Moderation(s) is a year-long programme occurring throughout 2013 between Witte de With, Rotterdam, and Spring, Hong Kong. It's ‘moderator’, Singaporean visual artist and writer Heman Chong, will steer a program involving more than fifty artists, curators and writers, and engender a conference, three exhibitions, three residencies and a book of short stories. Moderation(s) begins by hosting the Barcelona-based curatorial office Latitudes for a month residency in Hong Kong (7 January–10 February 2013). During this time, Latitudes will investigate the urban territory from a curatorial perspective by looking into how it is articulated through specialist tours and attractions, both phenomena at the edge of the cultural, tourism and leisure sectors. As part of this – and elaborating on the approach of their recent project Incidents of Travel [see here] at Casa del Lago, Mexico City – the duo invited Hong Kong-based artistsNadim Abbas, Yuk King Tan, Ho Sin Tung and Samson Young to develop day-long tours, thus retelling the city and each participant’s artistic concerns through personal itineraries and waypoints. Alongside these ventures into the city, research around local forms of vernacular collection display and eccentric attractions will be made. This will encompass self-made or esoteric museums, museum-like retail spaces, or ‘marginal’ sculptural displays.
Incidents of Travel Mexico City. Day 3: Tour with Diego Berruecos. Visiting the Biblioteca Nacional Lerdo de Tejada. Photo: Eunice Adorno.
In October 2012, a working group of artists, curators, and Witte de With staff members came together in Rotterdam. Comprised of A Constructed World (Geoff Lowe and Jacqueline Riva), Nadim Abbas, Defne Ayas, Mimi Brown, Amira Gad, Natasha Ginwala, Latitudes (Max Andrews and Mariana Cánepa Luna), Michael Lee, Christina Li, Pages (Nasrin Tabatabai and Babak Afrassiabi), Vivian Sky Rehberg, and Samuel Saelemakers, the group took part in a two-day workshop developed by Heman Chong to explore and identify materials that will drive the content of Moderation(s). The first project to surface from this workshop is Bibliotheek (Library), a list of books identified by the group to function both as a bibliography for Moderation(s), as well as a planned physical library that will be installed both at Witte de With and Spring. In speaking about this project, moderator Heman Chong proposes “to make ‘soft’ the practices of both artist and curator, so that one becomes easily soluble in the other, while retaining their unique forms and patterns of working. The participants will be encouraged to indulge in the pleasures of exchanging knowledge and tools without any pressure to collaborate.”
The 2013 programme includes: Latitudeswill produce Incidents of Travel(Spring, January 2013), for which the duo will invite four artists in Hong Kong to develop day-long tours that articulate the city and their artistic practice through routes and waypoints. Artist Michael Lee will join the project to develop a series of maps and charts that trace the larger constellation of Moderation(s). Performances by artists including Benjamin Seror, Anthony Marcellini, Koki Tanaka, and many more will occur in and around Rotterdam inA Thing At A Time (Witte de With, April 2013). In June, fifteen artists, curators, and writers will produce short stories during A Fictional Residency (Spring, June 2013). Additionally, a conference in four parts led by various moderators involving twelve guests will be staged (Witte de With, October 2013).A Constructed World will produce The Social Contract (Spring, October 2013), a work in which audiences are asked to sign a legal contract restraining them from speaking about what they saw inside the exhibition. The Part In The Story Where A Part Becomes A Part Of Something Else (Witte de With, December 2013), a large-scale show mounted at Witte de With that will sublimate many of the conversations and gestures found within Moderation(s).