In the 19th episode of Incidents (of Travel), curator Sooyoung Leam reports on a day exploring Yongsan-gu, a district at the heart of Seoul, and the neighbourhood of artist Jeong Yeoreum. Documented by photographer and videographer Swan Park, Sooyoung and Jeong explore this conflicted territory that served as the headquarters of the Imperial Japanese Army between 1910 and 1945, and subsequently as a US military base.
Their tour departs from Yeoreum’s video work “Graeae” (2020), using the augmented reality (AR) location-based mobile game Pokémon GO as a way to travel both physically and virtually. Their conversation takes place at a timely moment as the US base is in the process of being relocated to Camp Humphreys in the nearby city of Pyeongtaek, and the expected conversion of this territory into a memorial park. Surrounded by major national museums, Yongsan as a site also signals Korea’s attempt to legitimize its history through culture.
By combining the socio-political history of Yongsan with the personal and micro-history of Yeoreum’s everyday life, the Seoul edition offers new ways to engage with the city’s shifting symbolic landscape.
Episode #19 is the latest dispatch of the series produced by KADIST online and edited by Latitudes since 2016, exploring the chartered itinerary as a format of an artistic encounter between curators and artists. Incidents (of Travel) is presented in one continuous immersive read interwoven with images and short videos in a mobile-friendly format.
Selection from the 19th dispatch of Incidents (of Travel) from Seoul.
Since 2016, eighteen extended conversations between curators and artists have taken place in Seoul (South Korea), Attica (Greece), Riga (Latvia), Beirut (Lebanon), Amsterdam (the Netherlands), Singapore (Singapore), Cabo Rojo (Puerto Rico), Tbilisi (Georgia), Panama City (Panama), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Reykjavík (Iceland), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Hobart (Tasmania), Yerevan (Armenia), Terengganu (Malaysia), Lisbon (Portugal), Suzhou (China), Jinja (Uganda) and Chicago (US).
The second dispatch came from Jinja in Uganda, where curator Moses Serubiri invited photographer Mohsen Taha to explore Jinja's Indian architectural legacy and Idi Amin's notorious expulsion of Uganda's Asian minority in 1972.
The third episode took place while curator Yu Ji and poet Xiao Kaiyu hiked on Dong Shan (East Mountain), 130 km west of Shanghai, on a peninsula stretching into Tai Hu lake near the city of Suzhou, China.
The fifth episode took place in April 2016, when curator Simon Soon and artist chi too visited the Malaysian North Eastern state of Terengganu, where chi spent some time in 2013, surrounded by “men and women who work(ed) multiple jobs as fishermen, housebuilders, boat builders, farmers, coconut pickers, food producers, and everything else that matters.”
The sixth episode narrates a walking itinerary conducted by curator Marianna Hovhannisyan with Vardan Kilichyan, Gohar Hosyan, and Anaida Verdyan in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, documenting the transformed, disappeared, or permanently-closed art institutions in the city centre.
The seventh episode comes from Hobart, the capital of Tasmania. It is narrated by curator Camila Marambio, following an itinerary devised by artist Lucy Bleach. They spent the day "encircling the outer limits of human understanding by visiting the histories, both past, and present, of attempts to reach beyond our sensory capacities through governance, technology, and reverie", and ended the day cooking at Lucy's home-sharing their mutual love for quinces.
In the eighth 'Incidents (of Travel)' dispatch Móvil co-founder and curator Alejandra Aguado followed the itinerary devised by the artist Diego Bianchi around Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Their exploration took them from the self-regulated community Velatropa to the buzzing commercial area of Once, identifying human and non-human flows and interactions. This became an entry point for discussing Bianchi's interests in how, as consumers, we define a particular zeitgeist and appropriate trends that enable us to affirm our identities.
In the ninth dispatch, Canadian curator Becky Forsythe and Icelandic artist Þorgerður Ólafsdóttir navigate Reykjavík's surroundings considering Þorgerður's “current interest in Icelandic Spar (a form of transparent calcite), its double refraction and light-polarizing properties. In a race with daylight, they travel between sites collecting moments and considering the ways in which geologic time surfaces in the context of human time.”
The tenth dispatch begins with an itinerary proposed by Barcelona-born, Rio de Janeiro-based artist Daniel Steegmann Mangrané and is followed by images and videos recording a day roaming Rio's natural and artistic landscapes with Bogotá-born, Mexico City-based curator Catalina Lozano, who narrates their day spent together.
In the 11th episode, Swiss curator Sandino Scheidegger (Random Institute) visits Panama City in preparation for a solo exhibition by Donna Conlon and Jonathan Harker at Casa Santa Ana in 2021. Conlon and Harker's collaboration since 2006 (while also pursuing their own individual art practices) has resulted in seventeen video works to date. The places Sandino, Donna and Jonathan visited together pointed to the origin of some of their video works, the ideas behind them, or simply served as stages in their pieces, turning into “an exercise in sneaking through fences to reach former recycling plants, imagining how things looked before the skyscrapers took over, and navigating the complex social fabric of Panama City — all while getting a taste of local food between every stop.”
The 12th episode from Tbilisi, Georgia, set a different tone in the online series as it was programmed to take place in late May 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic. The itinerary set by Tbilisi-based artist Nino Kvrivishvili to lead Melbourne-based Associate Professor Tara McDowell became a WhatsApp video tour/conversation around Nino's artistic practice and the Georgian silk industry — a production that began in Tbilisi in the 5th century and continued until the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s.
In the 13th dispatch, and on week 23 of lockdown, Sofía Gallisá and Marina Reyes begin their day together driving to the Cabo Rojo Salt Flats where Sofía researched her 2018 film ‘Assimilate & Destroy I’. They later end up in Poblado de Boquerón, the queer capital of Puerto Rico's south where a large public beach and a usually busy street still show traces of 2017’s devastating Hurricane Maria.
Phone view of → Incidents (of Travel) from Singapore.
In the 14th dispatch, Singapore-based curator Kathleen Ditzig joins artists Fyerool Darma and Nurul Huda Rashid nearby ‘Safe Entry‘ (2020), a mural presented at the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) by the artist Heman Chong that repeats a single, enlarged QR code, “the new digital skin of the city”, as Nurul points out. From there, they head towards the boardwalk connecting Harbourfront with Sentosa Island, the pleasure island home to many tourist attractions. Fyerool and Nurul weave in stories of past pirates and deities against the backdrop of the glass-green waters that stage the “blue aesthetics against the imported sands [from Indonesia] of reclaimed lands.”
In the 15th dispatch curator Àngels Miralda (current participant of de Appel's Curatorial Programme 2020-21) and artist Salim Bayri (current resident at Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten 2019–21) follow a tour created during the winter 2021 Covid-19 restrictions in the Netherlands. Their day together features public sports locations as social meeting spaces, as well as urban architecture, a visit to a supermarket chain, and a food takeaway.
In the 16th dispatch, curator Marie-Nour Hechaime navigates Beirut with artist-filmmaker Panos Aprahamian a year after the August 2020 explosion, when hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate stored for six years without safekeeping in the port of the Lebanese capital were set on fire and exploded. The blast killed more than 200 deaths, 6,500 wounded, 300,000 displaced and great destruction in the city . “I say that I am living with ghosts—of people, places, memories, stories”, she reflects. “He answers that Beirut is disintegrating in front of our very eyes.”
In the 17th dispatch, curator Inga Lāce and artist Linda Boļšakova forage for environmental histories in Riga. The day that takes them from manicured park lawns to a thicket of sea buckthorn bushes near a “post-apocalyptic” sauna, and from a housing project allotment to the laboratories of the National Botanic Garden of Latvia.
In the 18th dispatch, curator Xenia Kalpaktsoglou and artist Pegy Zali conceive an itinerary and a screenplay-like commentary that takes us through the Attica peninsula, from a mysterious inscription sprayed at the site of a railway sabotage that transpired near Piraeus Port in 2010, to the vestiges of an enormous wildfire that consumed the forest around Alepochori in 2021. Formed through their long-standing friendship and shared research interests, this episode flows around Greece’s links with the emerging infrastructure of China’s New Silk Road, and the “cyber-eco-feminist” traces of the goddess Gaia.
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Episode #18 of ‘Incidents (of Travel)’ – Dispatch by curator Xenia Kalpaktsoglou and artist Pegy Zali from Attica, 18 April 2022