Thuistezien 195 — 04.03.2021

Jack Segbars
Author, Platform and Spectator

In the exhibition ‘Author, Platform and Spectator’ Jack Segbars showed an installation on a video interview project made as part of his PhDArts Research. It is a research on the interplay between author, platform and spectator when presenting art, and what the role of theory is in this regard. The critical function that art institutes do or do not embody is examined through critical theory, to subsequently examine the implications on economics, policy and politics. As such, institutes have a twofold function to carry out. According to Segbars, this twofold function is not emphasised clearly enough in the knowledge-based economy that we find ourselves in. Indeed, he can be called an ‘academic-artist’ — there is an artistic component to the exhibition, next to an academic character.

He gathered case studies across different platforms with different perspectives on the relationship between theory, curatorship and artistry. In the videos it becomes clear how the interviewees manoeuvre the interaction of these elements and how they interact with the artists. Segbars aim is to offer an overview of possible ways to relate to the concept of authorship and knowledge production. With some, the distinctions between the elements are less clear and are more intertwined, where it is left open where authorship lies regarding the art. With others, distinctions are more significant and treated accordingly. And then there are some that use theory as the basis for making art at all, as a direct involvement with and drive of the art project (‘Benjamin in Palestine Conference’, Sami Khatib).

The exhibition is a composition on the institutional representation of art, out of which it inevitably acquires political connotations. Segbars personal attribute lies in his strive to highlight how curators and platforms give direction to the art process, but he refrains from expressing if it should be to a lesser or bigger extent. Rather, he wants to offer an insight into the backside of the art business. His academic research is based on the premise that we live in an economy where the transference of knowledge/information, especially given media technology, has taken centre stage. The task is to uncover how this functions exactly; how technology is organised and by whom, and which inclinations it appeals to (whether it facilitates subjective experience, or rather exploits some kind of individualism). Ideally, Segbars would propose a re-socialisation of technology as a plea for slowness and inertia. The way we relate to the author, platform and spectator represents a kind of thermometer for the human condition, but also indicates how society then should be organised. The exhibition contains important background theory for thinking about the cultural sector, the art world and knowledge production in general. Actually creativity is just a mirroring of, and a prescription for, policy.

Jack Segbars is a visual artist, curator and writer. He is a co-founder of Platform BK, a research platform that is committed to better art policies.

Participants Author, Platform and Spectator: Maziar Afrassiabi, Mohammad Salemy, Charles Esche, Rachel O’Reilliy, Armen Avanessian, Lietje Bauwens en Sami Khatib

Text: Yael Keijzer

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