The Garage Journal: Studies in Art, Museums & Culture and Garage Museum of Contemporary Art have published a reader on the topic of inclusion. The editor of the book is Dmitry Bezuglov, a translator, journalist, and the curator of the public program of the Ural Industrial Biennale of Contemporary Art. In his introductory essay, Bezuglov writes: ‘This reader connects the debates about inclusion with contemporary culture. <….> Following the authors of The Garage Journal’s Issue 01, I am turning to the image of the museum; to those who work there; to those who visit it; to the mobile identity of the institution and the multitude of elements that make up the museum.’
The book is based on Jacques Derrida’s concept of hospitality interpreted by Bezuglov as ‘a feeling of home, but built with statements instead of walls.’ Starting with the observation that hospitality and inclusion are closely related (though not synonymous), Bezuglov notes that ‘“hospitality” allows us to talk about different ways of noticing and welcoming others. Addressing the audience, it helps to distinguish between various groups of visitors (united by age, ethnicity, interests, the amount of free time, and so on), and to address them without generating informational noise, that is, messages that a specific group cannot discern. Addressing the museum, the word “hospitality” calls for reflection on the institution as such and the elements that make it up.’
The book is divided into four sections. The first one introduces the structure of the museum and its ideas about itself, offering an answer to the question of how visitors understand the museum and what methods to adjust their perception can be used. The second section examines different interpretations of inclusion that exist in contemporary society and museum design. The third one is devoted to the perception of ethnicity: the problematic nature of exoticizing descriptions, the difficulties of legitimizing self-descriptions in the museum space, and other aspects of this dimension of inclusion. Finally, the fourth section consists of texts introducing interpretations of physical and mental disabilities ‘outside the lattice of normalizing concepts.’
This is The Garage Journal's first reader, with others to follow. Why did the editors choose this particular format? In today’s world, where the legitimacy of metatheories is constantly being revised and where more and more individual voices and stories are being heard, the reader format offers a lot of potential to research practice. With immense growth of information flows and the need to navigate them, this format allows one to present texts reflecting on a particular topic in different modes and languages: academic, journalistic, literary, artistic, visual, and others—all under one and the same book cover. These modes complement each other, and at the same time they do not coincide with each other at all, showing the complexity and multidimensionality of discussions on the chosen topic. In the case of the first reader, it is a conversation about inclusion.
Photos by Fedor Kandinsky, 2021 (courtesy of Garage Museum of Contemporary Art)