“The Mental Comma Instead of the Full Stop” was the title of an editorial statement we issued as curators of the Shedhalle (2004–2009). Originally formulated by Johanna Lassenius, this metaphor accurately describes our curatorial approach, which involves exploring specific themes in the framework of long-term projects.
If cultural practice is to be devised for and communicated thorugh the context-based examination of particular sociopolitical issues, then curatorial practice must to a certain extent abandon the notion of the ‘exhibition space’ as a place where contemporary art is merely presented. It must, therefore, find or open up new avenues and locations for art. Artistic practices increasingly call upon art institutions to serve as sites of production, research, distribution and display, and thereby present the medium of the art exhibition in a performative manner. The expansion of the field of study into an interdisciplinary realm that encompasses not only cultural studies, feminist theory/practice, urbanism and social theory but also aesthetic and political practices, often provides the starting point for artistic projects. Cultural, artistic and scholarly practices that bear particular sociopolitical relevance thus become engaged in a meaningful dialogue. The dissemination and promotion of such practices requires us to establish and participate in ongoing discourse and long-term relationships with cultural producers and institutions, and these do not always progress along a linear path –which brings us back to the principle of “the mental comma instead of the full stop".
(Sønke Gau / Katharina Schlieben, 2006 - 2011)