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João Paulo Serafim (Paris, 1974) is graduated in Photography and Fine Arts at Ar.Co, where he teaches at since 1998. In 2005 he participated in the Photography Course of the Gulbenkian Creativity and Artistic Creation program, and in 2008 he attended the Art History course at Universidade Nova de Lisboa. In 2005 he was the winner of the 3rd Purification Garcia Award. Since 2005 he has been developing the project MIIAC - Improbable Image and Contemporary Art Museum, a fictional museum based on an iconographic research of a personal collection, built along the career of the artist. MIIAC, composed of photographs of diverse origins and typologies, as well as extensive bibliography, materializes itself virtually or through exhibitions in different spaces, combining personal and collective memories. This research also extends to museum functions, focusing on backstage areas such as archives and libraries, reflecting on the ways of organizing, processing and qualifying visual information. He has collaborated since 2004 in various theatrical and choreographic projects.
WALKING AROUND THE MUSEUM(‘S NAME)
Let’s start about halfway: By “image” itself. MIIAC it’s an image museum. But it goes beyond being a museum of images, it is rather a machine designed to think about the image – since it’s root: What’s an image, what’s its use (for us), how does that thing we name “image” works? This question defines a contaminated territory, where one does not find, just ,”art”, may it share or not our time, but everything that stays outside the label that “art” defines, at first , even though it might eventually get there, upon arrival. Artistic images, and non artistic images, signed or anonymous, personal or institutional, private or public… Diverse provenances, supports, media, genres, times. Images of people, images of objects, images of images. What do images do to objects – and what do objects do to images? The image of the 20th century was photographic – That of the beginning of the 21st century is digital. Photography of the 21st century is digital; as well as the means for archiving, keeping, and restoring it. Museum’s tasks – what does photography do to the museum? And the Museum to photography? We’re back to the name’s beginning: Improbable Museum. In the attribute lies the heroic, and globalizing utopia of Malraux’s “Imaginary Museum” and it’s ”topical reverse”, because with a place, the proper place for objects before their appropriation by images and by museums, “reverse” to which Georges Duthuit could only think of an “unimaginable” referent. Place. Non-place Even tough imaginary, or improbable, what does the museum do to what it receives? Doesn’t the museum as well as the photographs that populate Malraux’s imaginary museological space, have the obsession to turn everything into images? Be it just because it transforms whatever it receives, into just, visual, realities? You can look but not touch, not even look from a very short distance: “please don’t go past the red line”. If Duchamp’s readymade transforms everything potentially into art and photography turns any object into its own image, the museum turns into image and into art – or, at least, into an exceptional piece that won it’s place among the muses. And we arrive at the end of the name: “art”, the one that shares its time with us – contemporary art. MIIAC is a machine, which works the image, art and time. Every image has time – many different times: From the time when the object was equal to it’s image, until the time it takes to look at the image. What does a museum’s space do to time? And, what do images do to space(s)?Let’s start about halfway: By “image” itself. MIIAC it’s an image museum. But it goes beyond being a museum of images, it is rather a machine designed to think about the image – since it’s root: What’s an image, what’s its use (for us), how does that thing we name “image” works?