Sliths in the monolith 

a reading group about institutional critique

Session #3 at the Hopscotch Reading Room winter space

A series of reading sessions co-organized with Mio Kojima, Mujgan Abdulzade, Neige Sanchez.

Museums, galleries, art schools, and other cultural institutions have been promoting “inclusion” and “diversity” with increasing vigor. But who does this apparent change actually benefit? When museums make so-called marginalized positions more visible but still lack support systems, when decolonization is included in the curriculum, but universities still promote Western ideologies, diversity and inclusion remain a shallow promise, while discriminatory structures are solidified and marginalized positions once again exploited.

In three sessions, we explored the friction between visibility and appropriation by reading and discussing together critical texts about art, cultural and design institutions. We examined how to shift an exploitative act of “looking at” into an intentional practice of “looking with and alongside one another” and ask how to articulate critical thinking within cultural institutions from counter-hegemonic perspectives.

We discussed extracts from:
—“Institutional Mechanics,” from Sara Ahmed’s book “What’s the Use? On the Uses of Use,” Duke University Press.
—“Existing in the World: Blackness at the Edge of Trans Visibility,”
Che Gossett and Juliana Huxtable in conversation in “Trap Door, Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility,” edited by Reina Gossett, Eric A. Stanley and Johanna Burton
—“A Project Doomed to Fail?” by Ahmed Ansari in “Design Struggles. Intersecting Histories, Pedagogies, and Perspectives,” edited by Claudia Mareis and Nina Paim

Session #2 at diffrakt