Regretfully, we're not exactly off to a beach-and-palmtree holiday, just slowing down our inbox activity as well as our posts on this blog, Facebook and Twitter.
So happy holidays/felices vacaciones dear readers!
In 'Beyond Interface' Robin Dowden (Director of New Media Initiatives), Nate Solas (Senior New Media Developer) and Paul Schmelzer (Web Editor) of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, discuss the museum's new website, relaunched in December 2011 following a two-year conceptual reboot and complete redesign.
9 September 2012: Soon after publishing the first #OpenCurating interview, we participated in dOCUMENTA (13) series of readings based on their publications programme Readers' Circle: 100 Notes—100 Thoughts, for which we decided to read 'Lawrence Weiner IF IN FACT THERE IS A CONTEXT' (2011, Hatje Cantz). On the door steps of Fridericianum, we read Lawrence's book and played his voice reading some of the passages too. See our post on dOCUMENTA (13).
17 October 2012: Mariana Cánepa of Latitudes participates in the season of talks Cultural Professions: the Curator, at the Aula de Cultura CAM, in Murcia. An initiative of the curatorial collective 1er Escalón.
19–21 October 2012: Following on, we participated in a two-day meeting in Witte de With, Rotterdam, in preparation for Moderation(s), a year-long programme of residencies, performances, exhibitions, workshops and research initiated by Witte de With’s director Defne Ayas and Spring Workshop founder Mimi Brown, and presided over by artist, writer and curator Heman Chong.
6–9 November 2012: Trip to Munich, to see Haus der Kunst's 'Ends of the Earth – Land Art to 1974' exhibition and attend the opening of Haegue Yang's "Der Öffentlichkeit" commission.
28 November 2012: Third #OpenCurating interview online. 'Itinerarios transversales' is the interview with Sònia López and Anna Ramos of the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA). The new web of the museum, was launched at the beginning of 2012 and includes new features such as 'Recorridos' (Itineraries), a tool that allows visitors to create their own transversal itineraries selecting amongst the five thousand works that compose the MACBA Collection, besides videos, artist entries, podcasts, publications, amongst others. Read here (in Spanish) or here (in English).
5 December 2012: Fourth #OpenCurating interview up. 'Democratizando la sociedad informacional' analyses the practice of visual artist, art theorist and web activist Daniel G. Andújar. Though the use of irony, his work has questioned the use of new communicative technologies, the democratic and egalitarian promises these media prophesy, critisising their real yet hidden intentions to control users. Read here (in Spanish).
17 December 2013: Reached the equator with #OpenCurating. Five out of ten interviews are up and running. The fifth, 'books_expanded_field' is the interview with Badlands Unlimited, a New York-based publishing house whose motto is “books in an expanded field”. Its publications and editions in paper or digital forms (e-books for iPad or Kindle) acknowledge that “historical distinctions between books, files, and artworks are dissolving rapidly”. Read here (in English).
2 January 2013: Happy New Year and happy reading. Seventh #OpenCurating interview with Steven ten Thije, Research Curator at the Van Abbemuseum, in Eindhoven. In 'From One History to A Plurality of Histories', Latitudes conversed with the researcher from one the first public museums for contemporary art to be established in Europe. Under the directorship of Charles Esche since 2004, the museum has defined itself through “an experimental approach towards art’s role in society”, where “openness, hospitality and knowledge exchange are important”. Read here (in English).
7 January–11 February 2013: Curators-in-residency at Spring Workshop, Hong Kong, as part of the above mentioned 'Moderation(s)' programme. Our residency continued the artist-led tour format we initiated in Mexico City a few months earlier. Hong Kong-based artists Nadim Abbas, Yuk King Tan, Ho Sin Tung and Samson Young were invited to develop day-long itineraries, thus retelling the city and each participant’s artistic concerns through personal references and waypoints. More info and more photos of the four artist tours.
The residency included participating in the workshop "A Day at the Asia Art Archive" organised in collaboration with Spring Workshop and Witte de With, Rotterdam, on 31 January and concluded on February 2, with an Open Studios during which Latitudes and Heman Chong mantained a conversation about their experience in Hong Kong and their curatorial practice. [Related posts: Read the May 2013 interview between Christina Li and Latitudes here.]
During an interview and photo session for Ming Pao Weekly. Photo: Athena Wu.
19 February 2013: Public event of the #OpenCurating research at the Auditorium of MACBA, Barcelona. Latitudes in conversation with Yasmil Raymond, Curator of the Dia Art Foundation in New York. The conversation was later transcribed and published at the #7 of the series.
8–14 March 2013: Research trip in Dublin. Invited by Dublin City Council: The Arts Office, Latitudes visited art spaces, artists' studios and galleries in Dublin and Derry-Londonderry throughout the week. The diary included participating in the round table 'Within the public realm', alongside artist Sean Lynch and curator Aisling Prior at the Hugh Lane Dublin City Gallery [video of the talk here]; and a Curatorial talk at CCA Derry-Londonderry. During the week we were hosted by artists, curators and studio managers who took us around the Red Stables Studios; Temple Bar Gallery + Studios; Fire Station Artists' Studios; Green On Red Gallery; Kevin Kavanagh Gallery and the Project Arts Centre - Visual Arts.
18–22 April 2013: Attended the first International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art (IKT) congress, this year celebrated in Madrid. See more photos of the three-day event.
4 June 2013: In Madrid for an in conversation with New York-based artist Alejandro Cesarco on the occasion of his solo exhibition "La noche agranda su silencio”, Parra & Romero, Madrid.
As far as press coverage, Stephanie Cardon of Boston's Big Red & Shiny featured a profile in September 2012 titled 'Meanwhile in Barcelona: Latitudes and #OpenCurating'. In the Autumn issue of D'ARS, Italian writer Saul Marcadent mentioned the (out of print, unfortunately) publication "LAND, ART: A Cultural Ecology Handbook", Latitudes edited in 2006 in the context of other ecological-oriented projects. During our March visit to Dublin, we chatted with Anne Mullee about the (then ongoing) #OpenCurating research, the conversation was soon after published in the International section of the May-June 2013 issue of The Visual Artists' News Sheet. Also in May, writer and curator Christina Li, interviewed us for the Moderation(s) blog Witness to Moderation(s), an opportunity to look back at our January residency in Hong Kong.
In the past months, Max Andrews of Latitudes has published the following texts in frieze: 'Utopia is possible' (October 2012 issue); review of Julia Montilla's exhibition "El «cuadro» de la Calleja" at Espai 13, Fundació Miró; and forthcoming, an interview with Rotterdam-based artists Klaas van Gorkum and Iratxe Jaio also for frieze, as well as two texts on the 1979 documentary film 'The Secret Life of Plants' for the final issue of the Dutch journal Club Donny!
All photos: Latitudes (except when noted otherwise in the photo caption)
Interview between Christina Li and Latitudes on 'Incidents of Travel' for Witte de With's 'Witness to Moderation(s)' blog
Christina Li has been a part of Moderation(s) since its inception, and participated in the research and development workshop that took place at Witte de With in October 2012. Li will also be one of the four curators –together with Lee Ambrozy, Amira Gad, and Xiaoyu Weng– organizing the day-long conference Stories And Situations: The Moderation(s) Conference to take place on 5 October 2013 at Witte de With.
The interview published below between Li and Latitudes was originally published on Witte de With's website on May 2, 2013.
Christina Li: “Incidents of Travel” in Hong Kong is a second iteration of a project that you started in Mexico D.F in 2012, could you talk a little bit about how the idea of inviting artists to plan an itinerary functioning as both an artistic encounter and alternative studio visit came about?
Latitudes: The idea of the tour guide is of course not new. Back in 2009 while we were doing a year-long project in the Port of Rotterdam, we organised a series of bus tours to the port where we would present projects by Jan Dibbets, Lara Almarcegui or Christina Hemauer and Roman Keller, etc. Listening to the feedback of the group that took part during those tours, we realised there was something very valuable about the idea of being (kindly) trapped in a bus for a day and to be taken around with a group of people whom you shared interests or even friendship with. Some were co-workers and took the day to talk about non-work related issues, to admire the landscape, to listen to the soundtrack that accompanied the bus tour and basically to enjoy a day away from the keyboard. We wanted to repeat what we thought was a successful format and thought our trip to Mexico DF was a perfect occasion for that.
While preparing a small exhibition of our eight years of practice for Casa del Lago in México DF, we felt we needed to add a ‘here and now’ contribution, and suggested inviting five artists (Minerva Cuevas, Tania Pérez Córdova, Diego Berruecos, Terence Gower and Jerónimo Hagerman) to develop a day-long tour for us.The choice of artists was mixed, some we had met before (Jerónimo or Terence) but didn’t know their work in much detail, and others (Tania, Minerva and Diego) we had been following their work for a while, but never met them in person. Our invitation was very open, our idea was for them to develop an itinerary that helped us understand their creative world, and that included them taking us to their favourite (or hated!) museums, libraries, markets, monuments, housing states, shops, restaurants, etc. that were special to their lives or to their artistic practice. We offered all artists a fee, covered all food and tickets-related expenses and had a car to take us around 9am–6pm, after that we used public transport. Experiencing any city accompanied by a local friend always offers a much deeper insight into any city, but navigating it with an artist whose work you admire, is even more meaningful as each site amplifies a personal connection.
Li: Did you choose to adopt a different approach in your invitation to the artists in the Hong Kong edition? As far as I understood, Nadim Abbas’ tour was open to the public, while Yuk King Tan’s, Ho Sin Tung’s and Samson Young’s were conducted in a more intimate manner within a smaller group; what was the reason behind this decision? What were the responses to Nadim Abbas’ tour?
Latitudes: No, the invitation was the same in both occasions, though in Hong Kong we mostly used public transport. We also had more time to prepare and digest information, as were a month in residence at Spring. In the end it worked out as one tour per week as that suited best the artists’ schedule. Nadim’s tour was the first and was indeed open to the public, it has been the only tour so far with this aspect, although it was still a small group, initially of around fifteen people. We were interested in pushing the format and of course this meant that Nadim had to consider practical issues like distances and locations more carefully (ie. avoiding long walking distances, accessibility for groups, food availability…) in order to be realistic with the timings. A few people joined on and off, some engaged more actively than others. It was wonderful to see that Hong Kongers were also discovering sites they had never been to, like the Waterfall Bay Park or the nearby Waterfall Bay. Somehow we were all tourists for a day.
Latitudes: The tours were conceived from the point of view of research, and we haven’t wanted to necessarily burden the artists or the format with the expectations that they were participatory performances or some kind of touristic spectacle. We’ve tried to keep them quite casual and inconspicuous in this sense, and to respect the notion of hospitality in the same way that if we came to your house for dinner, you wouldn’t expect us to bring a group of strangers with us! Indeed this was literally the case in the day with Yuk King Tan, which concluded with a household of Filipina domestic workers making dinner for us – women whose trust and friendship she had earned through her personal affiliations and the concerns of her art. It is really not a question of us making the tours exclusive or private – we have not actually prohibited anyone else from coming along if the artist suggested it or was anyway okay with it. Yet it somehow seemed important to be able to commit to spending an entire day with them, and as soon as there is definitely something like an audience present (that might expect to be entertained or decide to leave) the dynamics and the logistics change.
The tours in México DF took place during five consecutive days right after our arrival, so the way we shared the photographic material was more direct via our Facebook at the end of each day. The exhibition at Casa del Lago opened only two days after we concluded the last tour, so had to come up with a fast solution to present our explorations: we projected a selection of 200 images as a slideshow, and displayed a selection of printed photos on the wall alongside a large map of the city with pins that located the sites we visited and the actual itineraries we followed written by the artists, which contained short descriptions of each site (we printed extra copies of these and made them available in the exhibition so one could pick them up and follow the route. These are now available to download from our website.)
In Hong Kong we were able to tweet during the tours, so it was an interesting process of documentation-on-the-go, of keeping a live diary of one’s journey, and to receive real-time responses from colleagues all over the world – the tweets have now been archived alongside some thirteen sound recordings, Facebook and blog posts. We also published blog posts of each of the tours which include extensive photo-documentation (by us and colleagues who took part) of the day interconnecting each photo with paragraphs of the itineraries written by the artists and our own impressions.
Li: You also have been to some other more specialised tours on offer during your stay in Hong Kong, were there more specific aspects of Hong Kong you were hoping to explore which guided your choices in attending these tours as a sightseer and a cultural tourist?
Latitudes: We were interested in studying what kind of readings the city offered away from the usual tourist sites (the Tian Tan Buddha, Victoria Peak, shopping tours, a day in Macau,…). We wanted to see if we could find more ‘marginal’ sculptures or sites that presented vernacular displays far from the polished and pre-packaged tourist experience.
We picked up hundreds of leaflets in the information office and found a couple interesting ones offered by the Walk Hong Kong company we thought were somehow out of the usual menu. We have always been interested in environmental issues and wanted to approach the high density of Hong Kong from another angle, from its relation to the surrounding nature. We visited the Mai Po Nature Reserve in the New Territories, a wetland on the Australasia migratory route, and ended the day in Long Valley in Sheung Shui, observing birds and farmers collecting large amounts of lettuces and watercress. This also tied in with another wetland we visited later with Ho Sin Tung, the Nam Sang Wai area, in the northwest of Hong Kong. This is to say that our own interests ended up tying in nicely with the sites we visited with the artists. Samson Young took us to a nearby area on his tour, to the border fence that separates Hong Kong with mainland China were we listened to “Liquid Borders”, a soundtrack he has been recording placing contact microphones in the wired fencing and mixing it with the sound of water of the Shenzhen River.
Another tour we joined was the Feng Shui tour led by Susan Braun. We started visiting Norman Foster’s Hong Kong HSBC building in Admiralty, built according to strict Feng Shui principles, and finished at the Chi Lin Nunnery. The final one was with Martin Heyes, a former British Army officer and passionate World War II specialist, who took us to Devil’s Peak at the eastern extremity of Kowloon and to the Museum of Coastal Defence, to learn everything about the 1941 Japanese invasion of Hong Kong.
Latitudes: The Walk Hong Kong tours were an opportunity for us to specifically learn about birds, marshlands, Feng Shui and the 1941 Japanese invasion, but most importantly it was an opportunity to discuss with our tour leaders issues that went beyond the tour script so to speak, issues like immigration, recent historical events such as the 2003 SARS outbreak, the current economic climate, the relationship to mainland China, etc. Curiously, all of the tour leaders were expats that had lived in Hong Kong for many years, so for us it was very interesting to hear how it was to live there today. The same goes for the artists, we absorbed a great wealth of information from each other beyond discussing the sites we were taken to. We talked about books, films, about the art world, what it is to be an artist and a curator today, etc. ‘Incidents of Travel’ and our residency was very much in line with what Heman Chong, moderator of the Moderation(s) program, explained during the January press conference: Moderation(s) is about stretching time. Not surprisingly, the image he chose to illustrate the long term collaboration between Spring Workshop and Witte de With was a clock. That image stood out very clearly during our time there. The offered time gave us the chance to generate conversations with the artists, to find a common ground, to generously share and exchange some kind of knowledge, and to engage in multiple and repeated dialogues with locals and expats, a rare luxury one is not often given.
Storify "Incidents of Travel";
Flickr album of the four tours of "Incidents of Travel".
Artists Minerva Cuevas, Tania Pérez Córdova, Diego Berruecos, Terence Gower and Jerónimo Hagerman were invited to develop day-long tours for Latitudes, articulating the city and their artistic practice through routes and waypoints in the metropolitan area. Documented and mapped in La Sucursal space alongside an overview presentation of Latitudes' projects ("Proyectos 2005–2012"), the project aims to explore the chartered itinerary as a format of artistic encounter with the capacity to bypass the convention of the studio visit through highly specific views of the city.
Photos: Latitudes | www.lttds.org (except when noted otherwise in the photo caption)
Inauguración de 'Incidentes de viaje' & 'Proyectos 2005–2012' en La Sucursal, Casa del Lago, México DF, 27 de septiembre 19:30h
The route proposed by Minerva Cuevas focused on the concept of the public and its socio-economic associations. The tour began in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas in Tlatelolco, continued to the Tepito and Lagunilla neighbourhoods, and from there visited nearby markets, public squares in the historic centre of Mexico City. It concluded with a visit to the Torre Latinoamericana, a symbol of modernity of the city in the 1950s. Throughout the course of the journey, rural elements that constitutes an integral part of the city are highlighted.
The tour proposed by Tania Pérez Córdova traced the route of a stretch of Avenida de los Insurgentes – the longest avenue of Mexico City which extends from the Mexico-Pachuca to the Mexico-Cuernavaca highways. The tour focused on certain points up and down this thoroughfare, becoming a mental journey with the daily commute of the artist as its starting point.
Diego Berruecos's tour encompassed several points in the city where he found the raw material for his ongoing investigation PRI: Genealogy of a Party. The itinerary takes in the Hemeroteca of the UNAM, where he photocopied obituaries relating to the 2007 sudden death Monica Pretelini, wife of the then governor of the State of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto. From there, brunch was enjoyed at El Venadito, which, according to the artist, "serves the best carnitas tacos in the city". This is a regular spot for the artist and is next to a major building in his research, which inspired one of the most interesting branches of his artistic genealogy: the series 'Architecture of Power'. This building is located in front of the home of the recently deceased Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado, 52nd president of Mexico. Finally, a visit to the Biblioteca Miguel Lerdo de Tejada and the Library of Congress, and end at El Sella restaurant "which serves the best chamorro in the city".
'Projects 2005–2012 / Incidents of Travel', La Sucursal, Casa del Lago, Mexico D.F., México, 27 September–5 November 2012
Opening: Thursday 27 September, 19.30h
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