Latitudes participation took place in January 2013 with a month-long residency at Spring Workshop, Hong Kong, and with the production of "Incidents of Travel": an invitation extended to four Hong Kong-based artists – Nadim Abbas, Ho Sin Tung, Yuk King Tan and Samson Young – to develop day-long tours, thus retelling the city and each participant’s artistic concerns through personal itineraries and waypoints.
As announced a few months ago, Latitudes has contributed to the publication with a visual essay documenting each of the artists' itineraries accompanying them with a revised and reedited version of the May 2013 conversation with curator Christina Li (Moderation(s)' witness).
Here's an excerpt of our conversation with Christina:
Christina Li: The artists' tours were meant for you both to converse privately with each selected artist while getting to know their practices and the city. Did the public aspect of the Nadim Abbas' tour and your experience of the commercial tours suggest a different perspective of how the format could function from your initial perception? How has this attempt challenged your thinking in mediating and presenting the immediate experience and documentation of these tours to a larger audience?
Latitudes: Although the commercial tours were taking place regularly by prior arrangement, we happened to be the only participants on each of the days [Feng Shui tour and Tour of the Devil's Peak]. We tried to keep the artist tours casual and inconspicuous, and to respect the notion of hospitality and privacy in the same way that if we came to your house for dinner, you would not expect us to bring a group of strangers with us. In fact, the day with Yuk King Tan concluded with a household of Filipina domestic workers making food for us – women whose trust and friendship she had earned through her personal affiliations and the concerns of her art. In this case it would obviously have been completely inappropriate and something of a human safari to bring along an audience.
But we had no desire to make the days exclusive or private as if they were some kind of bespoke tourist service. Other people sometimes joined for parts of the days if the artist had suggested it, yet the main point of emphasis was our commitment to the tour in lieu of the typically brief studio visit and a situation in which the artist has had ownership of planning the whole day. If there would be definitely something like an audience present throughout (that might expect to be engaged or come and go) the dynamics and the logistics would have changed.
The artist tours were conceived from the point of view of research, and we have been reluctant to burden the artists or overload the format to the degree that they become durational artworks or somehow theatrical. We are not particularly focused on tidying up whatever their ontological status as art might be and likewise we have deliberately not just invited artists whose work has a clear sympathy with performative, urban research or an obvious relation with sociability or place. We feel it is important that the format is quite malleable to the personality of each artist and that in the same way that you might browse a newspaper or share a car journey with somebody, the tours do not require a wider audience to legitimize them. In the same sense they have not necessarily required documentation to make them valid. However, we have been increasingly interested in the idea of reportage or live broadcast in terms of the ‘making of’ or ‘artist at work’ genre, while at the same time being really wary about our own positions as protagonists and photographs that might seem like they belong in a travel magazine.
The tours in Mexico City took place during five consecutive days right after our arrival, so the way we shared the photographic material was more direct via our Facebook page at the end of each day. The exhibition at Casa del Lago opened only two days after we concluded the last tour, so we had to come up with a straightforward display form. For each tour the photographer Eunice Adorno had accompanied us and in the end we projected a selection of 200 of her images as a slideshow, and displayed a few of them printed on the wall alongside a large map of the city with pins locating the sites we visited. We also had printed itineraries, written by the artists, so anyone could later follow the routes themselves if they so desired.
In Hong Kong we were using Twitter, Instagram, and Vine during the tours, so it was an experiment in documentation-on-the-fly and live journaling which was open to real-time responses. We also made a series of one-minute field recordings. The tweets were archived soon after alongside these recordings, as well as related Facebook posts. We also published blog posts about each of the tours which included many photographs (by us and others) alongside paragraphs from the artists’ itineraries. This might seem to highlight merely mundane technical aspects of the project but it also heightened our interest in further exploring the idea of the curatorial bandwidth beyond exhibition making, something we continued to investigate in following projects such as #OpenCurating.
'End Note(s)' Colophon:
Concept: Heman Chong
Editors: Defne Ayas, Mimi Brown, Heman Chong, Amira Gad, Samuel Saelemakers
Contributors: A Constructed World, Nadim Abbas, Defne Ayas, Oscar van den Boogaard, Mimi Brown, Heman Chong, Chris Fitzpatrick, Amira Gad, Travis Jeppesen, Latitudes, Christina Li, Guy Mannes-Abbott, Samuel Saelemakers, Aaron Schuster
Copy Editors: Janine Armin, Marnie Slater
Production: Amira Gad, Samuel Saelemakers, Heman Chong
Design: Kristin Metho
Printer: Koninglijke Van Gorcum
Publisher: Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art Rotterdam, the Netherlands
First week of the "Moderation(s)" residency at Spring Workshop, Hong Kong (17January 2013)
Nadim Abbas' "Incidents of Travel: Hong Kong" public tour (19 January 2013)
"Temple and Feng Shui Tour", a guided walk around Hong Kong Island & Kowloon (22 January 2013)
Ho Sin Tung "Incidents of Travel: Hong Kong" tour (30 January 2013)
Yuk King Tan's "Incidents of Travel: Hong Kong" tour (3 February 2013)
Tour of Devil's Peak and the Museum of Coastal Defence (6 February 2013)
Samson Young's "Incidents of Travel: Hong Kong" tour (7 February 2013)
Latitudes' Open Day at Spring Workshop on 2 February 2013 (9 February 2013)
"Archive as Method: An Interview with Chantal Wong, Hammad Nasar and Lydia Ngai" of the Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong. Concluding #OpenCurating interview (1 May 2013)
"Digression(s), Entry Point(s): An interview with Heman Chong", Singapore-based artist, curator and writer. Eighth in the #OpenCurating research series. (4 April 2013)
Archive of social media posts related to "Incidents of Travel" tours and photo-documentation.
13 field recordings from 'Incidents of Travel: Hong Kong'
Witte de With opens the group show "The Part In The Story Where A Part Becomes A Part Of Something Else" on May 22, 2014 (21 April 2014)
Interview between Christina Li and Latitudes on 'Incidents of Travel' for Witte de With's 'Witness to Moderation(s)' blog (7 May 2013)
This is the blog of the independent curatorial office Latitudes. Follow us on Facebook and @LTTDS.
All photos: Latitudes | www.lttds.org (except when noted otherwise in the photo caption).
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Witte de With opens the group show "The Part In The Story Where A Part Becomes A Part Of Something Else" on May 22, 2014
|Anthony Marcellini, "The Object In And Of Itself", 2011. Courtesy the artist and Witte de With, Rotterdam.|
The group exhibition "The Part In The Story Where A Part Becomes A Part Of Something Else", opening on 22 May at Rotterdam's Witte de With brings a conclusion to "Moderation(s)", the long-term multifarious programme that began in August 2012 with a teaser event at Spring Workshop, Hong Kong, co-partner of the initiative.
The exhibition, curated by 'moderator' Heman Chong (artist and writer, Singapore) and Samuel Saelemakers (Associate Curator, Witte de With), will include works by +40 artists "gathered around key concepts such as time, duration and space (Douglas Gordon, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, On Kawara), memory and inscription (Ang Song Ming, John Cage, Sharon Hayes), transformation (Bik Van der Pol, Nicolás Lamas), pleasure (Ivan Argote, Chu Yun, Willem de Rooij, Haegue Yang), and encounters (Lee Kit, Narcisse Tordoir)." [from the website].
"Moderation(s)" began in January 2013 with Latitudes' month-long residency at Spring Workshop, Hong Kong, with its project "Incidents of Travel": an invitation to four Hong Kong-based artists – Nadim Abbas, Ho Sin Tung, Yuk King Tan and Samson Young – to develop day-long tours, thus retelling the city and each participant’s artistic concerns through personal itineraries and waypoints.
|Around Kwun Tong market and shops with Samson Young. Photo: Spring Workshop. More photo-documentation here.|
On 31 January a group of "Moderation(s)" participants [Heman Chong, Latitudes (Mariana Cánepa Luna and Max Andrews), Nadim Abbas, Mimi Brown, Chantal Wong, and Yuk King Tan] spent eight hours consulting the Asia Art Archive and engaging in multiple discussions around collectivity, time and knowledge triggered by archival resources [see "Asia Art Archive Intervention"].
Latitudes will also contribute to the forthcoming publication to be released on the occasion of the "The Part In The Story...", with documentation from each of the "Incidents of Travel" tours and an interview with curator Christina Li, Moderation(s)' witness.
|Participants during the Asia Art Archive intervention on 31 January 2013. Photo: Spring Workshop.|
- Nadim Abbas' "Incidents of Travel: Hong Kong" public tour (19 January 2013)
- Ho Sin Tung "Incidents of Travel: Hong Kong" tour (30 January 2013)
- Yuk King Tan's "Incidents of Travel: Hong Kong" tour (3 February 2013)
- Samson Young's "Incidents of Travel: Hong Kong" tour (7 February 2013)
- Latitudes' Open Day at Spring Workshop on 2 February 2013 (9 February 2013)
- "Digression(s), Entry Point(s): An interview with Heman Chong", Singapore-based artist, curator and writer. Eighth in the #OpenCurating research series. (4 April 2013)
- "Archive as Method: An Interview with Chantal Wong, Hammad Nasar and Lydia Ngai" of the Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong. Concluding #OpenCurating interview. (1 May 2013)
- Archive of social media posts related to "Incidents of Travel" tours and photo-documentation.
- Archive of Moderation(s) posts.
This is the blog of the independent curatorial office Latitudes. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
All photos: Latitudes | www.lttds.org (except when noted otherwise in the photo caption)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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".
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.