How can the critique of the museum have consequences in the museum? Institutions for a different future


© eSeL

/ecm Conference
On the occasion of the 20 year anniversary of the /ecm Master Program in Exhibition Theory and Practice at the University of Applied Arts Vienna

Thursday, May 5, 2022, 10am–6.30pm
University of Applied Arts Vienna, Auditorium
Vordere Zollamtsstraße 7, 1030 Vienna

The museum is dead. Long live the museum. This, or something similar, could be the brief summary of numerous conferences, debates, and publications in the field of curating and museum studies over the past 20 years. The critique of the museum has been widely discussed. We have heard a lot about crisis and departure, we have heard about “tired museums” and the “end of the museum”, only to debate in that same breath untapped possibilities for thinking about the museum in new and different ways–as a space of assembly and as a contact zone, as a place of criticism, polyphony, and negotiation. Something seems to be on the move, and so it is not surprising that talk of the “museum of the future” is booming. Claims of diversification, digitalization, and democratization have become ubiquitous, while at the same time institutions are more than ever focused on privatization, economization, competition, and precarization. How can we as critical curators and museologists think and act within these contradictions? And how can critical theory become critical practice?



Arrival and registration

Welcome and opening by Gerald Bast (Dean, University of Applied Arts Vienna)
How can critical theory become critical practice?
Introduction by Nora Sternfeld (Professor, HFBK Hamburg, co-director /ecm)
moderated by Beatrice Jaschke (Museum advisor, purpurkultur, co-director /ecm)

Panel 1
Lynhan Balatbat-Helbock (Curator, Researcher, Savvy Contemporary, Berlin)
Charles Esche (Director, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven)
moderated by Monika Sommer (Director, House of Austrian History, co-director /ecm)

Panel 2
Matthias Beitl (Director, Austrian Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art, Vienna)
Maria Hlavajova (Director, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht)
Andreja Hribernik (Director, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Koroška – KGLU, designated director Kunsthaus Graz)
moderated by Luisa Ziaja (Curator, Belvedere Vienna, co-director /ecm)

Lunch Break

Workshops in six different groups led by
Lynhan Balatbat-Helbock (accompanied by Nora Sternfeld)
sometime, somewhere, something wicked this way come – on unframing the standards that hold objects captive
Matthias Beitl (accompanied by Christine Haupt-Stummer)
Never Arriving
Charles Esche (accompanied by Monika Sommer)
The Demodernizing Possibility
Maria Hlavajova (accompanied by Beatrice Jaschke)
Instituting Otherwise
Andreja Hribernik (accompanied by Luisa Ziaja)
Museums are restless

Concluding Assembly
moderated by Martina Griesser-Stermscheg (Head of the Research Institute at the Vienna Museum of Science and Technology, co-director /ecm), Christine Haupt-Stummer (Part of Curators’ Collective section.a, co-director /ecm) and Nora Sternfeld

Graphic recording by Aldo Giannotti (Artist, Vienna) and Carlos Toledo (Artist, Graphic designer, Vienna)