Questions as Strategy
Questions As Strategy is a research, archiving and curatorial project on the act of questioning, initiated by three individuals coming from three art institutions, based in three different socio-cultural contexts and political environments.
Questions have a special status in our conventions around language. As a sign of transparency as well as egalitarian access to education, societies want to pride themselves with an openness towards them. Proverbs such as “ There are no stupid questions.” or “Man wird ja wohl noch Fragen dürfen!” are just some examples of how, as a tool for better understanding, asking questions is supposedly always available to anyone no matter who they are and where they are from. Yet, questions are a tricky form of language which keep making people uncomfortable on both sides of the stake. A question may denounce the mindset and attitude of the inquirer and it can show the recipient’s competence and trustworthiness – or lack thereof.
Accompanied by its status as something innocent, a question can be a powerful tool if used skilfully. It can cut directly to the bone of a seemingly complicated problem or – on a completely different note – subtly influence the receiver’s line of thought. It may serve as a vehicle for plain curiosity – trying to find the shape of an unknown – or criticism, like a wolf in sheep’s disguise. Simply asking a question can be an act of resistance, allowing for conflicts and discrepancies, hypocrisies and inconvenient truths to emerge from under the rug or layers of whitewashing. The best questions do all of the above but at the same time come from what we believe questions really begin with; honest curiosity and concern.
With Questions As Strategy we locate our interest in exploring the act of questioning. Investigating forms of asking and phrasing questions as well as the many ways in which a question can serve as a tool – or a weapon – has become a necessity to this undertaking.
Ilona Stutz , Oshin Thakkar and Leonardo Guerra