Elena Sorokina

On (Le Plus objets des objets)

 

for the Prize Sciences Po, Paris

2019

Revisiting various legacies and histories of institutional critique, the performance addresses museum’s generic codes of conduct and its standard disciplinary rules. Art institutions and their legitimizing function are certainly of concern here, as well as an intention to undermine the assumption that museums offer neutral viewing conditions: museums, as we know, are ideological constructs. Most importantly, however, performativity of the museum’s disciplinary apparatus is explored in this piece. The language of the guards and the movements of the spectators constitute an integral part of museums power-knowledge (Foucault) established through a relationship between saying and seeing.  

 

(Le Plus objets des objets) puts into center the experience of the viewer, physical, emotional and intellectual, while revealing the most controversy but totally common characteristics of an institution - being opaque (no reasons or explanations are given, “the institution has decided” ), being arbitrary (not treating people equally ), and playing on the hidden agenda. Thus, the project falls within the tradition of the institutional critique but questions more broadly the ambiguities between freedom and control. By deliberately creating to the viewer the feeling of physical sideration or being mentally stuck pushed toits utmost, in the end of the day, the whole situation operates as a means of personal liberation and encourages a critical distance and questioning the notion of a restriction and more generally all power structures.