Interesting food for thought here... thanks
Marlena's question: Is there any way to organize a symposium without
choosing the participants? is an interesting one, because of course the
common-sensical answer is No.
However in an institutional context (which is where the majority of
symposiums take place) 'selection' of speakers is often not authored as
such. Sitting in the audience or up on the podium we can ofetn find no
easy answer to 'who invited me/him/her?', and therefore 'why are we
invited?'. Indeed, on the international symposium circuit the same
faces, positions and ideas come up again and again, much like artist's
lists at Biennale's. A close look and one starts to suspect a kind of
selection by search-by-theme approach, a default line-up...
So to change the question to
Is it possible to organise a symposium without considering the critical
responsibility tied to the choice of participants?
my answer is Yes, we see it all the time.
Whether substituting 'curate' for 'organise' in this altered question
would change the answer remains unclear. But for Dorothee and myself
the questions of who and why were very much in our minds as we
organised the symposium, and it was these logics of 'who we might be'
and 'why we might all be there' that we authored, and consequently