Perks uses her expertise in Cultural and Film Studies, including theories of adaptation (Hutcheon, 2006) and appropriation (Evans, 2009), to develop new knowledge in curatorial practice, expanding on work by Bourriaud (1998), O’Neill (2010; 2012) and from museum studies (Sandell, 2007; 2012). Perks contests the ‘canonisation’ (Aiken, 1986) of contemporary art through curation, by positioning her research project La Movida within theories of art and obscenity (Walker, 1998; Mey, 2006), capitalism and queer theory (Hennessy, 2000), and class and youth sub-cultures (Calluori, 1985).
The research is re-presented through an interdisciplinary, diverse selection of artists and writers across positions, timeframes and places, into a new multi-vocal form of exhibition in opposition to ‘auteur’ curation. Perks utilises her academic context to cross-fertilise developments in the emerging field of curatorial strategy, establishing new inclusive conventions for curatorial methodology. This research has transformed existing hierarchies of knowledge in curatorial theory and practice: Perks’ presentation of multiple transnational dialogues to audiences in a major city-centre arts centre, developed understanding of ‘decolonising’ the gallery and museum exhibition.
Her interdisciplinary research also creates new knowledge for its multiple fields of origin: new understanding of La Movida itself (History/Cultural/Spanish studies), and industry innovation, through Perks’ distinct method of commissioning and producing works for film festival distribution, expanding La Movida’s audiences and reach. Audience feedback revealed new knowledge around class, and comparisons with present day UK conservative values (censorship, rolling back of certain freedoms, issues around Brexit).
La Movida attracted 10,000 attendances to the exhibition, and press coverage included the Guardian Guide and Corridor 8. Perks co-edited a non-traditional publication, Dark Habits, which helped disseminate the research to a still wider audience. Through La Movida, Perks sets out a new international and interdisciplinary benchmark for relational curatorial strategy.