Throughout the conversations we had among curators and cultural workers during the 2021 Molior Symposium – Rethinking our Futures: Art and Collaboration, I observed that a majority of the discussions revolved around the place granted to care and love in curatorial practices, mainly in the digital world. It seemed clear to me that we were asking ourselves how to begin or continue traditions of empathy and gentleness between artists and curators. Without necessarily explicitly stating that, now more than ever, we need to change the ways we think about collaborations between artists and curators in art circles, spaces that are quite often embedded in white supremacy and capitalism, I sensed that these feelings were at the core of the participants’ reflections. This delighted me.
While the symposium focused on these questions about the future of digital art curatorship, I wondered instead: what if we focused on the moment(s) we spend together in each other’s presence? How can we describe the joy and excitement of getting together with a group of familiar faces or of meeting other curators who are part of our wider circle of art workers? And if this was simply all we were longing for in this milieu in crisis; a future of relationality that glows with irrevocable joy and love. This may sound utopian and simplistic, but these are essential rebellion tools to combat the productivity and sense of constant urgency that fuels the art world and particularly impacts BIPOC and 2SLGBTQIA+ communities. Taking care of yourself and others and bearing witness to the gestures of kindness that permeate arts projects allow us to reimagine our connections beyond the digital world. It is there that I see the future of our relationships. The COVID-19 pandemic already appears to be an event of the past for many arts institutions and organizations in what is called Canada. A sense of helplessness overwhelms me in the face of the lack of mourning and rest that I believe to be essential in this pandemic context. Nevertheless, the constellation of relationships started up during this symposium, fluctuating between reciprocity and sensitivity, fills me with great hope.