Framed by the canonical, my narrative is told for me in four lines, in 17 words. Reduced to nothing more than Object, my story, my history, my life, is now made quantifiable, marketable, saleable. I can be attached to the spectacle of my time, to my race, to my role. As guardians of the contextual paradigm, the curator’s role is to convalesce the archives of knowledge in order to establish models of rhetoric, of dialogue, of exchange. What do these archives contain? What stories? Whose knowledge? The canonical, the neo-Greco-Roman, the Neoclassical-capitalist, the Imperial, the colonisers. When we are working with the racist material collected, fetishised, and translated into the monocular canon, how can the curator generate a horizontal place for phenomenal exchange? Merely changing the picture doesn’t change the frame.
Times are urgent, we need to look beyond the monocular, we need to create places now, to birth new legacy now. Tongueday will be a temporal moment to solidify transcultural perceptions and tastes. It will create a gustative repository, a generative entity, build from a cacophony of voices. Once established, the dialogical knowledge contained in the repository can be applied to future exhibition production, research and display. This co-produced bank of polycultural aesthetic interpretations and tastes will present future gatekeepers with an expended knowledge base: a knowledge base in the commons, filled with subjective beauty, countering the canonological object taste.
Tongueday objectives: Through visitor interaction and engagement a number of polycultural repositories will be created.. These gluttonous repositories will be fed through multiple access points, scattered throughout the exhibition. Simple processes encourage responses and reflections to be fed into the repositories. The generative archive of transcultural experience and perceptions, established post tongueday, can be used to dissolve the narrow frame; opening the space for horizontal exchange.
Tongueday intervention proposal: Remove the canonical fodder: all wall texts, quantitative interpretive handouts and binary artwork labels from the exhibition environment. Replace this fodder with subjective, human, descriptions, directions and interpretations: “This painting, by XXX, shows a peach blob being hugged by a two-tone brown blob. It was painted in XXX when XXX was living in XXX.” Compile books, and an online guide, that consists of all this subjective material. These books will be placed throughout the exhibition environment. Initially, each work in the exhibition will have its own double page spread in these books. One-page will provide visitors with the subjective description of the work displayed, and next to this will be a blank page. Visitors will be encouraged to write their own thoughts, experience and aesthetic readings to this blank page. If the blank page becomes filled with visitor’s thoughts third and fourth pages will be added to the book (these will be blank) providing more room for participation. Additionally, a graphic QR code will be placed alongside each work in the exhibition. Visitors will be encouraged to scan this code with their smartphone or tablet. Once scanned they will be able to access the digital guide and taken to the page in this open online resource that correlates to the artwork they have just scanned. Once on this online page, visitors will be able to type in and save for all to see their own thoughts, experience and aesthetic readings of the work. Hourly, all the online interpretations will be printed off and added to the physical books in the exhibition environment (making sure that all interpretations align to the correct artwork). Likewise, the writing in the physical books will be typed up and added to the online guide hourly. All records can be left anonymously. And each visitor will be encouraged to express their interpretation in the language / form they feel the most at ease with. Thus creating a level polycultural discussion within the books (physical and online). Once Tongueday is over it is expected that each work will have a range of transcultural responses from visitors. These responses will all be compiled and given to the work (under the care of its current legal owner) as an aesthetic archive that can be used in the future, for research or display purposes, providing highly dialogical material that can be used to shape a new frame of reference.