the citizen through the display. The way work was selected, displayed in terms of lighting, wall color, trajectory within the institution etc, all was geared towards educating the citizen. In the 20th Century after the second World War, that was a little bit before the WWII, with MoMA and Alfred Barr was the educated consumer, but today I don’t even think is the educated consumer that is the ideal visitor, or what the institutions consciously or unconsciously want to produce, but it is the entertained consumer, and this is something that I’m not interested in.