Act III: Breaking the News – Dynamics of the Commentary in the Curatorial

20/06/2015 — 04/07/2015

Christina Kral, Breaking the News - Dynamics of the Commentary in the Curatorial, 2015

Breaking the News - Dynamics of the Commentary in the Curatorial, 2015, Photo: Emma Haugh

Breaking the News - Dynamics of the Commentary in the Curatorial, 2015, Photo: Emma Haugh

Breaking the News - Dynamics of the Commentary in the Curatorial, 2015, Photo: Emma Haugh

Breaking the News - Dynamics of the Commentary in the Curatorial, 2015, Photo: Emma Haugh

Breaking the News - Dynamics of the Commentary in the Curatorial, 2015, Photo: Emma Haugh

Breaking the News - Dynamics of the Commentary in the Curatorial, 2015, Photo: Emma Haugh

Breaking the News - Dynamics of the Commentary in the Curatorial, 2015, Photo: Emma Haugh

Curatorial Practices. Fields and Techniques III

Curated by Michaela Richter, in collaboration with Christina Kral


Commentary clarifies, validates, and argues from a subjective position. As an instrument of opinion-making it serves to question existing discourses on truth.  In this sense, it represents a form of political, social, and economic critic that reveals and problematizes power mechanisms by shifting perspectives and producing new relationships.

Breaking the News explores curatorial practices that present swift, concrete statements on pressing current political issues and discourses – an approach that can be characterized by the term “commentary” as it is journalistically defined.

Breaking the News focuses on commentary’s potential virulence (along with defining qualities like spontaneity, subversiveness, and directness) and explores the means through which thought patterns are able to be interrogated and discussions can be opened.  Mechanisms of knowledge production, legibility, multi-perspectivity, dialogue and strategies of cooperation should be considered according to their relevance for curatorial practices of intervention.

The following questions outline the investigative framework of Breaking the News: When is commentary used? Which conventions validate it? What kind of expectations do we assign to commentary and how do we react to it? What are the actual structural characteristics of commentary and how does this influence its reception? What kind of variegated relationship does a “fast response” show to precarity, responsibility, and information culture?

Through an interdisciplinary dialogue, curator Michaela Richter and artist Christina Kral have assembled different manifestations of commentary into an exhibition setting—research and questions that enable a convergence of its individual methods and a critical engagement with their possible strengths and necessary shortfalls.


On the occasion of the exhibition Breaking the News, the workshop deals with curatorial and artistic formats that create space for the discussion of social and political topics. Two questions will be extensively developed under the auspices of HOW DO YOU KNOW I AM REAL? 1. From which forms of participation do commentary formats originate and what kind of function therein does the observer take on—do they correspond or consume? 2. How are these approaches reflected not only in individual curatorial and artistic practices, but also in the every day labor of cultural works in institutional contexts?

During this one-day workshop we will explore the discussion of current political themes as elements of a personal practice and to what extent institutional infrastructures (deadlines, budgets, hierarchal interests, or self-organization) could accelerate, delay, or influence commentary on a particular situation.  Each participant is asked to bring an object, flyer, newspaper article or an idea in which a political or social event manifests that seems comment-worthy—independent of whether the subject has already been taken up in the news or not.
The first part of the workshop will consist of an exchange of interest in, desire for, and experience with commentary, textual work (the concepts of Chantal Mouffé, Lucy Lippard, und Michail Bachtin), and the analysis of historical as well as contemporary examples. The second half will be devoted to forms of networks, support and engagement as a departure point for possible models of collaboration that enable a critical contextualization of commentary.

Concept: Fiona Geuß and Michaela Richter

by Annette Maechtel & Michaela Richter

On the occassion of the finissage of the exhibition Breaking the News, curator Michaela Richter presents a talk with Annette Maechtel on questions of temporality regarding to spaces produced by art and curatorial projects in attempt to generate counter-publics.

Fiona Geuß is a Berlin-based art historian and doctoral candidate at the Art Historical Institute of the Freie Universität. She researches dialogical formats as an element of artistic practices since the 1970s. She is the co-founder of the initiative A Public Library in Berlin.

Christina Kral examines the transformative potential of everyday objects and routines in her work as an artist. Through experimental forms of communications, moderation, and cooperations she investigates formats of knowledge acquisition— and develops alternative, hybrid proposals that also seek, identify, and incorporate knowledge outside of recognized fields of knowledge. She lives and works in Berlin.

Annette Maechtel, lives and works in Berlin as an independent curator and lecturer; at the moment she is working on a dissertation about temporary spaces in the 90ties in Berlin reflecting her interest in projects re-interpretating the city.

Michaela Richter is a freelance art historian and curator. Her particular interests include questions of the political in art and exhibition making, aesthetic strategies that challenge knowledge and social structures, collaborative approaches in artistic and curatorial practice as well as transdisciplinary and critically engaged formats of curatorial work. Besides her curatorial, editorial and administrative work for many institutions and projects she has been participating in the Cultures of the Curatorial program at the Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig since 2013.

A project in the frame of the masters programme, Cultures of the Curatorial, which is a study program at HGB Leipzig, combining application-oriented research practice with academic reflection. It is oriented towards people with different disciplinary and professional backgrounds: in the arts—visual arts, dance, theater, film and music—as well as in cultural mediation, in the humanities, social and natural sciences.

Curatorial Practices: Fields and Techniques is a project series on current developments, problems and methods of the curatorial initiated by curators Suza Husse and Michaela Richter at District in 2014. Through the combination of curatorial gestures and specific workshop formats in the form of so-called Acts the series provides a platform for the reflection and reconsideration of curatorial approaches, attempts and attitudes in light of current developments. A long-term goal of these regular encounters and surveys in different formats is the lasting promotion of actual methods of artistic and cultural work that challenge established doctrines and policies by formulating extended, informal, speculative, experimental, dedicated, situated and critical points of views.