Scholar

No Wind, No Word

By: Elham Puriya Mehr  

As publics are both ingredients and observers of art, diverse communities can be accepted as carriers of information, bearers of identity, and holders of opinion. No Wind, No Word targets the conditions that cause art institutions to categorize audiences from diverse cultures, and elaborates on the consequences of this action in a multicultural city. The purpose of this study is to provoke reflection and open the discourse of classification and separation of audiences who participate in art institutions’ activities. To open this discourse, reverse questions are propounded like how to categorize people from diverse cultures as audiences in an art institution? And why audiences from diverse cultures shouldn’t go to art institutions? My research shows that sustainability of desire to exhibiting arts/cultures in different boxes such as Asian, Latin American, Middle Eastern, African can be one of the factors that defines the cultural categories of audiences. Putting these social bodies in different boxes draws attention to the specificity of the audiences of the exhibitions, emphasizes the separation between cultural communities, and challenges the concept of publics. Another factor is the number and curatorial approach of exhibitions in related to immigrant artists. Centralizing Western curatorial approaches can create conditions that encourage particular audiences to observe the exhibition. The result of this research is presented in the form of a curatorial project in Polygon Gallery (May 2020), Vancouver and my paper is the presentation of this project and the results of my research.

Diversity, Audiences, Art Institutions, Publics
2020 Special Focus - Against the Grain: Arts and the Crisis of Democracy
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session



Elham Puriya Mehr

Sessional faculty, Culture and Community, Emily Carr University


Elham Puriya Mehris an independent artist, curator, and lecturer based in Vancouver, BC. She received her BA and MA from the Tehran University of Art, and her Ph.D. in art research (Cultural Discourse of Curating in Contemporary Art of Iran) from Alzahra University in Tehran. Her researches focus on curatorial knowledge in social contexts. She has worked as a university teacher, curator and writer over the past fifteen years in West Asia and Europe, and lectured in international conferences, symposiums and talks in Tehran, Singapore, Amsterdam and Vienna.