|On the Streets
submitted by: Chương-Đài Võ
This exhibition looks at the process of modernization in Southeast Asia through the phenomenon of street vendors.
In the age of global capitalism, cities and towns in Southeast Asia are undergoing rapid urbanization. Countries throughout the region have joined international financial and political entities such as World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund, and Association of Southeast Asian Nations. For these countries' governments, that process entails modernization along a perceived Western standard of order and cleanliness.
Street vending is an integral part of the local economies and cultures of all Southeast Asian countries, and enables entrepreneurs with little capital to support themselves and their families. Across the region, however, national and local governments have passed policies that forbid street vendors to operate in popular tourist areas. According to these policies, street vendors and their wares are unsightly, add to street congestion, occupy valuable sidewalk real estate, and pose a harassing presence for tourists. While local and international policymakers and investors espouse the virtues of modernization as economic empowerment for local communities, it is the working class who must bear the disproportionate costs.
This project invites a total of six artists from the region and around the world to create projects inspired by the street vending culture in their specific locales. After that first leg of the project, they will meet in Phnom Penh to work in pairs to collaborate on a project with the local street vendors there. There will be exhibitions and talks indoors and outdoors for them to share their projects with the local community. The Phnom Penh-based parts of this project will be done in collaboration with Java Gallery and the artist-run collective Stiev Selapak, which will help to connect the international artists with local resources and help coordinate collaborations and offer exhibition spaces.
The project will involve artists known for making labor-intensive work and for using their bodies as a site for art.
submitted by: Mike Crane
The apexart Franchise Program in Palestine will initiate a rare encounter between the conventions of television news broadcasting and experimental moving-image work by local and international artists.
Located in Ramallah, Wattan TV is the only independent broadcasting station unaffiliated with any political agencies in Palestine. The station has been shutdown five times by the Palestinian Authority and raided twice by the Israeli Military after it began broadcasting in 1996, targeted mainly for its investigative journalism and incisive talk shows. Despite having been subjected to a destructive raid in February 2012 that reduced the facility to a quarter of its capacity, the station continues to broadcast daily coverage of the latest news in politics, sports and world events.
Our exhibition takes the form of a weekly artist film program broadcast on-air and online from Wattan TV over the course of one month. The date, time and duration of the individual screenings will depend on the available slots towards the beginning or end of the regularly scheduled news program. Each segment will present an individual short film introduced by a guest anchor, artist, filmmaker or critic from the region. Wattan's general director and project collaborator, Muamar Orabi is providing additional assistance in gathering these participants. The group of international artists involved in the screening will include Simon Gush, Tamar Guimarães, Mark Lewis, Johanna Billing and Shahryar Nashat, among other Palestinian artists.
The films all share a mutual investment in narrative and cinematic conventions without the use of any spoken dialogue, voice-over or text. This will ensure a broader range of accessibility while contrasting with the parlance of news reporting. Each work will inevitably be affected by Wattan's tenuous broadcasting conditions¬, which have been downgraded from a modestly outfitted station to an ad-hoc production facility. These circumstances will alter their image quality as they are reframed within the station's graphics package, transmitted into thousands of homes and eventually archived on the Wattan's website. The recontextualisation of both image and content through this filtering process is central to the project, producing a secondary edition of each artist video bookended with the news items of the day in which it was broadcast.
The long-term goal of this project is to create a regularly scheduled artist film program on Palestinian television. While initially exploring the medium of TV broadcasting under precarious circumstances, it is our hope that this show will generate new conversations about the moving-image work being produced in Palestine today. We also believe this will challenge the claim that television is a dying medium by highlighting how it continues to provide a vital means of communication in this specific region. This exhibition is inspired in part by similar programs such as Screening Room with Robert Gardner, 10 vor 11 by Alexander Kluge and Stan Douglas' Television Spots and Monodramas. The production of this franchise will draw upon our previous experience organizing unconventional, artist-run film exhibitions in the US and abroad, as well as our connection with artists currently working in Palestine.
submitted by: crystal am nelson
Marfa, a city whose allure in the art world extends far beyond those who have actually visited, stands alone, geographically and culturally. Located in the Chihuahuan Desert/Big Bend region of Texas, it is a six-hour drive from Austin and three hours from the nearest international airport, in El Paso. The town's biggest employers are national law enforcement agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Agency and the U.S. Border Patrol, and more than twenty of the best paying jobs in Marfa are with the U.S. Air Force's aerostat surveillance program. Marfa's next biggest revenue stream is art tourism, which is serious business despite its remote location and scarce amenities. However, in the public imagination, Marfa is the city Donald Judd built with the backing of the Dia Foundation and a vision of anarchist minimalist utopia.
Certainly this image of the lone artist-cum-pioneer, taming the Wild West with aesthetics is a striking and romantic one, aligned with the aura and history of Far West Texas. But, long before Judd arrived, long before the town was named Marfa, people from diverse backgrounds—Apache, Comanche, Spaniards, Mexicans, Tejanos, and Anglo-American pioneering cowboys—built communities on the arid landscape and laid the foundation for Marfa's unique cultural enchantments. Unfortunately, in spite of its importance, Judd's legacy has obscured much of this history and what makes Marfa such a compelling cultural capital. How does one begin to reconcile these seemingly disparate and diametrically opposed community elements that are simultaneously autonomous from and interdependent on each other? What happens when contact turns to conflict? Or when divergence transforms into convergence?
Heterotopia attempts to respond to these concerns by redrawing Marfa's cultural map by illuminating its pre-Judd history, highlighting under-recognized subjectivities, and bringing to the fore the unsung contemporary cultural production happening on the periphery of the city's blue-chip art scene. The strategy is to exhibit the region's traditional and vernacular arts alongside global-conceptual artwork in order to underscore their proximities. At Heterotopia's core is the traditional art of the surviving Jumano-Apache Indians, traditional Chicano art, and cowboy art, a genre that celebrates the traditional arts and lifestyle in cowboy culture of the American West. The work of more academic artists will address issues related to the exhibition's meta-concept of contact zones and their ever-accumulating pasts. Since the Chinati Foundation has centralized the art scene to its gated property, this exhibition will decentralize the viewing experience by using multiple venues throughout the city, and employing a semi-guided walking tour that leverages Marfa's smallness to introduce visitors to less-trafficked locations. A commissioned audio file will be provided to assist them in physically and conceptually navigating the sites. Additionally we will program screenings and lectures about Marfa's unseen scenes and the myths circulating its mainstream identity.