Longitudes

Helene Romakin interviews Latitudes for artfridge.de



Over the course of the Summer, Helene Romakin (PhD candidate at the Institute for the History and Theory of the Architecture, ETH Zurich) interviewed us for the Berlin-based online platform www.artfridge.de run by the art historian and curator Anna Lena Werner.

As Helene mentions in her introduction, we met last July in Valencia, after Mariana's conversation with Lara Almarcegui on the occasion of her solo exhibition “Agras Volcano. Mining Rights” at the Institut Valencià d'Art Modern (IVAM). Afterwards, we had a lively discussion on several topics surrounding Lara's practice, our thoughts on other artistic practices tackling a range of environmental issues, the Extinction Rebellion, etc. so we were happy to continue our conversation when she proposed doing this interview looking back at several projects we produced in the mid-two thousands. 


RELATED CONTENTS:
  • Conversation for the exhibition catalogue "Limits to Growth" by Nicholas Mangan (Sternberg Press, 2016) 31 October 2016
  • In conversation with Lucas Ihlein for Artlink Magazine 5 September 2016
  • Witte de With and Spring Workshop's 'Moderation(s)' publication 'End Note(s)' is out! 5 March 2015
  • Interview with Nicholas Mangan in Mousse Magazine #47, February–March 2015 11 February 2015
  • "Focus Interview: Iratxe Jaio & Klaas van Gorkum", frieze, Issue 157, September 2013 14 September 2013

Cover Story—April 2018: Dates, 700 BC to the present: Michael Rakowitz

Latitudes' home page www.lttds.org


The April 2018 monthly Cover Story "Dates, 700 BC to the present: Michael Rakowitz" is now up on Latitudes' homepage: www.lttds.org

"As Michael Rakowitz’s fourth plinth commission is unveiled in London’s Trafalgar Square, this month’s cover story image revisits Return (2004-ongoing) a related project by the artist that also speaks about the turbulent history of Iraq. And dates. In London, Michael has deployed thousands of date syrup cans to make a 1:1 scale recreation of Lamassu, the fantastic winged bull that graced the gates of the city of Nineveh from 700 BC until it was destroyed by Isis in 2015."

—> Continue reading
—> After April it will be archived here.

Cover Stories' are published on a monthly basis on Latitudes' homepage and feature past, present or forthcoming projects, research, writing, artworks, exhibitions, films, objects or field trips related to our curatorial activities.

RELATED CONTENT:

  • Archive of Monthly Cover Stories
  • Cover Story – March 2018: "Armenia's ghost galleries" 6 March 2018
  • Cover Story – February 2018: Paradise, promises and perplexities 5 February 2018
  • Cover Story – January 2018: I'll be there for you, 2 January 2018
  • Cover Story – December 2017: "Tabet's Tapline trajectory", 4 December 2017
  • Cover Story – November 2017: "Mining negative monuments: Ângela Ferreira, Stone Free, and The Return of the Earth", 1 November 2017
  • Cover Story – October 2017: Geologic Time at Stanley Glacier 11 October 2017
  • Cover Story – September 2017: Dark Disruption. David Mutiloa's 'Synthesis' 1 September 2017
  • Cover Story – August 2017: Walden 7; or, life in Sant Just Desvern 1 August 2017
  • Cover Story – July 2017: 4.543 billion 3 July 2017
  • Cover Story – June 2017: Month Light–Absent Forms 1 June 2017
  • Cover Story – May 2017: S is for Shale, or Stuart; W is for Waterfall, or Whipps 1 May 2017
  • Cover Story – April 2017: Banff Geologic Time 3 April 2017


    Cover Story—February 2018: Paradise, Promises and Perplexities


    Latitudes' home page www.lttds.org 

    The February 2018 Monthly Cover Story "Paradise, Promises and Perplexities" is now up on www.lttds.org – after this month it will be archived here.

    "This month marks ten years since the opening of Greenwashing, curated by Latitudes and Ilaria Bonacossa. Subtitled Environment: Perils, Promises and Perplexities, this exhibition at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, addressed the melding of corporate agendas and individual ethics in the wake of the exhaustion of traditional environmentalism." Continue reading

    Cover Stories' are published on a monthly basis on Latitudes' homepage and feature past, present or forthcoming projects, research, writing, artworks, exhibitions, films, objects or field trips related to our curatorial activities.

    RELATED CONTENT:


    Archive of Monthly Cover Stories
    Cover Story – January 2018: I'll be there for you, 2 January 2018
    Cover Story – December 2017: "Tabet's Tapline trajectory", 4 December 2017
    Cover Story – November 2017: "Mining negative monuments: Ângela Ferreira, Stone Free, and The Return of the Earth", 1 November 2017
    Cover Story – October 2017: Geologic Time at Stanley Glacier 11 October 2017
    Cover Story – September 2017: Dark Disruption. David Mutiloa's 'Synthesis' 1 September 2017
    Cover Story – August 2017: Walden 7; or, life in Sant Just Desvern 1 August 2017
    Cover Story – July 2017: 4.543 billion 3 July 2017
    Cover Story – June 2017: Month Light–Absent Forms 1 June 2017
    Cover Story – May 2017: S is for Shale, or Stuart; W is for Waterfall, or Whipps 1 May 2017
    Cover Story – April 2017: Banff Geologic Time 3 April 2017
    Cover Story – March 2017: Time travel with Jordan Wolfson 1 March 2017
    Cover Story — February 2017: The Dutch Assembly, five years on 1 February 2017
    Cover Story – January 2017: How open are open calls? 4 January 2017


      In conversation for the exhibition catalogue "Limits to Growth" by Nicholas Mangan (Sternberg Press, 2016)


      Photos: Latitudes.

      After much anticipation, we are elated to see (and touch!) Latitudes' five-part interview with Nicholas Mangan as part of his exhibition catalogue "Nicholas Mangan. Limits to Growth" (Sternberg Press, 2016). The publication is designed by Žiga Testen and includes newly commissioned texts by Ana Teixeira Pinto and Helen Hughes, alongside illustrations of Mangan's work and historical source material.

      The five-part interview weaves together a discussion around five of his recent works ‘Nauru, Notes from a Cretaceous World’ (2009), ‘A World Undone’ (2012), ‘Progress in action’ (2013), ‘Ancient Lights’ (2015) and his newest piece ‘Limits to Growth’ (2016) commissioned for this exhibition survey. Latitudes’ dialogue with Mangan, began around a research trip to Melbourne in 2014, and continued in the form of the public conversation event that took place at the Chisenhale Gallery, London, in 2015, as well as over Skype, email, snail mail and walks.






       

      The publication release coincides with Mangan's eponimous exhibition survey which began in July in Melbourne's Monash University Museum of Art and just opened this past weekend in Brisbane's IMA. The show will further tour to Berlin's KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Summer 2017.

      "Nicholas Mangan. Limits to Growth" 

      Publisher: Sternberg Press with the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; and Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne.
      Editor: Aileen Burns, Charlotte Day, Krist Gruijthuijsen, Johan Lundh. 
      Texts: Latitudes, Helen Hughes, Ana Teixeira Pinto 
      Design: Žiga Testen;
      October 2016, English;
      17 x 24 cm, 246 pages + 2 inserts, edition of 1500; 

      40 b/w and 102 color ill., with color poster and postcard Softcover;
      ISBN 978-3-95679-252-6;
      30 Euros.






















      RELATED CONTENT:

      In conversation with Lucas Ihlein for Artlink Magazine

      The September issue of Artlink Magazine – a quarterly themed magazine covering contemporary art and ideas from Australia and the Asia-Pacific – includes a conversation we recently made with artist Lucas Ihlein. Ihlein's projects explore subjects as diverse as agriculture, gardening and social ecology, everyday life, avant-garde cinema history, fan culture, urban planning, communication and social relations.

      The interview, titled "1:1 scale art and the Yeomans Project in North Queensland", is preceded with an intro contextualising our conversation and how we met:

      Lucas Ihlein and Ian Milliss, "The Yeomans Project", field trip. Farmer Peter Clinch demonstrates the keyline irrigation channels at The Oaks Organics, Camden, NSW, 2014. Photo by Caren Florance.

      We first met Lucas Ihlein in May 2014 at the recommendation of artist Nicholas Mangan. We had been invited to Melbourne to participate in Gertrude Contemporary’s Visiting Curator Program in partnership with Monash University of Art Design & Architecture, and had taken a few days out to visit the Biennale of Sydney and meet some Sydney-based artists. Nicholas was already familiar with our curatorial interests, stemming from ecology and site-specific practices; indeed, we’ve recently made an extended interview with him for the catalogue of his exhibition "Limits to Growth", so his matchmaking with Lucas was prescient. We talked for hours and have been corresponding ever since, with a view to collaborating further.

      We were struck by the breadth and enthusiasm of Lucas’s practice and his voracious approach to the process of learning from the point of view of a novice. Where other people might pain over the policing of the roles of artist, curator or researcher, Lucas happily didn’t spend much time worrying about it. Accordingly, although it was the engagement with social and environmental ecology that initially piqued our interest, we soon realised that his was a collaborative practice that has embraced, for example, the re-enactment of “expanded cinema” works from the 1960s and 1970s (in the form of Teaching and Learning Cinema, run with Louise Curham) as well as a “blogging as art”, an approach that really chimed with our project for The Last Newspaper for which we had edited a weekly newspaper within an exhibition.

      Indeed, a key impulse of our approach to the projects we have undertaken as Latitudes around art and ecology, in the broadest sense, has been to resist the narrow restraints of normative environmental-concern ecology, in part following Felix Guattari’s essay "The Three Ecologies" (2000), to encompass social and political relations, human subjectivity as well as historical research. In other words, thinking about a practice that does not necessarily give primacy to exhibition‑making as well as considering what an ecological art project might mean in terms of process and site, and thinking through what acting ecologically might entail in relation to acting curatorially, acting editorially, or acting historically, and so on.

      Looking back on our projects in collaboration with the Royal Society of Arts “Arts & Ecology” programme—a public commission for London with artist Tue Greenfort (2005–8), our publication "Land Art: A Cultural Ecology Handbook" (Royal Society of Arts/Arts Council England, 2006), and the symposium of “Art, Ecology and the Politics of Change”, 8th Sharjah Biennial (2007)—as well as the exhibition "Greenwashing. Environment: Perils, Promises and Perplexities", Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin (2008), they now seem to belong to a very specific time when green issues gained wider traction. One might crudely say this began with the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change in 2006 and effectively ended, or was overshadowed, by the 2008 financial crisis and its grim legacies.

      We begin this interview at a moment when we’re revisiting some of the concerns left in the wake of such projects from the near past while preparing a group exhibition for CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux in 2017 around the carbon cycle and narratives of raw materials. At the time of writing Lucas has just returned from Guangzhou, where he has been exploring the geographical and social dimensions of sea level rise in the Pearl River Delta.


      Continue reading... 

      Lucas Ihlein is an Australia Council for the Arts Fellow in Emerging and Experimental Arts. He is currently showing alongside Trevor Yeung (Hong Kong) in Sea Pearl White Cloud 海珠白雲 at 4a Centre for Contemporary Asian Art until 24 September 2016. Ihlein’s collaborative project Sugar vs the Reef will culminate in an exhibition at Artspace Mackay, Queensland, in mid-2018. 


       RELATED CONTENT:

      Interview with Nicholas Mangan for his forthcoming catalogue ‘Limits to Growth’

      Nicholas Mangan, ‘Ancient Lights’ (2015). Installation views, Chisenhale Gallery, 2015. Co-commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery, London and Artspace, Sydney. Courtesy the artist; Labor Mexico; Sutton Gallery, Melbourne; and Hopkinson Mossman, Auckland. Photo: Andy Keate.

      We have just wrapped-up an interview with Melbourne-based artist Nicholas Mangan to be published by Sternberg Press as the catalogue of his forthcoming solo exhibition ‘Limits to Growth’, co-produced by Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA), Melbourne (opening July 20) and Institute of Modern Art (IMA), Brisbane (where it will be on view from October 29), it will later travel to Kunst-Werke Institute of Contemporary Art in Berlin (summer 2017)

      The five-part interview weaves together a discussion of his recent works ‘Nauru, Notes from a Cretaceous World’ (2009), ‘A World Undone’ (2012), ‘Progress in action’ (2013), ‘Ancient Lights’ (2015) and his newest piece ‘Limits to Growth’ (2016), to be premiered at Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA). Part of an ongoing dialogue with Mangan, it developed from a public conversation event that took place at Chisenhale Gallery, London on 7 July 2015. 

      ‘Limits to Growth’ references a 1972 report commissioned by the Club of Rome that analysed a computer simulation of the Earth and human systems: the consequences of exponential economic and population growth given finite resource supplies. The overlapping themes and flows of energies in the five of Mangan’s projects discussed in the interview might be read as an echo of the modelling and systems dynamics used by the simulation in order to try and better understand the limits of the world’s ecosystems. 

      Mangan is presenting Ancient Lights’ (2015) at his Mexico City gallery LABOR on April 22, a work co-commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery in London and Artspace in Sydney.

      In conversation between Latitudes and Nicholas Mangan, Chisenhale Gallery, 7 July 2015. Photos: Manuela Barczewski.

      RELATED CONTENT:


      Witte de With and Spring Workshop's 'Moderation(s)' publication 'End Note(s)' is out!

      Cover and backcover of 'End Note(s)'.


      'End Note(s)' is finally out! The publication marks the conclusion of two years of residencies, discussions, editorial and exhibition projects within the framework of 'Moderation(s)', a multiform collaboration between Hong Kong's Spring Workshop and Rotterdam's Witte de With, steered by Singaporean artist and curator Heman Chong

      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). 

       
       Section of the book (pp. 61–89) dedicated to Latitudes' "Incidents of Travel". Here the names of the artists and the locations visited during each of their tours.

      Itinerary and photo-documentation of Nadim Abbas' tour on 19 January 2013.


      (Above and below) Itinerary and photo-documentation of Yuk King Tan's tour on 24 January 2013.

       Itinerary and photo-documentation of Ho Sin Tung's tour on 29 January 2013.


      (Above and below) Itinerary and photo-documentation of Samson Young's tour, 7 February 2013.

      Reedited version of a conversation with curator Christina Li – Moderation(s)' witness – originally published on Witte de With's blog dedicated to the project. 

      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. 



      Visiting Waterfall Bay with Nadim Abbas was part of the public tour on 19 January 2013. Photo: Trevor Yeung.

      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. 



      Visiting the Espacio Escultórico at U.N.A.M. with Jerónimo Hagerman, one of the five tours around Mexico City in September 2012. Photo: Eunice Adorno.

      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

      ISBN: 978-94-9143-529-4

       
      RELATED CONTENT:
        
      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.

      Interview with Nicholas Mangan in Mousse Magazine #47, February–March 2015

      The February–March 2015 issue of Mousse Magazine (#47) includes the interview 'What Lies Beneath' between Melbourne-based artist Nicholas Mangan (1979, Geelong) and Mariana Cánepa Luna of Latitudes.  

       Layout of the interview in English and Italian on the pages of Mousse Magazine.

      The interview centers primarily on discussing the artists' methodologies through two of Mangan's recent works: 'A World Undone' – currently on view as part of Witte de With's show 'Art in The Age of...Energy' (23 January–3 May 2015) – and his film and sculptural work 'Nauru - Notes From A Cretaceous World' which will soon be featured as part of the New Museum's 2015 Triennial: Surround Audience curated by Lauren Cornell (Curator, 2015 Triennial, Digital Projects and Museum as Hub) and artist Ryan Trecartin.

      Read the full review here. Following is an excerpt of the beginning of their conversation: 


      'Dowiyogo’s Ancient Coral Coffee Table', 2010. Courtesy of the artist, Sutton gallery Melbourne and Hopkinson Mossman Auckland. 


      MCL: Unearthing narratives embedded within matter has been at the very core of your practice for some time now. Your most recent sculptural and film works have inquired into natural materials, their transit and energy flow and how their transformation – be it human-induced or ecological – have a social, political and an economic dimension. I'm particularly thinking of your 2010 project 'Nauru: Notes from a Cretaceous World' – featured at the New Museum 2015 Triennial– which focuses on the story of the tiny Micronesian island Republic of Nauru and its financial collapse as a consequence of a century of corrosive colonial exploitation of its phosphate ore resources. Could you elaborate on how this notion of transformation is explored in your sculpture works (traditionally static) and films (moving image) and how you have come to interrelate the two in the spatial narrative of your installations? 

      NM: As transformation is a process occurring in time, the necessity to explore duration has led me to test moving image as a sculptural possibility, to express not only the temporality of the assemblage, but also the forces and drives that produce such aggregations. In the video ‘Nauru: Notes from a Cretaceous World', narration sits over found footage and material that I shot myself, providing an account of Nauru’s material history as shaped by anthropogenic forces. The narration attempts to draw out the various histories that are embedded in material forms. In more recent projects, such as ‘A World Undone’ (2012)and ‘Progress In Action’ (2013), I have attempted to produce an intensified intersection between moving image and sculpture, enabling the materials to narrate themselves.
       
      'Nauru - Between A Rock and A Hard Place' installation view at Art Gallery Of New South whales 2009. Courtesy of the artist, Sutton gallery in Melbourne and Hopkinson Mossman in Auckland. Photo: Carley Wright.

      'Mined over matter', 2012. C-print on cotton paper, 69 x 103cm. 
      Courtesy of the artist and LABOR Mexico.


      'Matter over mined (for A World Undone)', 2012. C-print on cotton paper 69 x 103cm. 
      Courtesy of the artist and LABOR, Mexico.


      'A World Undone', 2012 (video Stills). HD colour, silent, 12min continuous loop. 
      Courtesy of the artist and LABOR Mexico.

      Mangan works with LABOR (México DF), Sutton Gallery (Melbourne) and Hopkinson Mossman (Auckland).

      Related Content:

      Visiting Curator Program, Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne, 12 May–7 June 2014 (28 April 2014).

      'Nice to Meet You – Erick Beltrán. Some Fundamental Postulates' by Max Andrews on Mousse Magazine #31 (30 November 2011) 

      Interview 'Free Forms' with Lauren Cornell part of Latitudes' 2012–13 long-term research #OpenCurating, released on April 2013 via Issuu.



      This is the blog of the independent curatorial office Latitudes. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
      All photos:
      Latitudes | www.lttds.org (except when noted otherwise in the photo caption).
      Work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

      "Focus Interview: Iratxe Jaio & Klaas van Gorkum", frieze, Issue 157, September 2013

       'Work in Progress', 2013, production still. All images courtesy: the artists

      The image of ‘work’ and the relation between art and labour
        
      Max Andrews: I’d like to talk about your current project, provisionally titled Work in Progress, set in the Lea-Artibai district of the Basque Country where Iratxe grew up. It began with your curiosity about the informal factories in the area where women trim moulded rubber parts destined for the car industry. What drew you to this subject?

      Iratxe Jaio & Klaas van Gorkum: When we encountered these groups of women sitting in a circle in their makeshift workspaces, surrounded by crates and boxes, performing tedious repetitive tasks together, it struck us as an incredibly complex and layered image. Although it echoed a traditional and communal way of life in what is still a mainly rural area, instead of spinning wool or mending fishing nets these women were working with abstract industrial forms which had no direct use-value to them. A closer inspection of the pieces revealed the brand names of multinational corporations such as Renault, Mercedes and Volkswagen. The women are from countries like Moldova, Peru or Senegal, yet it’s a scene that is at once domestic, local and Basque, while being replete with the contradictions of global capitalism.

      MA:  You are dealing with a representation of working, while also interweaving your own labour by making a film.

      IJ & KvG:  We have a long-standing interest in the image of ‘work’, and in the relation between art and labour. So we took this scene as the starting point for a cinematic analysis of production processes, both in these semi-clandestine work­shops as well as in the main fac­tory itself. Our approach has been strictly dispassionate, free from any superficial attempt to give the workers a voice. Instead, we focused our camera on the disciplinary conditions and rationalization of these processes, reproducing them in the montage by breaking up complex scenes into smaller units and stitching them back together again.

      MA: How has Jorge Oteiza’s Laboratorio de Tizas (Chalk Laboratory, c.1972–4) – thousands of small sculpture-studies made by the late Basque sculptor, yet never conceived as art works per se – come to play a key role in the project?

      IJ & KvG:  To extend the analogy between editing a movie and working on an assembly line, we wanted to ‘splice’ ourselves into the relations of production at the factory by inventing an artistic task that resembled the one already being performed by the workers. So we hired the factory workers to make synthetic resin casts of Oteiza’s ‘Tizas’. Turning Oteiza’s experimental sculpture laboratory into a mass-production line, and recording it on camera is, in essence, a formal exercise that juxtaposes the production of Modernist sculpture with industrial manufacturing. It also allowed us to stage an image of the artist at work, and to superimpose it onto that of the wage-worker, ultimately presenting both as ideologically loaded social constructions.
       


       Producing time in between other things, 2011, installation view at MUSAC, León.

      MA:  Is this project also a way for you to obliquely address the idea of Basque sculpture, from Oteiza and Eduardo Chillida through to Ibon Aranberri or Asier Mendizabal, for example?

      IJ & KvG:  The legacy of Basque Modernism loomed over this project long before we decided explicitly to include a reference to the work of Oteiza – although, in hindsight, it seems inevitable. But to speak of ‘Basque sculpture’ is to turn it into a closed-off category. We prefer to consider how the political function and significance that was once attributed to the language of abstract sculpture in Basque society holds up under contemporary conditions.

      MA:  In combining a study of the serial production of art with a social investigation into industrial manufacturing, you’re also reflecting on yourselves as cultural labourers. This was an important motif in your 2011 work Producing time in between other things (a project I co-curated with Mariana Cánepa Luna). Do you find it hard to be artists who make objects?

      IJ & KvG:  Oteiza once said that it wasn’t he who made the sculptures, but that the sculptures made him a sculptor. And now that he is a sculptor, why should he create more? In a way, we have been travelling in the opposite direction. We’ve always referred to ourselves as artists who do not make objects, and we only started making things to be able to address the notion of practice itself. In Producing time in between other things, for example, the 50 ornamental wooden legs we manufactured were simply a by-product of the task we had set ourselves: to learn how to use the woodturning lathe left by Klaas’s late grandfather, a retired factory worker. We took his place behind the machine, and recorded our ac­tiv­ities on camera, not just as a ‘measurement’ of the passage of time required to gain a certain skill, but also as a reflection on how the disciplinary conditions of the wage-worker’s spare time inform our notion of artistic freedom and vice versa. Yet we’re also very much indebted to those thousands of ‘How to ...’ videos on YouTube, from cooking a steak to casting polyurethane action figures. Considering the generosity of all that is being shared between the producers and the viewers of these videos, is it any wonder that actually eating the steak doesn’t even enter into the picture?
       

      Max Andrews



      Iratxe Jaio and Klaas van Gorkum live in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and have been working together since 2001. They recently completed a residency at LIPAC, Buenos Aires, Argentina. They will present a solo exhibition at FRAC Aquitaine, Bordeaux, France, opening on 4 October.

      Interview between Christina Li and Latitudes on 'Incidents of Travel' for Witte de With's 'Witness to Moderation(s)' blog

      From April, 2013 onwards, writer and curator Christina Li (HK/NL) takes up the role of a designated Witness to Moderation(s) the year-long programme of exhibitions, performances and residencies that unfolds between Witte de With in Rotterdam and Spring in Hong Kong. As such, Li is invited to post regular blog entries responding to the multi-faceted projects part of Moderation(s).

      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.


       Tour with Lara Almarcegui and botanist Remko Andeweg around the Port of Rotterdam, 8 November 2009. Photo: Latitudes. More images of the tour here.

      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.



       Photo: Eduardo Loza

      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.


      Nadim Abbas tour, 19 January 2013. Waterfall Bay Park's waterfall. Photo: Trevor Young
       
      Li: Since these tours have always been meant for you both to converse privately with each selected artist and to get to know their practices and the city, has opening these tours up conjure a different perspective of how these tours could function for you both initially? How has this attempt challenge your thinking in mediating and presenting the immediate experience and documentation of these tours to a larger audience?

      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.)


       Photo: Adrián Villalobos

      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.


        1km of floating boardwalks, Deep Bay, Mai Po Marshes. Photo: Latitudes.

      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.

      A group of Japanese tourists visit the fough battery on Devil's Peak. Photo: Latitudes
       
      Li: As a whole, what would you say about the kinds of insights you have gained about the city from these tours, which might be seen as complements to the knowledge produced from the more casual encounters you have had through “Incidents of Travel”?

      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.

       Latitudes' talk on 'Incidents of Travel: Hong Kong' and their practice during 'Open Day' at Spring Workshop, 2 February 2013.

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


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

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      Founded in 2005 by Max Andrews and Mariana Cánepa Luna, Latitudes is a curatorial office based in Barcelona, Spain, that works internationally across contemporary art practices.

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