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Report: Trip to Chicago and Detroit in pictures, 18–25 September 2019

Good morning Chicago!

As we shared in our recent newsletter, in mid-September we had the opportunity to visit Chicago and Detroit, thanks to an invitation from Stephanie Cristello, Artistic Director of EXPO Chicago, who we met last year during the 2018 Amsterdam Art Weekend. As participants of the inaugural collaboration between EXPO CHICAGO and Red Bull Arts Detroit Global Curatorial Initiativea smaller selection of participants had the opportunity to extend their trip to Detroit (21-23 September), in an effort to foster dialogue with the greater Midwest.


18 September 2019: Visiting the Chicago Cultural Center (photo above), the main venue of ‘And Other Such Stories’ the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial curated by Yesomi Umolu, Sepake Angiama and Paulo Tavares. Personal highlights: works by Forensic Architecture, Clemens von Wedemeyer, Theaster Gates, Vincent Meessen, performances by Jimmy Robert, Alexandra Pirici, and the powerful collaboration between the Settler-Colonial City Project and the American Indian Centre. In the afternoon, we visited the Art Institute Chicago and attended a performance by Samson Young at the Chicago Symphony Center.


(Above and below) Museum of Oil— The American Rooms by Territorial Agency on display in the Chicago Cultural Center's Exhibit Hall.
(Above) Work by Oscar Tuazon.
(Above) Work by Clemens von Wedemeyer. 

(Above and below) Room with works by Theaster Gates and Vincent Meessen.
(Above) Works by Wendelien van Oldenborgh (left) and Do Ho Suh (right).
(Above) Movimento Sem Teto do Centro (MSTC) fights on behalf of families experiencing homelessness.
One of the examples of the impactful collaboration between the Settler-Colonial City Project and the American Indian Centre.

The American Indian Centre also contributed with a Land Acknowledgement.
 Performance ‘Descendance du nu (Chicago)’ by Jimmy Robert.

 ‘Re-collection’, 2018–ongoing, a performance by Alexandra Pirici situated in the Grand Army of the Republic Rotunda of the Chicago Cultural Center, a memorial to Civil War veterans.
(Above and three below) ‘In a Cloud, in a Wall, in a Chair: Six Modernist in Mexico at Midcentury’ at the Art Institute Chicago, exploring the impact Mexico had on the lives and artistic practices of Clara Porset, Lola Álvarez Bravo, Anni Albers, Ruth Asawa, Cynthia Sargent, and Sheila Hicks. 
Also at the Art Institute Chicago we were surprised to see that this work by Andrés Jaque on Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona pavilion that recently entered the collection. Can't help to think such work should have been acquired by a Spanish collection, not to mention a Barcelona collecting institution?
A great exhibition with very few photographs by Sara Deraedt at Art Institute Chicago. Since 2008 the artist has been photographing vacuum cleaners as she encounters them in places where they are sold. 
The Flax project started in 2012 by Dutch artist Christien Meindertsma.
Before Samson Young's performance and Q&A at the Chicago Symphony Center.

19 September 2019: Morning session at the Graham Foundation. But first, stop at their beautiful bookstore and their current show by Tatiana Bilbao. In the afternoon, we visited EXPO CHICAGO until we got fair exhaustion and later caught Abraham Cruzvillegas' impressive solo show at The Arts Club of Chicago.

Marking the commencement of the 2019 Curatorial Exchange and Curatorial Forum was a keynote lecture by Artistic Director Zoe Butt from The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre in Ho Chi Minh City.
Mid-morning tour around EXPO CHICAGO.

One of the best stands was this presentation by Brazilian gallery Bergamin & Gomide, an art and architecture atlas of modernist and contemporary Brazil. Curated by Sol Camacho.
“In/Situ” section curated by Jacob Fabricius (artistic director of the Kunsthal Aarhus in Denmark) around EXPO CHICAGO.

We caught ourselves in this picture by Casa Bosques browsing at books in the Index Art Book Fair. 
(Above and below) Solo show ‘The Ballad of Etc.’ by Abraham Cruzvillegas at The Arts Club of Chicago.

20 September 2019: On our last day in Chicago, we joined closed-door presentations by the  2019 Curatorial Exchange participants, moderated by Art Institute Dittmer Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Hendrik Folkerts (Above). Later we attended a lunch at EXPO CHICAGO, and in the afternoon took off with a couple of colleagues, to enjoy the impressive wealth of exhibition-centres the University of Chicago campus has to offer: the Logan Center, The Renaissance Society, the SMART Museum, the Oriental Institute, and the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society.

Above: Assemble and Duval Timothy in collaboration with Demond Melancon and the Material Institute, New Orleans, an exhibition at the Logan Center, The University of Chicago.
 (Above and below) LaToya Ruby Frazer's "The Last Cruze" at The Renaissance Society also in The University of Chicago campus. 
 (Above and two below) Michael Rakowitz's work in one of the galleries of the Oriental Institute also in The University of Chicago campus.
(Above and below) Frederick C. Robie House, aka The Robie House, a landmark building by Frank Lloyd Wright on 5757 S Woodlawn Ave, in the University of Chicago campus.
(Above) Exhibition by Martha Rosler at the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society (also in The University of Chicago campus) centred primarily on her interest in flowers, gardens, and related “green” motifs. 
(Above and two below) "Samson Young: Silver Moon or Golden Star, which will you buy of me?" at the Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago campus.

University of Chicago campus.
In the evening, we attended the opening of the solo exhibition by Vienna-based artist Sarah Ortmeyer at the project space Chicago Manual Style, curated by Stephanie Cristello, artistic director of Expo Chicago. Latitudes collaborated with Ortmeyer in the 2011 exhibition ‘Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs...’ at Meessen de Clercq, Brussels.

One of the outdoors installations at the MBAD African Bead Museum, Detroit.

21 September 2019: Upon arriving in Detroit in the afternoon, our local host Scott Campbell took us to visit the MBAD African Bead Museum, 18 outdoor installations using iron, rock, wood and mirrors by visual storyteller Olayami Dabls on the corner of Grand River and West Grand Blvd, Detroit. (above and three below)



22 September 2019: (Above and 8 photos below) Morning tour by Laura Mott, Senior Curator of Contemporary Art and Design, and curator of the exhibition ‘Landlord Colors: On Art, Economy, and Materiality’ at the Cranbrook Art Museum. "Materiality, a large-scale exhibition and public engagement series that brings together artworks from five international art scenes that have experienced economic and societal upheaval: Italy (the 1960s-80s), Korea (1970s-80s), Cuba (1990s–present), Greece (2009-present), Detroit, USA (1967-present). The exhibition showcases the work of more than 60 artists from a wide variety of backgrounds to highlight shared themes of ingenuity, resourcefulness, and resistance highlighting seminal historic works and new work from contemporary artists such as Reynier Leyva Novo, Zoë Paul, Kostis Velonis, Matthew Angelo Harrison, and Scott Hocking."

Matthew Angelo Harrison, ‘Dark Povera Part 1’, 2017.
Two chairs by Olayami Dabls of the Dabls’ MBAD African Bead Museum.

Afternoon visiting Red Bull Arts Detroit studio and gallery space. We are taken around their current show ‘Sick Time, Sleepy Time, Crip Time: Against Capitalism’s Temporal Bullying’ by the Red Bull Arts Detroit Curatorial Fellow Taraneh Fazeli.
Anders Ruhwald’s installation occupies an entire apartment in Detroit’s Eastern Market neighbourhood. 
In the afternoon we had time to squeeze in a visit to The Heidelberg Projectin the McDougall-Hunt neighbourhood on Detroit's east side. (Above and 10 below) Since 1986 artist Tyree Guyton (1955) has progressively transformed vacant houses and lots on Heidelberg street into one large outdoor installation. Guyton's "grotesque materialism" project is one of the most visited sites in Detroit, attracting 200,000 visitors annually.



23 September 2019: Morning studio visit with artist Matthew Angelo Harrison (no photos), and pm appointment with Executive Director Elysia Borowy-Reeder and current
Ford Curatorial Fellows Jova Lynne and Tiziana Baldenebro of The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, which was in between shows. MOCAD is the keeper of Mike Kelley's ‘Mobile Homestead’"located on the grounds of the museum, it is a full-scale replica of the home in which Kelley grew up: a single-story, ranch-style house in the Detroit suburb of Westland. Kelley, who died in Los Angeles in 2012, sought to ensure that the Mobile Homestead remain relevant to the cultural interests and concerns of its local communities. In that spirit, the home was designed with a detachable facade, allowing it to be driven to neighbourhoods throughout the city, offering public services during its travels."



The official programme finished and we had time to visit the Michigan building on 220 Bagley Avenue (above and two below) which was designed for Detroit philanthropist and movie theatre tycoon John H. Kunsky. It opened in August 1926 with the film "You Never Know Women" with Florence Vidor and Lowell Sherman, and could seat over 4,000 people who enjoyed a programme of five shows daily. It hosted live performances by The Marx Brothers, Betty Grable and Bob Hope, and many others. The theatre was built on the site of the small garage where automobile industrialist Henry Ford built his first automobile, the quadricycle (the garage was later disassembled and moved to The Henry Ford Museum in the nearby suburb of Dearborn). It closed in 1976 after operating as a nightclub named The Michigan Palace. In 1977 the building's owners paid $525,000 to gut the theatre and build a three-level, 160-space parking deck inside it. The site of Ford Motor's birthplace replaced by a movie theatre, reclaimed by the automobile.


Evening walk to see Canada on the other side of the river.

24 September 2019: (Above and below) On our last day, we visited the Detroit Institute of Arts, home to Diego Rivera murals and an impressive 19th and 20th Century collection. The "Detroit Industry" murals (1932-1933) were conceived by Diego Rivera (1886-1957) as a tribute to the city's manufacturing base and labour force of the 1930s. Rivera completed it in 11 months and was paid a 20,000 U$ fee. Rivera's murals show the automobile manufacturing process, Coaltulicue (the Aztec goddess of creation and war), the production of the 1932 Ford V-8, personnel involved in the industry as well as managers and Henry Ford, giving all of them equal stature.


Our last expedition was to John K. King Used & Rare Books on 901 W Lafayette Blvd, holding over a million books in stock. No computer search, just browsing.


→ RELATED CONTENT:
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Latitudes' Open Day at Spring Workshop on 2 February 2013

On February 2nd, 2013 Spring Workshop hosted an Open Day during which Latitudes discussed, together with Moderation(s) moderator Heman Chong, their month-long residency in Hong Kong. The contribution to the project consisted in realising the second iteration of "Incidents of Travel",  with tours by Hong Kong-based artists Nadim Abbas (19 January), Yuk King Tan (24 January), Ho Sin Tung (29 January) and Samson Young (7 February) – amongst other explorations around the city, such as to Mai Po marshes, Feng Shui tour or to Devil's Peak

The evening began tracing "Incidents of Travel"'s origins with itineraries and tours organised in previous projects such as the seminar-on-wheels for the 8th Sharjah Biennial (2007) as well as during Portscapes (2009) in the Port of Rotterdam. After introducing "Incidents of Travel" in Mexico City and the four tours in Hong Kong, we fielded questions from the audience and discussed the ongoing research project #OpenCurating and its origins with the editorial project realised for The Last Newspaper (2010) exhibition at the New Museum in New York.


 Moderation(s)' moderator: artist, writer and curator Heman Chong.


 Food time! Thai food from the neighbouring Cooked food Market on Nam Long Shan Road, Aberdeen.

Related contents:
Soundscapes of "Incidents of Travel" Hong Kong;
Storify "Incidents of Travel";
Flickr album of the four tours of "Incidents of Travel".

All photos: Spring Workshop.
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Samson Young's "Incidents of Travel: Hong Kong" tour

As part of Moderation(s), the year-long collaboration in 2013 between Witte de With, Rotterdam, and Spring Workshop, Hong Kong, curators-in-residence Latitudes have invited artist Samson Young to develop a day-long tour of Hong Kong retelling the city and artistic concerns through personal itineraries and waypoints.  

To complement the tour, please check the archive of twitter and facebook and SoundCloud posts.

#IncidentsOfTravel #Moderations 



"Incidents of Travel: Hong Kong"
by Samson Young
7 February 2013
  
I am very envious of artists who are able to describe their practices in a manner that is concise, succinct, and consistent. To tell one’s life story is also to confess. I purge my catalogue of works and rebuild my identity (as told by images, sounds, and self-descriptions) every couple of years. Moderation(s)asks that I create a tour that “articulates the city and (my) artistic practice through routes and waypoints.” Are routes and waypoints more authentic than a studio visit? Are the vernacular, the eccentric and the marginal more “real,” in the same way that punk is real and techno apparently isn’t? The pressure to define the unique and the authentic is perhaps growing more urgent with globalization, but behind each assiduous defence of the authentic lies what Regina Bendix calls “unarticulated anxiety of losing the subject” (Bendix 1997). 

During this tour, I eavesdrop on my own works in the presence of six others. We take an early morning sound-walk around the Kwun Tong industrial district, visit a site near the City Hall in Central where the now-demolished Queen's Pier was once located, and trespass the frontier closed area near the Hong Kong-China border. In between locations, we listen to recordings of music and/or read texts that have informed my work one way or another.


 The sound walk begins at 75 Hung To Road in the industrial district of Kwun Tong.


Sound-walk: 75 Hung To Road, Kwun Tong 

We begin the tour at 75 Hung To Road. I will conduct again a sound walk that I created back in 2009. Participants of the sound-walk follow me on a route through the Kwun Tong industrial district. To create this work I walked the same route a number of times at different dates and times, generating one full recording in each walkthrough. I then edited these recordings into a single soundtrack, to which the participants listen during the sound-walk. During the sound-walk, I follow my own footstep by listening to the sound marks in the soundtrack, to ensure that I am in sync with my recorded presence.

 Samson Young leads us while listening to the 44 min. soundtrack "Kwun Tong Soundwalk" on mp3 players.

 Young takes us through the bus station.
  Photo: Spring Workshop.


 Condemned industrial buildings around Kwun Tong.
Around Kwun Tong's shops and markets. Photo: Spring Workshop.
More condemned buildings. When Young recorded the soundtrack in 2009 these places were still open, a proof of the swift gentrification of Kwun Tong.
A short pause at Yue Man Square Rest Garden. Photo: Spring Workshop.


Soundwalk-ing in a bus terminus. Photo: Spring Workshop.


Tsim Bei Tsui, Frontier Closed Area 

I was born in Hong Kong but mostly educated in Australia. I’ve always felt that children of Mainland Chinese parents had an easier time answering the question, “Where are you from?” They simply say, “I’m Chinese.” I always feel more natural saying I’m from Hong Kong, rather than plainly stating that I’m Chinese. Or, if I say I’m Chinese, I feel the need to add the footnote that I was born in Hong Kong. I am frankly confused by all of this. For the longest time, I avoided identity politics in my work, but the national education saga in 2012 prompted me to revisit this issue.

Hong Kong and Mainland China are physically separated by the ShenzhenRiver and a great wall of wired fencing, and south to the border are restricted zones known as the Frontier Closed Area. Entry into the Frontier Closed Area without an official permit is strictly forbidden. In October 2005, the then chief executive Donald Tsang announced a proposal to drastically reduce the Frontier Closed Area. In February 2012, 740 hectares of land were initially opened up for public access. The proposal will be implemented in phases, and other areas will soon follow suit. Since July 2012, I had been systemically collecting the sound of places and/or objects that separate the two regions. I recorded the vibration of the wired fencing with contact microphones and the water sounds of the Shenzhen River with hydrophones. I rearranged these recordings into sound compositions. I then re-transcribed these sound collages into graphical notations.

  Walking through the fields that border China.
 Nearby Kaw Liu Village.

 Pig farm guarded by angry dogs.


 New development to house relocated villagers following highway construction.


En route. Photo: Spring Workshop
 Self-build constructions/storage along the way.


Young introducing the making of the soundtrack "Liquid Borders" we are about to listen to.

Since early 2012, 740 hectares of land have been opened up for public access, and buildings have been constructed nearer the fence which runs along the Shenzhen River.


 Bordering the fence while listening to the "Liquid Border" soundtrack.



Sound recording. Photo: Spring Workshop

Queen’s Pier in Edinburgh Place.
Queen's Pier was a public pier in central in front of the City Hall. For decades it served not only as a public pier but also as a major ceremonial arrival and departure point. The pier witnessed the official arrival in Hong Kong of all of Hong Kong's governors since 1925; Elizabeth II landed there in 1975, as did the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1989. On 26 April 2007, the pier officially ceased operation. The government’s plan to demolish the pier to make way for a new highway was met with fierce opposition by conservationists. Despite the public outcry, Queen's Pier was demolished in the February of 2008.

I was living in New York when all of this happened. In 2009 I composed and directed a music theatre work entitled “God Save the Queen.” The work started out as a requiem for the Queen’s Pier. It evolved into a hymn to the structures, both physical and symbolic, of my teenage days – which were also the last of the colony’s. The performance was accompanied by a mixture of live footage from five theatre-based CCTV cameras, and pre-recorded clips of screen icon Helena Law Lan (who often played royalty for TV), dressed as the Queen.

 1956 City Hall building that connected with the now-demolished Queen's Pier in Edinburgh Place.
Photo: Spring Workshop

The lotus pond, University of Hong Kong
 


I was what you might call a “straight-down-the-center” composer to begin with. For over a decade I operated only in the concert in the capacity of a composer of the Western classical tradition. Now I do all kinds of weird things in all sorts of weird places. Chan Hing-yan, my mentor during my years at HKU, had a looming influence on me. I think a lot of what I do today is a reaction against what (I imagine that) I’d learnt during those formative years – a sort of a “creative misreading” as Harold Bloom would put it.

 To end the tour Samson reads a passage of his dissertation about his approach to music composition and cultural politics.
Talking nearby the lotus pond at "Hong Kong U". Photo: Spring Workshop


Samson Young (1979) is a composer, sound artist and media artist. Young received training in computer music and composition at Princeton University under the supervision of computer music pioneer Paul Lansky. He is currently an assistant professor in sonic art and physical computing at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong. Young is also the principle investigator at the Laboratory for Ubiquitous Musical Expression (L.U.M.E), and artistic director of the experimental sound advocacy organization Contemporary Musiking. 
In 2007, he became the first from Hong Kong to receive the Bloomberg Emerging Artist Award for his audio-visual project “The Happiest Hour”. His brainwave non-performance “I am thinking in a room, different from the one you are hearing in now” received a Jury Selection award at the Japan Media Art Festival, and an honorary mention at the digital music and sound art category of Prix Ars Electronica.


Festival presentations and honours include Prix Ars Electronica (Austria 2012); Japan Media Art Festival (Japan 2012); Sydney Springs International New Music Festival (Australia 2001), the Canberra International Music Festival (Australia 2008), ISCM World Music Days (Australia 2010), MONA FOMA Festival of Music and Art (2011); the Bowdoin International Music Festival (US 2004), Bang on a Can Music Summer Music Festival (US 2005), Perspectives International Festival of Media Art (US 2009); Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt (Germany 2006); Dark Music Days (Iceland 2008); Kuala Lumpur Contemporary Music Festival (Malaysia 2009); amongst others. His music received performances by Hong Kong Sinfonietta, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, London NASH Ensemble, City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong, Bang on a Can and summer institute fellows, Network for New Music, New Millennium Ensemble, SO Percussion, Sydney Song Company, Hong Kong New Music Ensemble, MIVOS Quartet, among others.




Related contents:


All photos: Latitudes | www.lttds.org (except when noted otherwise in the photo caption)
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