The Museum of Non Participation is a fictional museum by London-based artists Karen Mirza and Brad Butler. For the duo, the term “non participation” is a useful device for questioning and challenging current conditions of political involvement and resistance. How does one participate in or withdraw from political realities, individually and collectively? What social spaces support or deter such actions? And how can art represent, facilitate, or intervene in this process? Made up of film, sound, text, and performed actions, The Museum of Non Participation serves as the conceptual platform from which to address these questions.
For the US debut of this ongoing project, Mirza and Butler transform the Walker’s Medtronic Gallery into a multilayered installation and evolving social space that interrogates the shifting allegiances, contracts, and “new deals” between nation states and their citizens. A selection of video works highlights the precarious nature of this relationship as witnessed through significant geopolitical events, from the Lawyers Movement protests in Pakistan to the Arab Spring and widespread austerity rallies in Europe.
Incorporated as a central feature of the exhibition, a live production set serves as the backdrop for the artists and members of the Twin Cites community to workshop, rehearse, and stage one of Bertolt Brecht’s short “learning plays”—The Exception and the Rule, a tale of corruption, exploitation, and injustice.
A program of informal public conversations and commissioned texts for the Walker’s website further animate the exhibition.