The Mobilized Spectator

Some Speculations on the Architectural History of Museum Scripting and Staging

Published in: Maren Butte, Kirsten Maar, Fiona McGovern, Marie-France Rafael, Jörn Schafaff (eds.): "Assign & Arrange. Methodologies of Presentation in Art and Dance", Berlin, Sternberg Press, 2014


The critical reflection of the subjectivity of the spectator or beholder in relation to the architecture and ideologies of the exhibition space only entered the discourse in the second half of the 20th century, long after the most basic codes of behavior in museum spaces were established. In this essay, I will discuss the mutations of hegemonic models of exhibition space and follow the historical transformations and ruptures from the emergence of the museum as a core institution of ninteenth century modernity up to the contemporary situation. I will argue that at the beginning of the twenty-first century exhibition space can most appropriately be discussed in relation to the mechanisms of the "project-based polis", a concept developed by sociologists Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello. In the course of my argument I will address some key buildings and architectural types that are crucial for an understanding of this development. Far from delivering a comprehensive and linear history this essay will consist of selected fragments, which might nevertheless indicate paradigm shifts in the triangle between space, artwork, and spectator.



Find more information on the book Assign & Arrange here.