Ines Marita Schärer: Reprospectiva: The Problem of the Gaze, or: How to Think an Exhibition That is Not

Advisor/tutor: Hypatia Vourloumis
Arnhem, February 2019


This thesis is propelled by the question of how to look at the (art) object. It proposes a new word “reprospectiva” and uses this neologism to critically examine the habit of seeing and perceiving, especially in conventional exhibition spaces. Concepts such as time, process, space, representation, reproduction, translation and reduction inform this new proposed term and are put into relation with it and examined in depth. The concept of the “habitual gaze” is also introduced, critically examined and dissected by way of different theories such Erin Manning’s “choreographic thinking” and Sara Ahmed’s “advice for disorientation” where different ways of seeing and perceiving are sought in order to overcome the “habitual gaze”.

Furthermore, the thesis prepares a theoretical groundwork for a conceptual artistic practice of the same name, a practice of (experimental) writing and performing. It strives to restructure the experience, the seeing of an (art) object, investigating methods of writing through–and with–an artwork in an attempt to simultaneously question and “liberate” the work from its state as a static commodified and representational object. This investigation is methodologically conveyed in the structuring of the thesis as an analysis of the relation between theory and the written (poetic) and spoken word and provides at the same time the impetus for further transformation and translation processes into other performative formats (for example into dance and movement or sound pieces). The performative practice of “reprospectiva” aims for the participation of the spectator in order to create an immediacy of experience and attention to the present moment. Through my research I ask how writing (and reading) might impact the way we perceive the (art) object, and look (at it). The thesis strives to formulate an artistic practice and a critical theoretical attitude/position through these investigations.