[-empyre-] curatorial re-colonization

Renate Ferro rtf9 at cornell.edu
Tue Apr 24 02:40:21 EST 2012

Dear Nate and Ellen,
We have had a pretty light response to this weeks discussion.  I will be
introducing our slate of guests for next week in my next email but I am
hoping that you both will continue to participate in our discussion.  There
seems to be a large distinction in the kind of curating you are both doing
and I am hoping that in the week to come we can flush out the tensions
between these two differing approaches.  Best to you. Renate

On Thu, Apr 19, 2012 at 11:59 AM, Timothy Conway Murray <tcm1 at cornell.edu>wrote:

>  Dear Nate and Ellen,
>  It's very cool that both of you have ended up being available the same
> week, as featured guests of -empyre-.  I am much more familiar with Ellen's
> important projects in Hong Kong, which have led the way for activist
> thinking about curating and new media exhibition throughout Asia.  In a way
> your projects couldn't be more dissimilar, with Ellen working very much on
> an international platform whose every day practices have potential
> consequences for public policy and global politics, and Nate seemingly
> working along more "local" parameters.
>  I was fortunate to be in Hong Kong at the time of Microwave this past
> November and left feeling very impressed by how Ellen integrates activist
> media installations (such as projects by eToy and numerous bioart
> activists) with exciting public programming that extend the boundaries of
> artwork and installation.  Now Ellen tells us how she was preoccupied last
> week by working to preserve the very nature of her liminal curatorial
> practice in the face of potential governmental incursion.  Truly
> inspirational.
>  This is where I'm interested in hearing from you both about the
> intersections of our curatorial practice.  Nate, it's obviously very
> important that you have sited your curatorial project on indigenous burial
> grounds that seem to have been sanctioned by Texas state authorities.  As I
> glean form the website of the Mother Neff State Park, this land seems to
> have been deeded to the State of Texas by a private family in 1916.  The
> site states that "In the 1930's, the Civilian Conservation Corps<http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/historic_sites/ccc/> (CCC)
> restored the park to its historical setting. An excavation in 1935
> unearthed three Indian graves and many artifacts. During prehistoric times
> this area was occupied by several groups of Indians, including some groups
> probably related to the Tonkawas."
>  What's interesting is that both you and Ellen are working on colonized
> territories.  Helen makes it fairly clear how the politics of colonization
> and re-colonization of Hong Kong are embedded in her practice. I would be
> interested in hearing more about that. And from Nate, I'm wondering how the
> politics of colonization and relocation figure into your curating and the
> work of the artists exhibiting in relation to what you call the "Apache
> Projects."   It could be particularly important to our listserv to hear
> more about this since -empyre- has many subscribers who no doubt would
> identify themselves as indigenous peoples rather than "prehistoric" ones. So
> I'm wondering how the park's own reference to "pre-history" figures in the
> Apache Project and, for the list at large, in curating per se.
>  Thanks for joining us, and looking forward to a very lively discussion
> about these extremely important matters.
>  Tim
>  Director, Society for the Humanities
> Curator, Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art
> Professor of Comparative Literature and English
> A. D. White House
> Cornell University
> Ithaca, New York. 14853
>   ------------------------------
> *From:* empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au [
> empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au] on behalf of ellen pau [
> ellenpau.hk at gmail.com]
> *Sent:* Thursday, April 19, 2012 4:42 AM
> *To:* soft_skinned_space
> *Subject:* Re: [-empyre-] Apache Projects
>  Hi Tim, Renate, Aram and Nate,
> Great to meet you all here.  Sorry that I can't make it last week because
> of a numbers of urgent civic actions. I will tell you more below.
> As Tim introduce me last week, I am working in Hong Kong mainly for
> Videoatge and Microwave new media festival <http://www.microwavefest.net>.
>  We are working on a number of projects, particularly on the upcoming
> version of  Wikitopia <http://videotage.org.hk/wikitopia/>, that is
> a biennial event about collaborative futures.  This year, beside the
> curated unconference, performance, workshops, we will have an exhibition
> that is developed like an open sources projects, such as soundcloud,
> uncloud and github.
> I am very happy to to join in the discussion about curating.  Curating in
> Asia or particularly in Hong Kong is a growing hot topic, the city has a
> number of significant projects / events over the last two years. For
> Example : The mega project (~US$ 3 Billion project) The West Kowloon
> Cultural District
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Kowloon_Cultural_District>; another
> multi-million venture HKART12- (Art Basel bought 60% of Hong Kong Art Fair<http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/08e746e4-77e5-11e0-ab46-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1sLTbLoTF>); the
> opening of Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre<http://cmc.scm.cityu.edu.hk/en/>where the highly respected Jeffrey Shaw is the dean of the School of
> Creative media of City University <http://www.cityu.edu.hk/>. Two years
> ago there was a small publication commissioned by Para/Site Art Space<http://www.para-site.org.hk/>,
> co-edited by Alvaro Rodriguez Fominaya
> <http://www.guggenheim.org/new-york/about/staff-profiles/curators/alvaro-rodriguez-fominaya>and
> Michael Lee, and published by Para/Site, Studio Bibliothèque<http://studiobibliotheque.blogspot.com/> and seed | projects :" Who Cares? is an anthology that compiles 16 essays
> on curating art in and of Asia. One of the themes addresses the politics of
> care, commonly understood as the basic role of curators, with regards to
> art and artists, across time and contexts. Another theme revolves around
> markers of success in the realm of contemporary curating. A third recurring
> theme deals with curating in the globalised art world of advanced travel
> and communication technologies. A fourth theme reconsiders the audience as
> active producers in a curated experience. Through a variety of perspectives
> and literary styles, these texts constitute primary notes towards
> ‘curatorial criticism,’ a subfield of art criticism that identifies the new
> in curating today."
>  I am more interested with the third and fourth themes. And that is
> probably accounts for my interest with Microwave New Media Festival and
> Wikitopia.
>  Over the years, art practice in Hong Kong had changed a lot, starting
> from the "Cultural Desert" to the flourishing (whether you like the art or
> not) situation now. I observed that as the idea of collaborations between
> authors and audience grows, some artists move on to an artivist works (such
> as Leung Po <http://motat.blogspot.com/>, Wen Yau<http://wenyau.net/whoswy.html>,
> Liu Wai Tong <http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%BB%96%E5%81%89%E6%A3%A0>, Ger
> Choi <http://twitter.com/#%21/gergerger>, Complaints Choir of Hong Kong<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Js74bfiOd1I>and many many more)
> In the last two weeks, because of the new Chief Exective<http://www.news.gov.hk/en/categories/admin/html/2012/04/20120410_183552.shtml> election
> on 25th March, many believe the next government will exert more control
> over freedom of speech and strident moral values.   Starting last week,
> people from The keyboard frontline<https://www.facebook.com/KeyboardFrontline> build
> a petition against the copyright law that makes sharing online and
> derivatives work a criminal offense
> http://www.change.org/petitions/intellectual-property-department-of-hong-kong-withdraw-copyright-amendment-bill-2011
> The second is the campaign " Our Representative is Invisible! The
> Cultural Sector Demands the Expulsion of Timothy Fok Tsun-ting and the
> Return of Our Voting Rights" <http://www.fac.org.hk/>
>  In an art world that is less market/ fair driven and even less academic
> moderated, if we are thinking about the spectrum ranging from a formalist
> fine art object made by a singular unit to the interactive or participatory
> social actions / collaborative happenings, then we can find the art
> projects in Hong Kong shifting more to the interactive social actions
> reacting to a number of political, ecological and cultural issues.
> We find guerrilla farming @Hong Kong Film Cultural Centre<http://www.hkfcc.org/news.php?action=detail&i=24>,
> beer making at Woofer Ten <https://www.facebook.com/wooferten/info>, karaoke
> or picnic or other social participatory projects are popular than
> exhibitions type of art events.
> In the coming Wikitopia, I am curating people to collaborate and work
> together in an open sources framework exploring the idea of social coding,
> sharing (such as* un*cloud as tactical media ) and mix skills (such as
> Audrino crosses over with vertical farming).
> I am interested in this type of events because this makes the communities
> less passive and less consumer-ic.
> Sometime the artist in these projects will use relational aesthetics to be
> the theory of their art making but I think the role of the curator, the
> artist and the social activist are also merging. I think if we believe that
> we are doing art and art is to inspire, to be creative, to make changes
> then like an electron, I would call these people active agents.
> I am happy to be in the this space and learn so much form you.
> Thanks again for the invitation.
> best,
> Ellen Pau
> (852) 90206183
> Videotage
> Microwave
> Inter-Act Arts
> ellenpau at facebook.com
> On Tue, Apr 17, 2012 at 5:50 AM, Nate Hitchcock <
> natehitchcock at apacheprojects.com> wrote:
>> Hello room,
>> Thank you to Renate and Tim for the intro. and invite. It is really
>> great to have this opportunity to present and join in the discussion.
>> A little about me. I am somewhat based in Weehawken, New Jersey and
>> previously based in Chicago (SAIC) where I started making shows.
>> My personal website has some links to past exhibitions I organized:
>> natehitchcock.com (scroll straight down). I begin studies this May at
>> Danube University's Media Art Histories program.
>> Apache Projects is what I am working on right now: Apacheprojects.com.
>> It is an open-source exhibition site located in Mother Neff State Park
>> in Moody, Texas. It is a Tonkawa burial cave discovered by the C.C.C.
>> during the construction of the park in the 1930s. Here is the park's
>> official history of the cave (it is written on a plaque posted on the
>> path to the cave): http://apacheprojects.com/info.html.
>> Right now I am working with artists who are interested in making solo
>> shows inside the cave. The artists are all interested in moving new
>> media, net.art etc. ideology from screens into other forms or away
>> from screens in altogether.
>> Here are some things that interest me..
>> Studying in Chicago gave me a possibly different approach to making
>> exhibitions that involves little to no money. For those of you who may
>> not be familiar, Chicago has a huge amount of artist run temporary
>> spaces, usually taking form in someones living room or empty bedroom.
>> The first show I made in 2008 took place at Normal Projects
>> (http://normalprojects.info/) in a kitchen where I hung 2d works on a
>> fridge. The living room displayed 2d works or works on screens curated
>> by the woman who lived in the apartment.
>> I find that new media work etc, despite the cost of equipment, is very
>> conducive to this type of exhibition making. Also, cost wise I have
>> found it relatively easy to find equipment for free.
>> Through my interest in this type of practice and work I've found that
>> not only is new media cheaper to display, but also more mobile.. which
>> brings me to another interest of mine that may be more relative to
>> discussions of curatorial practices and strategies..
>> How mobile is new media/net.art/screen based work? I know there is a
>> lot of talk about format shifting recently and making sculptures from
>> an internet oriented perspective but each time we load a work onto a
>> machine in a different context can the meaning of the work change as
>> well? It seems to me that this type of work is very conducive to
>> alternative spaces. If this is true, how much curatorial freedom do we
>> have in choosing the locations, and in that case, what makes a show a
>> show even?
>> Some very good responses to these questions so far are Aram Barthol's
>> Speed Show and Rafael Rozendaal's BYOB because they highlight the
>> mobility and reproducible nature of these types of works and instead
>> of doing what might be obvious; taking control away from the artists
>> since everything is accessible they relinquish the control of the
>> curator for the benefit of the artist (somewhat).
>> Looking forward,
>> Nate
>> --
>> Director
>> Apache Projects
>> Tel. 1 432.242.2056
>> ApacheProjects.com
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
>> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre


Renate Ferro
Visiting Assistant Professor of Art
Cornell University
Department of Art, Tjaden Hall Office #420
Ithaca, NY  14853
Email:   <rtf9 at cornell.edu>
URL:  http://www.renateferro.net
Lab:  http://www.tinkerfactory.net

Managing Co-moderator of -empyre- soft skinned space
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