Exhibition Library/Invitation letter

From Monoskop
Jump to: navigation, search
Invitation to contribute to Monoskop Exhibition Library at Seoul Mediacity Biennale 2018

Dear friends and collaborators,

Monoskop has been invited to create a work for the upcoming 10th edition of Seoul Mediacity Biennale. The biennial is shifting its focus to become more public-oriented event and we are happy to be part of this.[1] As a loose follow-up to the earlier initiative Ideographies of Knowledge,[2] we decided to involve friends and collaborators of Monoskop and invite one hundred people and collectives to help us create an installation-exhibition.

The new work is set to explore the notion and medium of art catalogue. You are kindly invited to present a collection of arranged situated artefacts in the form of a catalogue of imaginary exhibition.

The catalogue has been long recognized as indispensable companion to an exhibition. From early ones such as David Teniers’ Theatrum Pictorium and Lambert Krahe’s catalogue of Düsseldorf Gallery, through modern scholarly catalogues such as Alfred Barr’s Cubism and Modern Art, to today’s online exhibition companions, catalogues carry exhibitions through time and space, figuring as tropes for reimagining arrangements and the course of works and settings they describe. They range from simple inventories, through multimedia databases to scholarly catalogues, where besides visual documentation, writers reflect upon and argue about the art in question.

Because of their descriptive and referential nature, we may think of catalogues as secondary to exhibitions, even though there are examples of when they come first. For example, in the tradition of using documentation as artistic device,[3] Seth Siegelaub organised several catalogue-exhibitions such as July, August, September 1969.[4] Another example is An Anti-Catalog created by the Artists Meeting for Cultural Change to protest the Whitney Museum’s highly problematic bicentennial exhibition in 1977.[5] The catalogue is set to outlive an exhibition, this is how the exhibition gets published. Nonetheless, we feel that the imaginative power of the medium of catalogue has much more to offer.

For this work, we are inviting artists, designers, curators, poets and researchers to explore the catalogue as an artistic medium. We are asking you to contribute something quite peculiar, a catalogue of yet unrealised, imaginary, potential, or impossible exhibition. Catalogues often follow the conventions of a bound volume of printed paper or a website, while their other non-traditional, abstract, three-dimensional, fragmented and unstable forms remain unexplored. As publications, they are also often wordy and linear, while we may think of them more generally as forms invoking arranged and situated collections of objects.

Contributed works will be brought together as a collection of imaginary exhibitions. The installation will be available to visitors, designed as a platform for gatherings and workshops during the biennale. Imagine someone staging an actual exhibition by "reverse engineering" your catalog!

We would like to invite you to imagine an exhibition and catalog it. The form of the catalogue is not restricted, nor are the things and works in it, nor the way you choose to represent them. You are free to include images, captions, introductions, samples of objects, media, etc. The bottom ground for a catalogue is but a few things: title, names of objects, author, and date. As an artefact, it may as well take the form of a handwritten note, a video, a PDF of composite pages, an artist’s book, a model, a quilt, an audio recording, a dataset, a software, and so on. Every catalogue will represent an imaginary exhibition. Besides unfolding the idea of exhibition catalogue, questions we are asking more broadly is what and how is it exhibitable together, how to represent it and surely there are more. Please do feel encouraged to involve others in making this happen.

The biennale exhibition opens on 5 September 2018 and we would like to collect contributions by 25 August. If your project is too ambitious to be realised in time, please hang on, there might be an opportunity in the future! We will be happy to accept your contributions by e-mail or post. We will be able to assist a number of participants with shipping costs. The address:

xl at monoskop dot org


Minkyung Kim, Coordinator
Seoul Mediacity Biennale Office, B1
Seoul Museum of Art
61 Deoksugung-gil, Jung-gu
Korea 04515

Your work will be credited and your name included with the installation. Visitors will be able to interact with it and even though there will be invigilators in the museum, we can't guarantee the condition of all catalogues will be 100% preserved.

All contributions will be documented in an online edition of the work. We are planning to invite several contributors based in Korea to events during the biennial and hope to engage more participants in future iterations.

Holiday motives are welcome as well. In addition, the biennial theme is "good life".

We are happy to discuss your participation!


Dušan Barok, on behalf of Monoskop
Lim Kyung Yong, on behalf of Seoul Mediacity Biennale & The Book Society

7 July 2018


  1. https://www.e-flux.com/announcements/170381/seoul-mediacity-biennale-2018/
  2. https://monoskop.org/Ideographies_of_Knowledge
  3. The tradition of using documentation as artistic device includes for example documentary photography (Neues Sehen, American Documentary Photography, Düsseldorf School of Photography, New Topographics), object and installation (Institutional Critique, Archival Art, artists' museums such as Marcel Duchamp's La Boîte-en-Valise and Marcel Broodthaers' Department of Eagles), conceptual art, video art, and film installation (Chris Marker, Harun Farocki, Hito Steyerl).
  4. https://monoskop.org/Seth_Siegelaub
  5. https://monoskop.org/log/?p=9848