Fields: On Attachments and Unknowns

Ingawanij, M.A. and Erin Gleeson 2017. Fields: On Attachments and Unknowns.

Title Fields: On Attachments and Unknowns
AuthorsIngawanij, M.A. and Erin Gleeson
Abstract

This curatorial project consists of a six-day curatorial field learning, gathering and sharing trip in Phnom Penh, with over 30 invited artists, curators, writers, creative producers and researchers from across Southeast Asia and beyond; an exhibition; a screening programme.

Ingawanij conceived the project, and co-organised the curatorial field learning and sharing event with independent curator Erin Gleeson and art writer Ben Valentine; co-curated with Gleeson and Valentine the exhibition On Attachments and Unknowns at SA SA BASSAC gallery and resource centre, Phnom Penh.

The gathering at SA SA BASSAC, and the field learning event, invited its participants to consider, together, what impels the leap into the unknown.

What attachments move us to do what we do – to make art, shape words, organise, name a collective, imagine a space, fictionalise a past and lay claim to the future? What are adequate ways to describe the energy, intensity and sentiment that suspend instrumentality and animate the move into the unknown? How do we grasp the forms and aesthetics that emerge in that time of potential? How do we stay in synch with that which moves, talk with living forms, and prolong transformative time in places fractured by impunity, acceleration and political and infrastructural failings?

A group of artists, curators, writers and makers in Southeast Asia and beyond were invited to spend a short and intensive portion of time together at SA SA BASSAC, in the hope that the alchemy of people, preoccupations and the above questions would spark ideas, speculations, promises and curiosity to be built on and acted on beyond the time together in Phnom Penh.

Participants were asked to respond to the invitation and to take part with their whole presence, ready to reflect on the kinds of attachments personal to them and their contexts that impel a continuity of involvement in making art live – acts of naming or gesturing, with precision, attachments that animate a practice, articulate a concept, a form, a position, in a way that holds open the possibility of unpredictably connecting.

The gathering took the form of lessons, in Cambodian dance and language, and in ritual object making; walks in Phnom Penh following and making the city’s map of modern cinema and architectural history; conversations, performances, provocations and screenings by local and visiting participants of the gathering; studio and site visits; and Ingawanij’s presentation of her curated screening programme Forces and Volumes at Bophana Audiovisual Resource Centre.

Participants of Fields: On Attachments and Unknowns were the artists Ok Prumsodan, Nguyen Trinh Thi, Vuth Lyno, Nov Cheanick, Khvay Samnang, Khvay Loeng, Tith Kanitha, Neang Kavich, Davy Chou, Mok Sombo, Neak Sophal, Yim Maline; curators/producers/researchers/writers Jessica Austin, Zoe Butt, Chum Chanveasna, Erin Gleeson, May Ingawanij, Nathalie Johnston, Lee Weng Choy, Sandy Hsui-Chih Lo, Richard MacDonald, Meta Moeng, Roger Nelson, Ruth Noack, Mary Pansanga, Sidd Perez, Julian Ross, Pen Sereypagna, Grace Samboh, Russell Storer, David Teh, Ben Valentine, Reaksmey Yean.

The gathering inspired Gleeson, Ingawanij and Valentine to make the exhibition On Attachments and Unknowns. The exhibition at SA SA BASSAC brought together artists and lens-based artworks that offer countervisions of the methods and ideologies of statecraft in and from Southeast Asia. Resisting simplification of geography, history, identity, and art, On Attachments and Unknowns follows the affinitive strategies of artists who explore the unstable interplay between visibility and invisibility, legibility and illegibility, and knowns and unknowns – expressions critical to figuring images and writing histories, and to conceiving power and participation within political and social movements of our time. While some artworks in the exhibition blur national and regional borders with migrants’ dreams and refugee desires, others work to gender, conflate and refocus Indigenous knowledge and colonial legacies.  Practices of state censorship and surveillance and ideas of the evidentiary are appropriated for close inspection.  The spectacle of the political campaign and the protest are upended and personalized. Intentionally oblique and anachronistic, the artworks collectively question representability, transparency of meaning and immediacy of message, unsettling our gaze and instinct to rationalize knowing.

Artists: Martha Atienza, Kiri Delana, Pao Houa Her, Chia-En Jao, Minstrel Kuk, Emily Phyo, Nguyen Thi Than Mai, Nguyen Trinh Thi, Sutthirat Supaparinya, Anocha Mai Suwichakornpong, Neak Sophal, Erika Tan, Yee I-Lann 

Year2017
Output mediaExhibition and curatorial field learning, gathering and sharing
KeywordsSoutheast Asian contemporary art, Phnom Penh, curatorial
File
File Access Level
Controlled (open metadata, closed files)
Web address (URL)http://www.sasabassac.com/onattachmentsandunknowns/

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