Aura in the post-digital: a diffraction of the curatorial archive

GRIFFIN, Jeanine (2022). Aura in the post-digital: a diffraction of the curatorial archive. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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study questions the role of aura, authenticity and the artefact in exhibitions in the postdigital context and aims to explore this subject by a diffraction of curatorial strategies from the past. The research explores how curation can influence our understanding of the auratic in the post-digital by using methodologies of anamnesis (a ‘working through’ of elements from the curatorial archive) and diffraction (Haraway/ Barad) to rework curatorial strategies from a past exhibition. The research takes as starting point ‘Les Immatériaux’, curated by Thierry Chaput and Jean- François Lyotard at the Pompidou Centre in 1985. This exhibition was, in part, a curatorial exploration of the relationship between the artefact and its technological reproduction (Benjamin’s auratic object and Steyerl’s ‘poor image’). The aim is to explore whether an anamnesis and diffraction of strategies from this exhibition might offer insight into contemporary notions of the relationship between aura and the artwork in the post-digital, by putting them in conjunction, superimposed and diffracted through one another. This involves curating ‘diffraction apparatuses’ which revisited and reworked curatorial strategies from ‘Les Immatériaux’, including three iterations of a physical exhibition, an online glossary and a virtual reality walk-round of the exhibition. The research investigates the affordances of a diffractive curatorial frame, rather than an interpretative one and theorises a diffractive curatorial approach through practice. It adds to curatorial discourse which has not significantly engaged with diffraction as a practice-based methodology. The study offers insights into the impact of technology (accelerated by a global pandemic) on curatorial thinking and notions of the auratic now. It also explores how the now prevalent virtual reality walk-throughs of exhibitions affect our experience of aura and the production of ‘exhibitionary knowledge’. By drawing together Benjamin’s later conception of aura and Barad’s diffractive approach, ultimately it makes a claim for aura as intra-action and the exhibition as an auratic medium, in its performative superposition of artworks and subjects.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Mccarthy, Penny [0000-0002-0524-9169]
Thesis advisor - Ling, Yuen Fong
Thesis advisor - Atherton, Michelle [0000-0002-5533-9269]
Additional Information: Director of studies: Penny McCarthy / Supervisors: Michelle Atherton and Dr. Yuen Fong Ling
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2022 15:56
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2023 15:18

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