FIELD MEETING Take 4: Thinking Practice
Speaker Biographies + Synopses
Participants of FIELD MEETING 4: Thinking Practice include:
(Click on the names below to visit each section)
Basel Abbas & Ruanne Abou-Rahme (New York & Ramallah) / Amina Ahmed (New York, London, & Tehran) / Heba Y. Amin (Berlin & Cairo) / Xyza Cruz Bacani (Bambang & Hong Kong) / Stephanie Bailey (Athens, Hong Kong, & London) / Wafaa Bilal (Najaf & New York) / Mary Ellen Carroll (Houston & New York) / T-Yong Chung (Milan, Tae-Gu, & Venice) / Shezad Dawood (London) / Erin Gleeson (London & Phnom Penh) / Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige (Beirut) / Ho Rui An (Singapore) / Ho Tzu Nyen (Berlin & Singapore) / Chia-En Jao (Taipei) / Michael Joo (New York) / Mami Kataoka (Tokyo) / Anthony Lee (New York) / Loo Zihan (Singapore) / Jennifer Wen Ma (Beijing & New York) / Umashankar Manthravadi (Bangalore) / Yasmin Jahan Nupur (Dhaka) / Mithu Sen (New Delhi) / Raha Raissnia (New York & Tehran) / Rashid Rana (Lahore) / Nora Razian (Beirut) / Jonas Staal (Amsterdam) / Ye Funa (Beijing) / Sarah Rifky (Cairo) / among others.
Basel Abbas & Ruanne Abou-Rahme
Only The Beloved Keeps Our Secrets
The premier screening of the artist duo's latest film, reflecting their practice around ideas of returns, amnesia and déjà vu, sampling and recasting stories, gestures and sites into altogether new 'scripts' of seemingly disparate moments that blur the line between fiction, myth and wish.
Working across a range of sound, image, text, installation and performance practices, Basel & Ruanne investigate the suspension of an endless 'present' that is increasingly shaped by the politics of desire and disaster. Recent solo and group exhibitions include Carroll Fletcher London, ICA Philadelphia, and Sharjah Biennial (2015), Gwangju Biennale (2014); Asian Art Biennial National Museum of Fine Arts Taipei, and ICA London (2013). They were recipients of 2016 Abraaj Capital Art Prize and exhibition in Dubai, UAE.
’I am not the center of my work, nor is my work my center; it is in my remembrance and through prayer and invocation, that I am centered, where it is that I seek the center.’
Visual artist, educator, and activist, Amina, a Kutchi Turk Indian born in East Africa who grew up in England has lived in Iran and the USA. Awarded the Barakat Trust prize for excellence for her MFA work at Royal College of Art London (1991), her work has been exhibited in the USA, South Asia, and Europe. She is board member for the Muslim Women’s institute for Research and Development & Women’s Voices Now and a Studio Resident at Mana Contemporary in New Jersey.
Amina Ahmed’s FIELD MEETING participation is supported by Twelve Gates Arts (Philadelphia)
The General's Stork
In 2013, Egyptian authorities detained a migratory stork traveling from Israel to Egypt because of an electronic device attached to its leg. It was suspected of espionage. This lecture-performance converges historical accounts, biblical prophecies, colonial narratives, and politics of surveillance to investigate the contemporary conditions of a state paranoia that turned a migrating bird into an international spy.
Amin's work is embedded in extensive research and a studio practice that looks at the intersections of politics, technology, and urbanism. Recent exhibitions include Kunsthalle Wien, Museum of Modern Art Warsaw, Kunstverein Hamburg, Camera Austria, Marrakech Biennale, Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, and Art Museum of Gotland Sweden.
Heba Y. Amin's FIELD MEETING participation is supported by Gallery Zilberman (Istanbul).
Aiming to aestheticize the socio-political climate of the Arab world through a special musical performance with audio samples, ranging from Middle Eastern hip-hop to political speeches, and spoken word, Bilal reflects the current political map of the region through the rhythm of Arabic letters. Acting as DJ, he builds on this composition with improvised sound bytes, vocalizations and live instruments.
Internationally known for his online performative and interactive projects, Bilal's works are informed by the experience of fleeing his homeland and existing simultaneously in two worlds – his home in the 'comfort zone' of the U.S. and his consciousness of the 'conflict zone' in Iraq. An Associate Arts Professor at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, his work can be found in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago; MATHAF: Arab Museum of Modern Art Doha, Qatar amongst others.
The built environment, visible and non-visible forms of infrastructure, policy and law are employed in the making-of and as works of art by the artist, who unfurls the use of physical and esoteric matter in her ongoing pursuit to expand the meaning of performance as a practice. Ranging from unused radio frequencies as a 21st century form of land art PUBLIC UTILITY 2.0 to provide connectivity for underserved communities in New Orleans, to the development of her trademark NOTHING™, to her research for The Circle Game in Dubai, UAE.
Carroll's practice spans over 20 years of investigating a single, fundamental question: what is a work of art? Her ongoing projects stand at the intersection of conceptual art, architecture, public policy, and social justice. She has exhibited internationally including at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; ICA London; and Museum fur Volkerkunde in Munich, and is recipient of numerous grants and honors: Graham Foundation Fellowship, AIA's Artist of the Year Award, Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, and Robert Rauschenberg Residency.
Mary Ellen Carroll's FIELD MEETING participation is supported by Alserkal Avenue (Dubai).
A Virtual Tour of Kalimpong
An espionage thriller through Kalimpong, a small town in West Bengal, at the foothills of the Himalayas, and the entry point to Tibet. A place where esotericist Alexandra David-Neel first met the Dalai Lama, also a site once denounced as a 'nest of spies' in the 1960s, and traversed by everyone from the Russians, the Chinese, CIA, Indian secret service, Tibetan Khamba guerillas, British colonial stalwarts, and of course, the ever elusive yeti.
Concerned with acts of translation and re-staging, Dawood works across film, painting and sculpture to juxtapose discrete systems of image, language, site and multiple narratives. His practice often involves collaboration, working with groups and individuals across different territories to physically and conceptually map far-reaching lines of enquiry. Recent exhibitions include Jane Lombard Gallery (New York), Galerist Istanbul, and Timothy Taylor London (2016), Taipei Biennial (2014), Tate Britain, and Venice Biennale (2009). His films have screened at ICA London & MoMA New York amongst other international festivals & museums.
Territorial Altars & Time Travel
Dominant Art Historical methods often malfunction when applied to marginalized geographies. Within this framework, strategies and aesthetics of display perform the modern, the national, and the secular- heavily co-opting colonial inheritance either passively or intentionally. The plot of linear progress therefore fails, calling for fluid time travel. In this lecture-performance, time travel presents the less-accessible past and speculates exhibitions as territorial altars, as sacred as they are secular, as mediums or translators of complex, socio-religious-cultural inheritance.
Erin is a curator, writer, and the co-founding artistic director of SA SA BASSAC, a non-profit exhibition space and resource center in Phnom Penh. Recently she was curator of Satellite Program 8, Jeu de Paume and CAPC, France; head of research at Asian Cultural Institute Gwangju Korea (2015–2016); and Advisor for ACC-Rijksacademie Dialogue and Exchange (2016). Currently a Alphawood Scholar, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
Erin Gleeson's FIELD MEETING participation is supported by SA SA BASSAC (Phnom Penh) and Asia Art Archive in America (New York).
Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige
The Rumors of the World
In a new lecture performance adapting an ongoing project (1999–present), the artist duo give face to the ambiguous and hidden voices found in scam-messages traversing the planet through the Internet. Revealing a complex world where traditional ethics are challenged by greed and desire, the narrative unfolds to represent a new colonial map, narrating a strange history of our time – where an odd faith in images and stories become intertwined with production of personal narratives and systems of representation in the post-digital age.
Bio- For over 15 years, Hadjithomas and Joreige have produced films and artworks focused on the images representations, the fabrication of imaginaries, and the history of their home country Lebanon and beyond. Their documentaries have been multi-awarded at international festivals and their artworks exhibited worldwide, including Musee d'art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Guggenheim Museum New York, Victoria & Albert Museum London, and Sharjah Art Foundation UAE.
Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige's FIELD MEETING participation is supported by The Third Line Gallery (Dubai).
Investigating the rise of speculative fiction in a risk-managed and financially hedged era, the artist examines futurist practices of probability and prediction. To quote one futurist, 'the new tools of futurecraft are no longer 'maps but metaphors' – a shift in governance from the use of 'big' data to a 'small' storytelling workshop. So what are the stories we allow to tell ourselves? And what are the stories that still remain to be told?
The emergence, transmission and disappearance of images within contexts of globalism and governance is explored by the artist across lecture, essay and film; most recently focusing on participatory democracy and speculative futures. Recently presented at 2nd Kochi-Muziris Biennale, TPAM Performing Arts Meeting in Yokohama & Serpentine Galleries (London). Ho is also the Singapore desk editor for ArtAsiaPacific and has contributed to numerous publications.
Ho Rui An's FIELD MEETING participation is supported by National Arts Council (Singapore).
T for Tiger
What happens when forest surveyors collide with a Malayan tiger in the middle of a Singaporean jungle in 1835? Tracing Malayan cosmological beliefs about tigers embodying ancestral spirits, and other layers of intersecting histories, the artist deconstructs a 19th century drawing by Heinrich Leutemann Unterbrochene Straßenmessung auf Singapore (Interrupted Road Surveying Singapore), to open up a swarm of stories about human-animal relationships, the politics of colonial surveys, and the organization of convict labor in the British Settlements.
Working with film, video, performance, and environmental multimedia installations Ho Tzu Nyen appropriates the structures of epic myths, invoking their grandeur to reveal them not as mere stories, but as discursive tools. He has presented at diverse venues including Guggenheim Bilbao & Museum of Modern Art Warsaw (2015) Shanghai and Kochi-Muziris Biennales (2014), Guggenheim New York, Witte de With Rotherdam & Mori Art Museum Tokyo (2012-2013) & Singapore Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale (2011).
Ho Tzu Nyen's FIELD MEETING participation is supported by Asia Art Archive in America (New York) and Kadist Foundation (San Francisco).
Place as Site of Inquiry
Acknowledging the absurdity of how we define a place's identity when it has been overwritten over the course of generations by human 'advancements' and political strife, the artist shares his personal experiences of working in Sharjah, UAE and Limerick, Ireland. Merging art and technology, he demonstrates how sculptural intervention can make inaccessible histories and simultaneous pluralistic viewpoints visible.
Combining sculpture, painting, photography and printmaking techniques with scientific knowledge, Joo explores places, people and objects to create a process for reinterpreting perception. In 2006 he was awarded the grand prize for Gwangju Biennale and the United States Artists Fellowship. Recent solo and group exhibitions were held at Blain|Southern London (2016); Sharjah Biennial (2015), The Bronx Museum of Arts & The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum Connecticut (2014).
Confucius, Kerouac, and my Old Man
During a difficult year after the death of his father, author Anthony Lee turned to Eastern philosophy to try to rediscover order. That pursuit, and brief notes for a poem left behind in his father's apartment, led him through a study of memory and identity that forced him to consider the very meaning of art in one's life and in the world. In his performative talk, Lee continues his investigation of the abiding influence of Asian continental thought on American arts and letters.
Anthony Lee, author of the novels Martin Quinn and There in the Darkness, holds a Ph.D. from The State University of New York at Binghamton and teaches literature and creative writing at the College of Mount Saint Vincent.
Affective Labour, Queer Relations and the Archive
An intimate conversation with the exhumed remains of queer performances, the artist unpacks his practice of archiving to negotiate disparate moments of loss, sadness and shame and the effects of surviving memories that build queer relations.
Artist and educator Zihan's performance re-enactments, essay-films and data visualization emphasize malleability of memory and interest in the transference and transmutation of shame, particularly in Southeast Asian society, where homosexuality is tabooed, He has presented at multiple festivals in Asia, US, and Europe; recipient of Singapore's Young Artist Award (2015) and a current Asian Cultural Council grantee.
Loo Zihan's FIELD MEETING participation is supported by National Arts Council (Singapore) and Asia Society (New York).
Thinking as Practice
Referencing the collaborative process of her critically acclaimed, recent installation-opera Paradise Interrupted, the artist as instigator, director, and supporter is hidden and staged simultaneously in this new fantastical performance conceived for FIELD MEETING. Composed in free form in collaboration with artists Ron Jean-Gilles & Guillermo Acevedo as a tribute to the often chaotic, mysterious, funny, heartwarming, and masochistic drive in creative practice, which is akin to alchemy.
Ma's interdisciplinary practice bridges varied media such as installation and theatre to bring together unlikely elements in a single piece creating sensitive, poetic and poignant works. In 2014 she was the chief designer of visual and special effects for the opening and closing ceremonies of Beijing Olympics. Recently presented at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (2014), Cass Sculpture Foundation UK, Qatar Museums UAE, & the Lincoln Center Festival New York (2016).
Jennifer Wen Ma's FIELD MEETING participation is supported by Ink Studio (Beijing).
The Earcheologist & his Man Made Cave
The Archeological Survey of India has never identified any ancient structure in the nation as a theatre, despite the fact that performance traditions in the region go back to the Kama Sutra. Mathravadi shares his 20-year quest to decode the acoustic properties of Ranigumpha -an elaborate man-made structure in the Khandagiri Mountains of India. Using his own developed software, he studies the unique effects of this mysterious place, establishing that it was in fact, an auditorium.
Umashankar is a journalist, filmmaker, poet as well as a professional sound recordist and consultant to an ethno-musicology archive. As part of the artist collective Umashankar and the Earchaeologists with artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan and writer & curator Nida Ghouse, he investigates 'acoustic archaeology' and how sound can influence our understanding of ancient and contemporary sites. The collective's project was commissioned for a site-specific performance during Art Dubai 2015, supported by the British Council.
Our Own Private Anthology
In this site-specific performance through a survey of her audience, the artist considers the perpetual struggle between 'personal' vs. 'political' realities of existing. Confronting social beliefs, constructs, and the role that patriarchy has in divisive negative dynamics between genders, she attempts to find a solution that allows her to be in accordance with her own strengths and limitations as a human being.
Nupur's installations and performances explore prevailing social values in South Asia, inspired by the urgent ecological, public and communal aspects of life, particularly communities deprived of social benefits like women and migrants. She has been awarded the International Arts Residency by the Commonwealth Foundation of United Kingdom. Exhibitions include Exhibit320 New Delhi, and La Vitrine A.M Gallery Paris, and most recently, a solo performance presented at Dhaka Art Summit in Bangladesh (2016).
Yasmin Jahan Napur's FIELD MEETING participation is supported by Exhibit320 (Delhi)
'Not bound by rules of grammar, diction, vocabulary and syntax, these poems suggest another medium of understanding. No one but you speaks this language. It is yours to read, to decipher, to interpret and to understand. Unfettered by the hegemonic structures of language, these 'nonsensical' figures, this computer gibberish, are beyond the process of meaning making. I invite you to embrace 'nonsense' as resistance and comb out utterances from your subconscious; thereby, giving voice to all those moments that exist but are not realized or lived. These are poems for you (and me) – by you (and me).'
– Excerpt from I am a Poet Project Space: Word. Sound. Power, Tate Modern
Sen pushes the limits of language to question the pre-codified hierarchical etiquettes of tabooed psycho-sexuality, radical hospitality and lingual anarchy. Weaving a multidisciplinary practice of drawing, poetry, sculpture, amongst other media. Recent exhibitions include Peabody Essex Museum, USA, (2016); Art Unlimited, Basel (2016) and Albertina Museum, Vienna (2015).
Mithu Sen's FIELD MEETING participation is supported by +91 Foundation (New York).
How do you talk about Asia?
In her talk, Mori Art Museum (Tokyo, Japan) chief curator deconstructs her programmatic approach, which she calls: 'Total Curating'. Can we rethink exhibition making by deviating from mere object-based visual experiences to achieve more holistic representation? Presenting a complete, well-rounded consideration of diverse social, historical, and aesthetic contexts to create broader cultural understanding.
Since 2003, Kataokahas curated numerous exhibitions including Ai Weiwei: According to What? (2009/ US Tour 2012–13), Makoto Aida (2012), and Lee Mingwei and His Relations (2014–15) at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo Japan. In addition, she teaches at Kyoto University of Art and Design and is a CIMAM Board Member, an Asian Art Council member of Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and recently named Artistic Director of upcoming Sydney Biennial 2018.
Mami Kataoka's FIELD MEETING participation is supported by Mori Art Museum (Tokyo).
Temporal and Experiential Condition of Music
A cinematic experience of sequentially and stillness is provoked through the artist's performance, in which a series of hand-painted photographic collages come to life; a permutation process evoking sentiments of human vulnerability as well as ideas of movement, light, and other fascinating connections between painting and film.
Raissnia describes her work as 'Expanded Cinema', in which simultaneous practices of painting, drawing, filmmaking, photography as well as live-projection and installation result in an iterative approach. Her first solo show in Tehran was held at Ab/Anbar (2015) and a retrospective of her film-based works was held at MoMA, New York (2016). Her works were included in 56th Venice Biennial (2015) and White Columns (New York) amongst other international locations.
Raha Raissnia FIELD MEETING participation is supported by Ab/Anbar (Tehran).
'Our experience of reality is a negotiation between the actual and the remote. The actual is close at hand – something one can experience directly with the body as the site of knowing. The remote is knowledge amassed indirectly, from diverse sources scattered across time and space... Echoing cosmological concepts of the multiverse, Rana examines whether the remote can exist autonomously. It is an attempt to subvert linear ideas of time and space progressions to offer fractured views of chronology and geography.'
Rana's works open dialogues between aesthetics, imagery, technique, medium, and socio-political ideals that transcends geo-physical boundaries. Recent solo exhibitions include a major retrospective of 70 works at Mohatta Palace Museum, Karachi (2013), surveys at Cornerhouse, Manchester (2011) and Musée Guimet, Paris (2010). Major group exhibitions include the Venice Biennale (2015); Kiev Biennial (2012); Fotomuseum Winterthur, Whitechapel Gallery and Saatchi Gallery, London (2010) and Asia Society, New York (2009).
Rashid Rana's FIELD MEETING participation is supported by Lisson Gallery (New York & London).
Let's Talk About the Weather
Taking her most recent exhibition, Let's Talk About the Weather: Art and Ecology in a Time of Crisis, co-curated with Nataša Petresin-Bachelez, and the context of ongoing city-wide garbage crisis as a case study; Razian discusses the challenges of developing the newly re-opened Sursock Museum as a civic space and actor in the highly contested and privatized city of Beirut
Razian is the Head of Programs and Exhibitions at the Sorsock Museum in Beirut, where she curates the institution's temporary exhibitions, public programs, and film programs while initiating collaborations with other arts organizations. She was curator of public programs at Tate Modern and Tate Britain (2009–2015). She has also taught at Goldsmiths' College Centre for Arts and Learning.
Ideology = Form
How do places like Catalonia, the Basque Country, Kurdistan, Baluchistan, Azawad, West-Papua, and the Aboriginal Nations enter into an art practice? In this lecture-performance, Staal who is founder of New World Summit, an organization working with territories excluded from democracy, conjures the political history of art, while contemplating the artistic history of politics in connection with his recent commission to build a parliament for the autonomous Kurdish region of Rojava, (Northern Syria).
In his writings and works, Stall examines the relationship between art, democracy and propaganda to articulate ways in which art can engage in constructing new understandings of power. Since 2012, the New World Summit has taken the shape of large-scale architectural installations and other projects in theaters, public spaces, biennales and art institutions in Berlin (2012), Venice (2013) Brussels (2014), and Utrecht (2015). He is currently working on his PHD at the University of Propaganda.
A popular platform for self-expression, traditionally reserved as feminine, is claimed as a viable venue for curatorial work, while a common tool for flaunting beauty and personality is reimagined as legitimate medium for artistic activity. Funa's performance-project Curated Nails appropriates notions of the 'periphery' and 'alternative space', in an effort to challenge and to de-mystify institutional authority.
Funa's practice is engaged in pastiche through satirization of propaganda and depictions of 'perfection' within ideological systems. A Central Academy of Fine Arts graduate, she was included in recent exhibitions at the Power Station of Art museum in Shanghai, and University of Toronto Art Centre.
Ye Funa's FIELD MEETING participation is supported by Space Station (Beijing).
Xyza Cruz Bacani, Chia-En Jao with Xiaoyu Weng
A Lens into the Lives and Dreams of Immigrant Workers:
Echoing themes in the Guggenheim’s exhibition Tales of Our Time, curator Xiaoyu Weng considers two distinct practices that illuminate the often-overshadowed stories of South East Asian immigrant workers in a conversation with Hong Kong-based Filipina street photographer Xyza Cruz Bacani and Taipei-based artist Chia-En Jao. Far from objectified and sensationalized popular-media portrayals, Bacani’s photojournalistic approach documents the workers’ everyday reality, while Jao invites them to retell the dreams they had while asleep in front of the video camera; each weaving subjective experiences that lie between fiction and reality into the larger social fabric.
A former domestic worker in Hong Kong, Xyza Cruz Bacani uses photography to raise awareness of migrants and human rights issues. She has exhibited worldwide and been featured in international media publications like New York Times Lens Blog and CNN. Bacani is the recipient of a resolution passed by the Philippines House of Representatives in her honor, HR No. 1969; one of the BBC’s 100 Women of the World 2015, 30 Under 30 Women Photographers 2016, and Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2016; a 2015 Magnum Foundation Human Rights Fellow; and a Fujifilm Ambassador.
Chia-En Jao’s project-based practice has recently delved into colonial histories and the cross-cultural tensions in the Asia Pacific region. Recent exhibitions include, A Voyage to South, Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan (2015); Arms, Art Basel Hong Kong (2014); The Pioneers of Taiwanese Artists, 1971-1980, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (2014); What We See, National Museum of Art, Osaka (2013); Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Brisbane; Shanghai Biennale, MOCA Shanghai; and Taipei Biennal, Taipei Fine Arts Museum (all 2012).
Xyza Cruz Bacani and Chia-En Jao's FIELD MEETING participation is supported by the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation.
Considering words as tones in a palette and the art world as her subject matter, the writer, editor, and educator perceives herself as an undercover artist missioned with challenging global politics from within the highly privileged and contentious space of culture. Much like the deeply private act of painting in pre-revolutionary China, or the way Socrates describes good text as a 'live body', she views writing as an ever-evolving, reactive, and changeable act with a life of its own.
Hong Kong-born Bailey, is Senior Editor of Ibraaz, Contributing Editor of ART PAPERS and LEAP, Editor-at-Large at Ocula.com, and the current curator of the Conversations and Salon Programme at Art Basel Hong Kong. A member of the Naked Punch Editorial Committee, she also writes regularly for Artforum International and Yishu Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art.
Qalqalah and the Curious Case of the Sphere within a Sphere
In the post-capitalist, corporate conglomerate of the United Arab World in 2030, where notions of language, art and economy have quietly collapsed, a polyglot heroine named Qalqalah investigates an unprecedented spread of Spherical Sculptures popping up in cities all over the globe. It is feared that these spherical monuments may alter thinking. Faced with these alarming signs, what will it take to save what seems to be the coming of the end of the world?
Sarah Rifky is a writer and curator; she is co-founder of Beirut, an art initiative and exhibition space in Cairo (2012–2015) and founder of CIRCA (Cairo International Resource Center for Art). Rifky was co-curator of the Jogjakarta Biennale XII (2013), curator of Townhouse (2009–2011) and Curatorial Agent for dOCUMENTA(13) in Kassel, Cairo and Alexandria (2012).