Gallery ed­u­ca­tion – per­for­mance – the dif­fer­end

The paper is based on an introductory talk given at the conference Perfoming the Museum as a Public Sphere at Kunstmuseum Lentos, Linz, in April 2008. It parts from Charles Garoian’s thesis that all people involved in a museum (from the director to the visitor) produce and invent the museum though their – performative – speech and actions, and that these processes are embedded into power relations. Gallery education can play a key role in the performative production of the museum as well as in the reflection on the conditions of that production – it can realize the museum as a place of the «differend» in Lyotard’s sense. This means to encourage the «rhizovocality» of participants as a manifestation of difference instead of turning it into a dialectical movement or trying to make the voices unambiguous. Connecting the concepts of performativity and the «differend» implies that it is not only possible to analyze and critize the institutional setting but also to change it through our own actions.

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