Join us for a rich conversation between artist Gala Porras-Kim and Mariana Fernández, writer, curator, and author of “A Museum for the Afterlife,” published in the fall issue of X-TRA Contemporary Art Journal, Volume 24, Number 2. In her essay, Fernández looks closely at Porras-Kim’s practice of challenging museological norms of preservation and presentation of repatriated objects, divorced from their context, stripped of their history. How might a museum honor the rituals intended for these objects, and allow for their natural decay and ephemerality? What repair is possible once life’s cycles have been disrupted, and the sanctity of burial, interrupted? Porras-Kim and Fernández will discuss the responsibility of care museums have to those who have passed, and expand their discussion into the politics of taxonomy and categorization. Perhaps, in understanding the choices of labeling a museum makes, choices that construct a history, there are rich possibilities for rewriting our understanding and experience of the past.
The discussion will be moderated by Nora N. Khan, Executive Director of Project X Foundation, publisher of X-TRA.
Mariana Fernández is a writer and curator based in New York. She has held curatorial positions at Performa, the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC), and the Clark Art Institute. Her writing and criticism appear in publications such as frieze, X-TRA, BOMB, and The Brooklyn Rail.
Gala Porras-Kim lives and works in Los Angeles. Her work is about the social and political contexts that influence how intangible things, such as sounds, language, and history, have been framed through the fields of linguistics, history, and conservation. The work considers the way institutions shape inherited codes and forms, and conversely, how objects can shape the contexts in which they are placed. She has had solo exhibitions at Kadist, Amant Foundation, Gasworks, London, and CAMSTL, and upcoming in 2023 at MUAC, CAAC, and the Fowler. Her work has been included in the Whitney Biennial and Ural Industrial Biennial (2019), and Gwangju and Sao Paulo Biennales (2021). She was a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University (2019) and the artist-in-residence at the Getty Research Institute (2020-22), She is currently a fellow at Museo delle Civiltà in Rome.