ST PAUL St Gallery 2014 Curatorial Symposium
Erin Gleeson, keynote speaker (2014)
The third in a series advocating for dialogue around contemporary curatorial practice in the Asia Pacific region, this year's Symposium focuses on models of cultural exchange. The two-day programme initiates a critical look at existing platforms for exchange, with an emphasis on the implications for, and obligations of contemporary practitioners in the field. A range of presentations are offered in order to both interrogate the prevailing institutions of curatorial practice, and to contemplate alternative practices that promote international exchange between curators, artists, and the institutions they affiliate with. The Symposium seeks to frame a proposition, or number of propositions, for how the contemporary institution can operate productively, perceptively and proactively as a site of exchange.
Three questions underpin the Symposium's framework. These are: what are our roles and responsibilities as institutional workers, and as both guests and hosts? What can the contemporary institution do to further effective exchange? How do we avoid repeating dominant narratives? Indigeneity and how it is represented and afforded agency is a fundamental aspect of this conversation. Mindful of prescient current discussions around the legacy of institutional critique, this framework demands an examination of how we define the institution/s of contemporary curating – to include not just public galleries and exhibition-making, but also modes of representation such as the biennial, the archive, the academic text, the conference, the residency and the research trip – and of the responsibilities of the cultural producer as individual in these social and professional contexts.
Keynote speaker Erin Gleeson, Co-Founder and Artistic Director of SA SA BASSAC, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, will present a paper, The Problem With Sunset, reflecting on mediating a culture that is not originally one's own, and on problematising the political institution of cultural exchange through curatorial agency. Highlighting the role of dynamic individuals in effective institutions, a range of international speakers from different backgrounds will provide case studies of collaborative and discursive projects that cross different cultural contexts, or broader reflections on models of exchange in practice. These include Meiya CHENG, Taipei Contemporary Art Center; CHE Kyongfa, Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo; Candice Hopkins, National Gallery of Canada; Alia Swastika, independent curator, Jakarta, and HSU Fang-Tze, PhD candidate at the National University of Singapore.
For this Symposium ST PAUL St Gallery is partnering with Asia New Zealand Foundation and Creative New Zealand, who have together facilitated an annual 'curator tour' of New Zealand curators to Asia for the past four years. The first day of the Symposium will involve discussion led by former tour participants around the outcomes and challenges of this type of programme, as well as presentations from local curators and artists whose projects specifically engage the notion of cultural exchange. These include Ngahiraka Mason, Indigenous Curator, Māori Art, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Megan Tamati-Quenell, Curator Modern & Contemporary Māori and Indigenous Art, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Bruce E Phillips, Senior Curator Te Tuhi; Fiona Amundsen artist and Senior Lecturer Visual Arts, AUT University; Natalie Robertson, artist and Senior Lecturer Art + Design, AUT; and Rebecca Hobbs, artist and Lecturer at Manukau Institute of Technology. The second day adopts a wider scope for critical reflection on alternative models for the institution, with speakers representing a range of institutions and individual practitioners which self-reflexively promote cultural exchange.