Curation as Writing/Exhibition as Book – Part II: Melissa Ratliff

Following the educational turn, Part II of the session asked how departures from the book form can be identified – through textual online interventions, collaborative writing  exercises,  sculptural and performative workshops/installations, lectures, poetry readings, audio essays, and so on. Melissa Ratliff, in her presentation Breathing Books in, Breathing Books Out began by noting that the art world produces so much more than art, that its ‘crumbling and soft’ edges overlap with ongoing interest in poetry and literature. Ratliff’s project The Bureau of Writing, realised as part of her role at the Biennale of Sydney, focussed on these underrepresented aspects of art practice, positing ‘writing as a way to be with others.’

In concurrence with many of the previously presented examples The Bureau challenged masculine and heteronormative structures, seeing writing as a performance or practice rather than a means to an authoritative final text. It explored in-between spaces, alternative forms of textural delivery and flexible formats. Ratliff concluded that if the medium is dispersed with, activity remains.

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