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Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design

Elena Damiani, El futuro del libro, 2011, video installation. Courtesy of the artist


Reading Complex


Reading Complex is a curatorial research project initiated by curators Niekolaas Johannes Lekkerkerk and Catherine Y. Serrano, supported by the MA Course Curating the Contemporary at the London Metropolitan University, delivered in conjunction with the Whitechapel Gallery and the Government Art Collection.

Reading Complex forms both the overarching title and leitmotiv for a research platform and a programme of exhibition projects which investigate the notion of reading. Through the introduction of a variety of conditions and configurations, the project intends to consider, show and engage with the ever-changing, but palpable nexus between viewer-reader and image-text.

Subject to continuous flux and transformation, this area of enquiry requires our constant evaluation and involvement. Reading Complex therefore acts as a conduit for modes of dialogue and exchange where experience and reflection can come together: focusing on the way we construct narratives and our consistent attempt to make a whole out of sometimes dislocated and unhinged fragments. The project thus challenges the idea that we as readers come prepared to make a narrative reading of any encounter. Strongly informed by ‘inconsistent’ narratives presented to us on a daily basis, we have developed specific expectations and anticipations that are redolent of narrative form. As a result, we have become more alert to fakery, montage, editing, scenario and staging: allocating the reader as the figure who authenticates the narrative by presenting him or herself as both narrator and eyewitness.

Through a shared and collective practice, we hope that Reading Complex enables us to constitute a ‘container of knowledge’, a ground of accumulation, as being something we actively produce through our various practices. As the boundaries between reality and fiction become increasingly difficult to discern, we feel the need to explore how these might come together beyond context and illustration. Seemingly simple, but disturbingly difficult to grasp,‘reading’ forms the leitmotiv for a project that seeks to critically explore these points of fragmentation while focusing on the less tangible forces and attitudes.


For more information, please contact us via reading.complex@gmail.com or visit www.reading-complex.tumblr.com

London Metropolitan University