MINERVA INWALD RECIPIENT OF INAUGURAL 4A EMERGING WRITER’S PROJECT

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is pleased to announce Minerva Inwald as the recipient of the inaugural 4A Emerging Writer’s Project.

Ahead of the November 2016 launch of the online publication The 4A Papers, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is supporting an Australian emerging writer to participate in Sea Pearl White Cloud, a collaborative two-stage exhibition project between 4A and independent Guangzhou contemporary art space Observation Society that will open on 2 June 2016.

Selected by a panel comprising Michael Fitzgerald, Editor, Art Monthly Australasia; Luise Guest, Director of Education and Research, White Rabbit Collection; and Pedro de Almeida, 4A Program Manager and Editor of The 4A Papers, Minerva will be an integral part of 4A’s project team, travelling to Guangzhou to undertake fieldwork as Observation Society’s exhibition unfolds, and later the exhibition in Sydney at 4A. Her research will see the publication of two critical texts that document the development, realisation and reception of the exhibitions, along with interviews with the artists and ongoing online content.

Pedro de Almeida says, “4A’s inaugural Emerging Writer’s Project attracted application from writers from New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia. The range of educational, professional and artistic backgrounds from the applicants was also diverse with, for example, some writers having arts journalism experience, while others forging more experimental writing forms through artist-run platforms. 4A looks forward to offering more professional development and publishing opportunities for writers as we establish The 4A Papers later this year.”

Michael Fitzgerald says, “Minerva’s submission was outstanding. Her ongoing historical research in China as a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney, and her broader interest in how art objects circulate in the public and private spheres places her as a perfect candidate to contribute meaningfully and intelligently to this unique cross-cultural project.”

Luise Guest remarks, “Minerva’s application was outstanding in a range of ways. Firstly, her recognition that she aims to broaden her critical writing style beyond the constraints of academic writing was refreshing. Her background in carrying out art historical research on the ground in China, at the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC), using primary sources, and dealing with the complexities of dealing with a Chinese institution, will clearly be an advantage in quickly assessing the possibilities on the ground in Guangzhou. Her obvious level of fluency in Chinese (Mandarin) will also be an asset to the project. Minerva’s current doctoral research is both interesting and relevant, relating to curatorial practices, museology and the circulation of objects and artefacts. I particularly liked her thoughtful (and highly topical) plan for an extended contemplative essay reflecting on the notion of ‘southern-ness’, and how that plays out in the relationship between the sister cities of Sydney and Guangzhou. Her sample of writing – an extract from a conference paper – indicated her clarity of thought and expression, and her willingness to push against the conventional boundaries of a discipline (in this instance, historical research) indicating the potential for some innovative texts and other modes of communication emerging from the collaboration in Guangzhou.”

Sea Pearl White Cloud is supported by the City of Sydney with the Observation Society exhibition opening being part of the official program of the City of Sydney and Guangzhou Municipal Government’s civic celebrations as part the 30th anniversary of their sister-city relationship. Additionally, the Emerging Writer’s Project is supported by Art Monthly Australasia.

Minerva Inwald is a current PhD candidate in the Department of History, University of Sydney, whose research focuses on the history of the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) between 1958 and 1989. Using Chinese-language primary sources to examine how exhibitions at this prestigious space were used to communicate ideas about the role of art in China in relation to conceptions of ‘the people,’ her research seeks to investigate broader questions of how art objects circulate in museum contexts, as well as outside museums such as in domestic, work and public spheres. Minerva graduated with Bachelor of Arts (Languages) Honours degree from the University of Sydney in 2012, and in the same year was awarded the Francis Stuart Prize for Asian Art History form the Department of Art History. She has contributed a number of papers at academic conferences in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, and recently undertook an 8-month postgraduate exchange program at Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts.

 

VIDEO: Journal of Dusk

 

Journal of Dusk is a new performance by Indonesian-Australian artist Jumaadi that has been commissioned especially for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Featuring a series of new shadow puppets created by the artist and accompanied by musical performances, Journal of Dusk draws on a form of traditional Indonesian theatre called wayang kulit to weave poetic narratives based on historical connections between Australia and South-East Asia. Beginning with depictions of agrarian life, Jumaadi presents a montage of imagery from Australia and Indonesia including animals and plants, through to more abstract scenes of landscapes and places.

Journal of Dusk continues Jumaadi’s interest in the history of migration and exchange between Australia and Indonesia during the twentieth century through a creative reinterpretation of the story of the construction of Australia’s first gamelan, an Indonesian percussion instrument. Jumaadi has been investigating historical moments from the period 1927-1949, a time of significant movement of people between Indonesia and Australia, particularly Indonesians held as prisoners in exile some of whom were moved by the Dutch colonial government to Australia during the Second World War. This work is inspired by the story of a Javanese man who produced a gamelan ensemble using scrap metal during his exile in Dutch New Guinea (now a district within the Indonesian province of Papua). The gamelan came to Cowra, NSW, in 1942 and is now held by the University of Melbourne.

Jumaadi is accompanied by co-performers and musicians Margaret Bradley, Cameron Ferguson, Aris Setyo and Kyati Suharto.

Journal of Dusk

Jumaadi, Margaret Bradley, Cameron Ferguson, Aris Setyo and Kyati Suharto.

Friday 16 October 2015, 7pm – Saturday 17 October 2015, 7pm

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

Video & Edit: Dara Gill
Co-produced by and © Das Platforms and 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, 2015

Journal of Dusk is commissioned and produced by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body. This project is also supported by the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia, Sydney.

VIDEO: 48HR INCIDENT

Running over 48 continuous hours at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, 48HR Incident is a program of performance art and live actions initiated or performed by artists from Australia, Asia and the Pacific.

Challenging conceptual and social frameworks that surround the position of the individual in relation to the group, 48HR Incident presents a series of works ranging from artistic interventions through to longer durational performances. Participating artists have drawn upon contested historical narratives, political provocations and social situations to conceive and present works specifically for the context of 4A, taking into account dynamics of space, geography and social relations in and outside of the gallery. 48HR Incident considers the impact of these actions on the decisions that individuals and groups make, avoid or otherwise oppose in the daily act of living.

Conceived as the third and final component of MASS GROUP INCIDENT, 48HR Incident is in many ways a culmination of the discussion that occurred during the development of this broader curatorial project, in particular how ephemeral, interdisciplinary and performative artforms embody real social conditions or frictions. 
48HR Incident is a call to action, a test of audiences’ will and commitment to meet the challenges that artists present them, and an admission that at the irreducible core of any collective actions or movement is the latent power of the individual.

48HR Incident

Frances Barrett, Dadang Christanto, Blak Douglas, JD Reforma, Tony Schwensen, Abdullah M. I Syed, Latai Taumoepeau, Salote Tawale, Wok the Rock & Lara Thoms, & Samson Young.

Friday 29 May 2015, 6pm – Sunday 31 May 2015, 6pm

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

Video & Edit: Dara Gill
Interview: Pedro de Almeida and Toby Chapman
Co-produced by and © Das Platforms and 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, 2015

48HR Incident is produced by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art; assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body; supported by the City of Sydney Cultural Grants Program; and supported by Museums & Galleries NSW and Gordon Darling Foundation. Lara Thoms and Wok The Rock’s project ‘Jakarta Whiplash ’93 Re-Revisited’ was developed during a residency in Yogyakarta as part of Gertrude Contemporary’s Indonesia/Australia exchange project #banyakbanyak.

VIDEO: TELL ME MY TRUTH

Tell Me My Truth seeks to address persistent and often contentious relationships that frame the individual within the group. Exploring the motivations of artists for whom a questioning of the veracity of the status quo is a defining aspect of their practice, Tell Me My Truth presents works that give form to alternative narratives.Contrasting fiction with the documentary, remembrance with negation, responsibility with impunity, and privacy with surveillance within the public realm, Tell Me My Truth is at once a provocative demand and an admission of the futility of splendid isolation in a world that more than ever is defined by our connectedness. This is the second exhibition instalment of MASS GROUP INCIDENT, a major five-month multi-stage project curated and produced by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Comprising a series of exhibitions, site-specific projects, performances, film screenings and public programs, this broader project’s central theme is the power and limits of social engagement and collective action as experienced by the individual. Within this construct, Tell Me My Truth takes a more analytical and meditative approach in its investigation of the causes of social friction and mutual understanding.

Tell Me My Truth
Simon Fujiwara, Helen Grace, Amala Groom, Fx Harsono, He Xiangyu, James Newitt, Tony Schwensen, John Von Sturmer
27 March – 16 May 2015
4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

VIDEO: HAZE

 

Haze is an exhibition of new work by Australian artists Tully Arnot, Sarah Contos and Jensen Tjhung. Together, these three artists undertook 4A’s inaugual Beijing Studio Program at the studios of Chinese-Australian artist Shen Shaomin in Huairou on the northern outskirts of Beijing in September 2013. In this video the artists’ discuss the highlights and challenges of living and working on the fringes of the Chinese capital, and the way in which the experience played into the works exhibited at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art  between 22 August – 25 October 2014. 

 

Yangjiang Group on Actions for Tomorrow

Actions for Tomorrow is the first solo exhibition in Australia of Yangjiang Group, the Chinese artist collective that use the medium of calligraphy as a conceptual springboard into a diverse range of installations and performances. Hailing from Yangjiang, a coastal city in Guangdong province, Yangjiang Group comprises of three key members – Zheng Guogu, Chen Zaiyan and Sun Qinglin – as well as a number of collaborators from their hometown. In this video Yangjiang Group introduce their practice and their solo exhibition at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art held 17 January – 7 March 2015.

 

 

Zheng Guogu in conversation with Aaron Seeto, Director of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art.

 

A conversation between acclaimed Chinese artist Zheng Guogu (郑国谷) and Aaron Seeto, Director of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art on 30 October 2014.

Zheng Guogu is internationally recognised for producing large-scale installations and architectural interventions that highlight the absurd and often ironic connections between traditional Chinese culture and everyday life. He works both independently and as a leading member of the Chinese contemporary art collective, Yangjiang Group, based in the coastal city of Yangjiang in the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong province. As part of a generation of Chinese artists who have been affected by the explosion of global market forces, Zheng’s art practice questions the meaning of calligraphy, painting, performance and architecture in our globalised contexts.

In this talk Zheng Guogu discusses the emergence of Yangjiang Group during the early 2000s; the artistic strategies employed by the group living outside the key centres of artistic production in China; and their idiosyncratic perspective on the relationship between culture and everyday activities such as gambling, gaming, drinking tea, calligraphy, food and built environments. Zheng also talks about previous projects by Yangjiang Group and the development of a major new project for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art presented in January 2015.

 


The conversation is presented in association with University of Sydney China Studies Centre.


About Zheng Guogu’s visit
Zheng Guogu will be in Sydney undertaking a site visit at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and the Chinese Garden of Friendship in Darling Harbour where the Yangjiang Group will exhibit and perform in a special project to take place in early 2015. You can participate and support this major project by supporting 4A’s Kickstarter crowdfunding Initiative to bring these artists to Australia.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/4acentre/actions-for-tomorrow

 



Yangjiang Group – Actions for Tomorrow is produced by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art with the support of the Chinese Garden of Friendship, The Australia Council for the Arts, City of Sydney and the Australia-China Council.

Click through to the 4A Kickstarter campaign

 


VIDEO: Cosmin Costinas: A Journal of the Plague Year: A Case Study of Para/Site Art Space, Hong Kong.

Cosmin Costinas
A Journal of the Plague Year: A Case Study of Para/Site Art Space, Hong Kong.

This talk will present an insight into recent research and projects by Cosmin Costinas for Para/Site Art Space, Hong Kong. Para/Site is Hong Kong’s leading contemporary art space and one of the oldest and most active independent art centres in Asia. It produces exhibitions, publications and discursive projects aimed at forging a critical understanding of local and international phenomena in art and society.
 
Since 2011 Cosmin Costinas has been the Executive Director and Curator of Para/Site, where he has delivered a number of exhibitions that discuss and explore local political and historical contexts. Costinas will discuss a number of the challenges in presenting these projects, and consider how they fit within broader curatorial conversations in Hong Kong.
 
As a relative newcomer to Hong Kong, Cosmin will also speak about his personal perspective in developing exhibitions and the role that collaboration plays in working in a new cultural context. What kind of responsibility does a curator, or indeed an organisation, have to the local?

 

This talk was presented as part of the 4A’s Curators’ Intensive 2014. More here

 

4A_icon_pos                    CF_Logo_BW - new with CA

The Curators’ Intensive is an initiative of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and has been made possible with the support of Sue Acret & James Roth and the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund. 4A acknowledges the support of the Northern Centre for Contemporary Art.

VIDEO: Sophie McIntyre: Politics, Art & Representation: Curatorship in an intercultural context

Dr Sophie McIntyre
Politics, Art & Representation: Curatorship in an intercultural context

This presentation explores the spatial and relational dynamics of curating exhibitions in an intercultural context by focussing on the meaning and significance of place in a geo-political, cultural, artistic and museological context. Drawing on several exhibitions  of contemporary art from the Asia-Pacific region that Dr. McIntyre has (co)curated, the presentation will delve into the politics of cultural representation and it will reflect on some of the challenges and valuable insights gained when curating across and between different cultures and audiences.

 

This talk was presented as part of the 4A’s Curators’ Intensive 2014. More here

 

4A_icon_pos                    CF_Logo_BW - new with CA

The Curators’ Intensive is an initiative of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and has been made possible with the support of Sue Acret & James Roth and the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund. 4A acknowledges the support of the Northern Centre for Contemporary Art.

 

VIDEO: Robin Peckham: Tracing the Post-Internet

 

Robin Peckham
Tracing the Post-Internet: A Case Study in Curatorial Process

What are the relationships between the movement that has come to be called ‘post-internet’ and the media realities of the historical moment that enables it?  This talk will present the curatorial process and research behind the exhibition Art Post-Internet co-curated by Peckham, paying close attention to the differences between survey methodologies and thematic approaches. Peckham will respond to notions including the differences between intent and effect in artistic practice, the tension between documentation and materiality in recent art, collaboration as a tool, the specificities of the exhibition and other possible realisations, and categories of curatorial work from essayistic narrative compositions to forms of analysis.  This presentation will tentatively structure a logic by which we might be able to expand a thematic understanding of post-internet art based on an empirical understanding of its social core.

 

This talk was presented as part of the 4A’s Curators’ Intensive 2014. More here

 

4A_icon_pos                    CF_Logo_BW - new with CA

The Curators’ Intensive is an initiative of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and has been made possible with the support of Sue Acret & James Roth and the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund. 4A acknowledges the support of the Northern Centre for Contemporary Art.

VIDEO: WAYS: OMAR CHOWDHURY

Ways is the first solo exhibition by Australian artist Omar Chowdhury. Chowdhury has spent the past two years working in the country of his birth and one of the most densely populated on earth, whose character is deeply informed by religious faiths and daily acts of worship. There, he has created an ambitious new body of work, which traverses urban and rural terrains searching for material embodiments of spiritual transcendence.

Chowdhury produces large-scale and richly detailed moving image works filmed on location in Bangladesh during extended periods of immersion in various cultural and physical landscapes.

 

Video: Lindy Lee on 4A

“One of the important things about art
is its capacity to make us to reflect upon who we are… 4A does this through its entire program.”

Lindy Lee, artist and former 4A President

Lindy Lee, a leading contemporary Australian artist, became a 4A Member not long after 4A’s establishment. She remains a passionate supporter of 4A and its ideals – working with young artists, creating better awareness of Chinese-Australian history and culture and the valuable connections between Australia and Asia.

 

Video: Co-Produced by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and Das Platforms

Video: Edmund Capon on the role of Asia

 “The arts of Asia have always been an absolute passion of mine. 4A deals so much with contemporary life: it’s about bringing the art of Asia here now, so that we can get that rapport and communication with the creative spirits around us in the Asian region.”

“You cannot imagine anything more important and pertinent to a place like Sydney and Australia than to get involved with Asia culturally, socially and economically and to underwrite all that with a certain cultural sensitivity – that’s what the arts has the power to do.”

Edmund Capon, Chair of 4A discusses the role of Asia to Australia.

Video: Co-Produced by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and Das Platforms

Video: Archive As Verb: Hammad Nasar

In this special keynote presentation Hammad Nasar discusses recent and ongoing projects that he and his colleagues have developed at the Hong Kong-based Asia Art Archive, one of the world’s leading public collections of primary and secondary source material about contemporary art in Asia, as well as his curatorial work with Green Cardamom.
Hammad addresses the idea of archive as verb: a dynamic process that looks beyond the physical aspects of material culture towards the actions that engagement with archives can enable. How can artists, curators, researchers, educators, students and the broader public generate new ideas, works and individual responses that continually reshape the archive itself? What does it mean to enrich and complicate histories that are told through the archive by means of active engagement? What are the responsibilities of collecting organisations towards public accessibility, public education and the historical and political implications of facilitating others to challenge dominant global art historical narratives?
Hammad connects this theme and his current work with Asia Art Archive with his experiences in producing curatorial projects at Green Cardamom, a London-based not-for-profit organisation that focuses on art from South and West Asia and which he co-founded.

Hammad Nasar is co-hosted by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in partnership with the Australia Council for the Arts Visual Arts Section through its International Visitors Program.

               

 

Hammad Nasar is a curator, writer and Head of Research and Programmes at the Hong Kong-based Asia Art Archive. Earlier he co-founded the non-profit arts organisation Green Cardamom, London, that focuses on art from South and West Asia and has a commitment to exhibition-led enquiry. Hammad has curated or co-curated numerous international exhibitions and symposia, including: Karkhana: A Contemporary Collaboration, Johnson Museum, Cornell University (2012, Ithaca, USA) and Nasher Museum, Duke University (2013, Durham, USA); Drawn from Life, Abbott Hall Art Gallery (2011, Kendal, UK); Beyond the Page: The Miniature as Attitude in Contemporary Art from Pakistan (Pacific Asia Museum (2010, Pasadena, USA); Lines of Control: Partition as a Productive Space, Cornell University (2012, Ithaca, USA); and Where Three Dreams Cross: 150 Years of Photography from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, Whitechapel Gallery and Fotomuseum Winterthur (2010, London, UK and Winterthur, Switzerland). Hammad plays an advisory role for various arts organisations including Delfina Foundation (UK), Rhode Island School of Design (USA) and San Art (Vietnam). He was a Fellow of the UK’s Clore Leadership Programme and Research Fellow at Goldsmiths College, London.
Asia Art Archive (AAA) was initiated in 2000 in response to the urgent need to document and secure the multiple recent histories of contemporary art in the Asia region. With research posts in China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and Taiwan, AAA has collated one of the most valuable collections of material on contemporary art in the region. Built of 85% donated material, the collection now holds over 34,000 records, comprised of hundreds of thousands of physical and digital items, and it continues to grow. Through collecting and making information on the recent history of contemporary art in Asia easily accessible, AAA offers a range of programmes for educators, youth and young adults, and other members in the community, with the goal of becoming the definitive arts resource and library for the Hong Kong public, particularly educators and students.

Video: Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook: Storytellers of the Town

Storytellers of the Town is an exhibition of work by Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook spanning two decades. Araya is one of Thailand’s foremost contemporary artists, whose practice is concerned with the fundamental aspects of life and death, collective experiences of history and fate, and the configuring of self through the redeployment of everyday images and situations. Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook: Storytellers of the Town includes seminal installation and video works, a number of which have never been presented outside of Thailand.

Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook: Storytellers of the Town
14 March – 10 May, 2014
4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art
Interview: Clare Veal
Subtitles: Phaptawan Suwannakudt
Video: Co-Produced by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and Das Platforms

Video: Vertical Villages: ruangrupa ArtLab & Keg de Souza

Curator Toby Chapman, artists Keg de Souza and Reza Afisina and
Hauritsa (ruangrupa ArtLab) with interntational student Jeffry Santony discuss Vertical Villages

Vertical Villages is a collaborative partnership between ruangrupa ArtLab (Indonesia), Keg de Souza (Australia) and 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (Australia) working with the international student population living in Sydney’s CBD.

Vertical Villages is the first time that ruangrupa have worked in Sydney and by collaborating with Keg de Souza this project represents a unique, organic and process-driven experiment that will culminate in an exhibition at 4A that will be incorporated as part of the 15th Jakarta Biennale in November 2014.

Follow the project blog verticalvillages.tumblr.com

Vertical Villages
Ruangrupa & Keg De Souza
4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art
6 SEPTEMBER — 26 OCTOBER 2013

Vertical Villages is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia International Cultural Council, an initiative of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Video/Interviews by Nick Garner, Rococo Productions
© 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and Rococo Productions

Video: One Year: Zhang Rui

Chinese-born artist Zhang Rui (瑞) talks about her new collection of paintings in the exhibition, One Year (一年).

Having moved to Sydney one year ago, the body of work in One Year portrays Rui’s development of a visual language working across the context of her experiences of China and Australia. Faced with new physical and psychological environments, the artist’s new work draws on a vast array of images – usually sourced from the internet – as a means of reading or engaging with her surroundings. The results are dense and at times visually cryptic paintings that subtly combine the autobiographical with political threads and interweave personal and social worlds.

Zhang Rui (张 瑞)  was born in 1983 in Tianjin, China and graduated from the Department of Painting, Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts. She has presented work internationally, both in China and Europe, including the solo exhibition Freedom We Need, Laden No.5 Gallery, Bad Ems (2011). Rui has also participated in a number of group exhibitions including Fang – then there was no more living room, 978 Art District, Beijing (2007); Xu Ni, Cao Chang Di Art Space, Beijing (2008) and Mud, curated by Ai Weiwei, China Art Archives & Warehouse, Beijing. Rui met Weiwei as a participant in his acclaimed project, Fairytale, presented as part of dOCUMENTA (12), Kassel, Germany (2007).

VIDEO: What the Birds Knew: Ken + Julia Yonetani

Ken + Julia Yonetani talk about their latest artworks in 4A’s exhibition, What the Birds Knew (3 August – 3 November 2012) and how the use of Uranium Glass as a material in these works relate to our sense of allure to the power of electricity and technology. In the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan last year they also convey how through this exhibition they hope to manifest the fear of radiation in contemporary Japan and parallel the cultural anxieties shared between the Japanese, and Indigenous Australians through the Aboriginal story of the Green Ant Dreaming.

 

 

 

John Choi – Paper for a New Century Garden

This is an edited transcript of John Choi’s talk that was accompanied by a slideshow presentation given at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art on 21 October 2011 for the forum New Century Garden: Talking About Public Art in Chinatown, produced by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in partnership with City of Sydney. Copyright of this text remains with the author.

John Choi’s text as PDF

Video documentation of this talk

 

About the Forum

New Century Garden: Talking About Public Art in Chinatown, produced by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in partnership with City of Sydney, examines the role of public space in Chinatown, using the specific idea of a garden as an initial proposal for a public art project.

The principle aim of the forum is to begin a public discussion on ideas, processes and concerns regarding new approaches to public art, particularly in regards to multidisciplinary ways of working that may allow for artists, designers, architects, planners and communities to come together in innovative and mutually rewarding contexts.

An opportunity exists for the development of a new public artwork on Thomas Street in Chinatown, which runs between Hay Street (at the southern end of Sussex Street) and past Quay Street to the rear of the ABC Building in Ultimo. The area of Thomas Street that has been identified will in future be a pedestrian thoroughfare.

In thinking about this site Public Art Curator for City of Sydney’s Chinatown Public Art Plan, Aaron Seeto, is drawn to the idea of installing a garden or to work with artists working with vegetation. There are reminiscences around ideas of more traditional sculpture gardens, but transformed for a 21st century context. In creating a garden space, this area for public art could house a number of permanent smaller works and become a public meeting area as well as becoming a space for temporary projects and presentations. The garden itself would be a public artwork in its own right, created through a process of collaboration and research amongst a team of artists, designers, architects and other professionals.

More than just a garden, the site on Thomas Street will operate as a junction of a range of disciplines and positions, including art and design, social and cultural history, feng shui principles and the community’s needs from this public space. In this sense, Thomas Street will operate as a curated space, using the idea of a garden to structure a range of positions around history, tradition, and the social and cultural aspirations for the future. Furthermore, in the past, public art in the area has been formulated within a representational mode that used a recognisable palette of Chinese elements – such as lanterns or red lighting – to locate the Chinatown area.  However, Contemporary Asian cultures around the world are constantly evolving this outwardly representational mode and future projects should embrace this dynamic to broaden the cultural, conceptual and technological parameters of thinking about what public art can be in Sydney’s Chinatown.

 

 

Guest speakers

John Choi is Founding Partner of Choi Ropiha Fighera architects with an international profile for innovative projects that bring together architecture, planning, branding, public space and tourism.

Paper

Felicity Fenner is Chief Curator at the National Institute for Experimental Arts and Senior Lecturer in the School of Art History and Education at the College of Fine Arts, University of NSW.

Nicholas Jose is a novelist, essayist, playwright, former Cultural Counsellor to the Australian Embassy in Beijing, and is currently a Professor at the Writing and Society Research Group at the University of Western Sydney.

Dr Xing Ruan is an author and Professor of Architecture at the University of New South Wales.

Aaron Seeto is Director of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and Public Art Curator for City of Sydney’s Chinatown Public Art Plan.

Bridget Smyth is Design Director at the City of Sydney and leads the City’s urban design and public art team.

Jason Wing is a Sydney-based artist of Aboriginal and Chinese heritage who has been commissioned for a public art project in Chinatown’s Kimber Lane.

 

Dr Xing Ruan

Garden as Public Sphere – A Historical Lesson?

This is an edited transcript of Dr Xing Ruan’s talk that was accompanied by a slideshow presentation given at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art on 21 October 2011 for the forum New Century Garden: Talking About Public Art in Chinatown, produced by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in partnership with City of Sydney. Copyright of this text remains with the author.

Dr Xing Ruan’s text as PDF

Video documentation of this talk

 

About the Forum

New Century Garden: Talking About Public Art in Chinatown, produced by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in partnership with City of Sydney, examines the role of public space in Chinatown, using the specific idea of a garden as an initial proposal for a public art project.

The principle aim of the forum is to begin a public discussion on ideas, processes and concerns regarding new approaches to public art, particularly in regards to multidisciplinary ways of working that may allow for artists, designers, architects, planners and communities to come together in innovative and mutually rewarding contexts.

An opportunity exists for the development of a new public artwork on Thomas Street in Chinatown, which runs between Hay Street (at the southern end of Sussex Street) and past Quay Street to the rear of the ABC Building in Ultimo. The area of Thomas Street that has been identified will in future be a pedestrian thoroughfare.

In thinking about this site Public Art Curator for City of Sydney’s Chinatown Public Art Plan, Aaron Seeto, is drawn to the idea of installing a garden or to work with artists working with vegetation. There are reminiscences around ideas of more traditional sculpture gardens, but transformed for a 21st century context. In creating a garden space, this area for public art could house a number of permanent smaller works and become a public meeting area as well as becoming a space for temporary projects and presentations. The garden itself would be a public artwork in its own right, created through a process of collaboration and research amongst a team of artists, designers, architects and other professionals.

More than just a garden, the site on Thomas Street will operate as a junction of a range of disciplines and positions, including art and design, social and cultural history, feng shui principles and the community’s needs from this public space. In this sense, Thomas Street will operate as a curated space, using the idea of a garden to structure a range of positions around history, tradition, and the social and cultural aspirations for the future. Furthermore, in the past, public art in the area has been formulated within a representational mode that used a recognisable palette of Chinese elements – such as lanterns or red lighting – to locate the Chinatown area.  However, Contemporary Asian cultures around the world are constantly evolving this outwardly representational mode and future projects should embrace this dynamic to broaden the cultural, conceptual and technological parameters of thinking about what public art can be in Sydney’s Chinatown.

 

 

Guest speakers

John Choi is Founding Partner of Choi Ropiha Fighera architects with an international profile for innovative projects that bring together architecture, planning, branding, public space and tourism.

Paper

Felicity Fenner is Chief Curator at the National Institute for Experimental Arts and Senior Lecturer in the School of Art History and Education at the College of Fine Arts, University of NSW.

Nicholas Jose is a novelist, essayist, playwright, former Cultural Counsellor to the Australian Embassy in Beijing, and is currently a Professor at the Writing and Society Research Group at the University of Western Sydney.

Dr Xing Ruan is an author and Professor of Architecture at the University of New South Wales.

Aaron Seeto is Director of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and Public Art Curator for City of Sydney’s Chinatown Public Art Plan.

Bridget Smyth is Design Director at the City of Sydney and leads the City’s urban design and public art team.

Jason Wing is a Sydney-based artist of Aboriginal and Chinese heritage who has been commissioned for a public art project in Chinatown’s Kimber Lane.

 

Nicholas Jose

What is a (Chinese) Garden?

This is an edited transcript of Nicholas Jose’s talk that was accompanied by a slideshow presentation given at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art on 21 October 2011 for the forum New Century Garden: Talking About Public Art in Chinatown, produced by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in partnership with City of Sydney. Copyright of this text remains with the author.

Nicholas Jose’s text as PDF

Video documentation of this talk

 

About the Forum

New Century Garden: Talking About Public Art in Chinatown, produced by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in partnership with City of Sydney, examines the role of public space in Chinatown, using the specific idea of a garden as an initial proposal for a public art project.

The principle aim of the forum is to begin a public discussion on ideas, processes and concerns regarding new approaches to public art, particularly in regards to multidisciplinary ways of working that may allow for artists, designers, architects, planners and communities to come together in innovative and mutually rewarding contexts.

An opportunity exists for the development of a new public artwork on Thomas Street in Chinatown, which runs between Hay Street (at the southern end of Sussex Street) and past Quay Street to the rear of the ABC Building in Ultimo. The area of Thomas Street that has been identified will in future be a pedestrian thoroughfare.

In thinking about this site Public Art Curator for City of Sydney’s Chinatown Public Art Plan, Aaron Seeto, is drawn to the idea of installing a garden or to work with artists working with vegetation. There are reminiscences around ideas of more traditional sculpture gardens, but transformed for a 21st century context. In creating a garden space, this area for public art could house a number of permanent smaller works and become a public meeting area as well as becoming a space for temporary projects and presentations. The garden itself would be a public artwork in its own right, created through a process of collaboration and research amongst a team of artists, designers, architects and other professionals.

More than just a garden, the site on Thomas Street will operate as a junction of a range of disciplines and positions, including art and design, social and cultural history, feng shui principles and the community’s needs from this public space. In this sense, Thomas Street will operate as a curated space, using the idea of a garden to structure a range of positions around history, tradition, and the social and cultural aspirations for the future. Furthermore, in the past, public art in the area has been formulated within a representational mode that used a recognisable palette of Chinese elements – such as lanterns or red lighting – to locate the Chinatown area.  However, Contemporary Asian cultures around the world are constantly evolving this outwardly representational mode and future projects should embrace this dynamic to broaden the cultural, conceptual and technological parameters of thinking about what public art can be in Sydney’s Chinatown.

 

 

Guest speakers

John Choi is Founding Partner of Choi Ropiha Fighera architects with an international profile for innovative projects that bring together architecture, planning, branding, public space and tourism.

Paper

Felicity Fenner is Chief Curator at the National Institute for Experimental Arts and Senior Lecturer in the School of Art History and Education at the College of Fine Arts, University of NSW.

Nicholas Jose is a novelist, essayist, playwright, former Cultural Counsellor to the Australian Embassy in Beijing, and is currently a Professor at the Writing and Society Research Group at the University of Western Sydney.

Dr Xing Ruan is an author and Professor of Architecture at the University of New South Wales.

Aaron Seeto is Director of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and Public Art Curator for City of Sydney’s Chinatown Public Art Plan.

Bridget Smyth is Design Director at the City of Sydney and leads the City’s urban design and public art team.

Jason Wing is a Sydney-based artist of Aboriginal and Chinese heritage who has been commissioned for a public art project in Chinatown’s Kimber Lane.

 

Gina Fairley

There are many elements in all, each an individual but also a member of the group, sharing common characteristics that define it and its heritage. Regardless of where it faces, it dances and greets – that’s what each must do – a responsibility to itself and to the group. The fragility of the entire system is mirrored in the individual and each layer of its being. To fit in requires effort – balancing – and a certain understanding of the space one inhabits and of those sharing it.”  – Luff

When we think of exotic species it is within a biological context: animals, microorganisms, and plants alien, unpredictable in their proliferation, and insidious – simply ‘different’. It is synonymous with non-native. This factor-driven classification is sadly mirrored in our 21st century desire for neat box-ticking and a plague of fear with its subtext of boarder control, asylum seekers, quarantine and removal. The exotic slowly takes on an unpalatable tone that creeps into a collective conscious like weeds or vines with their complex entanglements. The rubric of control sits duplicitous with the expectation of social assimilation. The metaphor splits. The exotic species must become hybrid, grafted to its new environment to survive.

Living in regional New South Wales, Tracy Luff is like that exotic species transplanted from tropical Malaysia to the cold arid climate of Goulburn – the different one – constantly existing within parenthesis. While Luff does not subscribe to cultural politics as a platform for her artmaking, she is however interested in exploring the boundaries of physical and psychological space and to question her own sense of displacement through the metaphor of recycled cardboard, her chosen material.

These ideas come together in her installation, Tip-toe-tip-toe where can I go? (2011), 22 cardboard forms sprouting in the lower gallery of 4A, observed from the street like a specimen rare and somewhat contagious, controlled in its room-sized vitrine. One is witness to something emerging.

An interesting precursor to this piece was the outdoor work, The Different Ones (2009). Taking its cue from carnivorous plants, this small group of vertical forms sat ‘introduced’ to the Wollondilly planes like wild grasses with a resilience to survive. The physicality of the landscape posed a great challenge to the cardboard: Would it hold up? How would its character be altered? While clearly out of place, there was a beauty, a synergy in Luff’s cardboard forms as they sat in conversation with the rural setting. She is also of this place.

Artists have long inserted artworks into the landscape, artists such as Walter De Maria, Dennis Oppenheim, Michael Heizer and Robert Smithson who during the 1960s and 70s co-joined the environment and human activity by employing non-indigenous, man-made materials as an interruption, questioning the definition of what is ‘natural’ and acceptable practice. Bringing materials unfamiliar to the museum, piles of dirt, sticks, gravel, grass into its venerated space, ‘meaning’ and ‘value’ were ascribed to these materials outside aesthetic conventions. While such practices have become de rigueur, one might consider Smithson in relation to Luff. “His was an art which engaged the natural in an intimate, physical way but only to bring us closer to a disclosure of our always unstable, always mediated relation to it. This was an important realization, an understanding of nature would require a reflection on the nature of understanding.” 1.

Luff’s use of cardboard is more than mere visceral seduction or crafty obsession. As a recycled material its layered histories are inscribed and spatially extended. To paraphrase: an understanding of the material would require our material engagement to understand. A level of subterfuge is at play, like fashion-wear that uses combat camouflage in varying shades of pink we register the language – the material – but it has become feral, ascribing its own parameters of definition. Placed in the gallery Luff’s cardboard environments, deeply sophisticated in their rendering, are convincing in their rightful place.

Luff overloads the viewer with textural stimuli but denies the physical experience of walking through Tip-toe-tip-toe where can I go?, once removed by its island platform. It’s a restricted zone. Luff plays out the complexity of prescribed boundaries, the island’s sombre black maintaining an officious backdrop. The rogue exotic has been contained. Corralled and clustered, the top-heavy forms teeter on turned-wood stilettos, reaching, looking for their place. Its very title alludes to the egg-shell navigation required by a non-local.

“I have lived in Australia longer than any other country. I am not so aware of it here, but whenever I travel back the changes in me become more apparent and in some cases conflict with the norms of my birth culture. I have the feeling of not belonging there either. Even in Malaysia I am alien. I am still Chinese. This constant switching becomes a burden and heavy responsibility, and as time pass, I became the other, loosing myself, my own heritage.” 

Does ‘identity’ still take precedence? As the production and consumption of ‘difference’ has become increasingly mainstream, the ‘exotic species’ has become domesticated. Cardboard plays out that role for Luff. The utilitarian sheet-character of the cardboard becomes whimsical, sensual, almost ethereal in her hands, casting shadows and gently moving, grasping at life. Tip-toe-tip-toe where can I go?, in that respect, had a performative role, a flirtation that masked a longing. The forms had a precariousness seemingly defying gravity, tenuously rooted. It underlined their impermanence.

“They stand up and sway – they are alive – they take charge. When something stands up, it is conscious and aware. The material has become part of me. I feel how it felt and they move how I move.”

Luff’s sculptures sit at the edges of realty, not unlike John Wyndham’s carnivorous mobile Triffids ever encroaching, exotic, menacing, entering our collective visual vocabulary. The denial of reality is necessary if form is to emerge as a meaningful symbol.  Our compulsion to filter meaning wants us to read Luff’s use of recycled cardboard for its environmental calculability, its fragility, its supply, reuse – Its meaningful message.

That idea of renewal for Luff, however, rests more within Buddhist underpinnings of the cycle of birth and rebirth. It takes us full circle to the introduced exotic species and notions of passage, albeit the ‘new beginnings’ of migration or enlightenment through meditative mechanical repetition of making practiced by Luff. Tip-toe-tip-toe where can I go? then can only describe an elegant evolution, assured and firm footed in its spatial inhabitation.

Notes:

All quotes take from email conversation with the artist while in Malaysia, 16 September 2011.

1. David Campany, “Survey”, introductory essay “Art and Photography”, published by Phaidon 2003, pg. 39

 

Gina Fairley is an independent writer and curator based across Sydney and Manila, Philippines. She is the Regional Contributing Editor for Asian Art News and World Sculpture News (Hong Kong), and writes essays and reviews for international magazines. She has a special interest in the contemporary art of Southeast Asia. Her latest book Effective Art Writing will be published in 2012 with Ateneo de Manila University Press

 

Daniel Mudie Cunningham

BlogdelNarco.com is a narcocultura blog that insalubriously reports on drug-related violence in Mexico. Anonymous bloggers established the site in 2010 after several journalists had been murdered for reporting on narco activities, thereby attracting global notoriety by sensationalising an inordinate number of gruesome drug war crimes gripping the country. Torture and public executions are commonplace in this context with such blogs capitalising on our long standing fascination with the spectacle of publicly staged violence – both real and represented. Mexico has a long established culture of death, albeit one that has been romaticised within art history and popular culture. To an outsider looking in, the proliferation of blogs and social networking sites reporting on the drug trade would seem an extreme and deeply disturbing consequence of narcocultura. Aside from its online manifestations it is also evidenced ‘in the mausoleums and the music and the baseball caps embroidered with marijuana leaves in Swarovski crystals,’ as historian Froylán Enciso points out. Such expressions of death he claims, merely refer to ‘the array of symbols they surround themselves with in order to ward off that fear.’1

Describing himself as an ‘anti-disciplinary artist’, Sumugan Sivanesan’s work interrogates Achille Mbembe’s theory of ‘necropolitics’ and its various developments. Sivanesan spent more than three months undertaking a residency at SOMA in Mexico, his ensuring research into narcocultura informing the four-channel video installation Dos Sicarios… (2011). Having mined the BlogdelNarco.com site for content, Sivanesan selected a one-minute grab of surveillance footage showing a man being shot dead in a public lobby, presumably a drug trade casualty. Typical of surveillance imagery, the camera is static and banal, detached from the horror it depicts. Narcocultura has become so normalised that it has inevitably become a facile part of everyday life in Mexico. Narco imagery is consumed as comedy – terror emptied out and replaced with absurdist shlock, an advertisement for the pervasive drug-related economy of death it depicts. The BlogdelNarco.com branding on the clip, along with the retail-like display Sivanesan creates with his arrangement of screens and headphones in the gallery, reads like a droll commercial for murder. More a comedy of errors than a clean kill, the victim is murdered after the gun jams and is thrown across the floor to an accomplice who together bumble but succeed in the execution. It’s the kind of bamboozled violence familiar in Hollywood and exploitation movies alike.

Sivanesan recontextualises the found footage as art by presenting four different ‘takes’ of the same footage to augment its comic value through sound or the lack thereof. The first screen uses video effects to sonify the visual signal; cartoonish sound effects imbue the action with broad slapstick punch in the second; the disembodied voiceover of a film director is ironically heard obsessing about the violations of OH&S in the third take; the fourth ‘applies’ silence yet headphones are plugged into each of the monitors (it only lasts for one minute, but recalls the same kind of silence John Cage constructs in his avant-garde masterpiece 4’33”). The serial killing on screen becomes a serial artwork; each screen synced and repeated in image but not meaning.

More than simply pointing out the malleability of the image, Sivanesan responds to a culture of user-generated media that negates encoded dominant meanings through oppositional tactics. Such is the democratic power of a more mainstream site like YouTube for instance, where users can upload ‘video responses’ that often remix and mash content already on the site in ways that construct entirely new understandings. Narco blogs, however, are in and of themselves oppositional, using dark humour to amplify shock value. Sivanesan notes: ‘a generation of narco youth raised on social media court celebrity by posting dispatches, threats and trophy videos that drive an emerging trend of watching real deaths online – a nefarious spin on prosumer net culture.’2

The aesthetics of surveillance already have a grubby lackluster quality, especially when remediated at low resolution on ‘prosumer’ blogs and gore galleries that are typically viewed on hand held devices and presumably shared virally through any number of social networking sites. Yet we are trained to believe surveillance is a truthful and unmediated trace of the real: the panoptic gaze of the camera regulates our behavior socially, capturing evidence, catching out a crime. By tinkering with the clip through value-added effects and soundtracks, Sivanesan exposes as connotation the supposed indexicality and truth-value of surveillance. No longer are we certain whether the scene is real or staged. Authenticity reveals itself as a construct.

Sivanesan plays with what viewers are willing to believe. When exhibited in an Australian gallery far removed from its Mexican narco context, the work inevitably becomes a critical exercise inviting potentially messy and irresolvable debates about mediation, affect, ethics, and politics. This doesn’t mean that the experience of watching is entirely devoid of visceral impact for an untrained viewer, especially if a viewer is to discount the artist’s use of sound (arguably it only becomes mordantly humorous when you pick up the headphones for two of the four screens). Sivanesan succeeds in trading off horror for banality in keeping with the way narcocultura is produced and consumed in Mexico and disseminated globally online. Sivanesan punctures perceptions of narco economies as airtight and culturally specific, exposing how drug worlds intersect with art worlds, all kinds of worlds. As drug money circulates volubly artists toying with narco and/or necropolitics unmask their complicity.  And ours.

 

1 Froylán Enciso cited in Alma Guillermoprieto, ‘Days of the Dead’, The New Yorker, November 10, 2008: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/11/10/081110fa_fact_guillermoprieto

2 Sumugan Sivanesan, ‘The Politics of Ass’ (artist statement), 2011

Performance: Dadang Christanto, Litsus

Performance: August 12, 2009
4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney
The title of this performance refers to the repressive and anti-democratic legislation enacted by the Suharto regime in 1990, ‘Litsus’ required all prospective members of parliament to undergo a test to determine whether or not they held ‘communist sympathies’. Christanto performed Litsus underneath his 2009 installation, Cost of Dreams.

Aaron Seeto – Introduction to New Century Garden: Talking About Public Art in Chinatown

New Century Garden: Talking About Public Art in Chinatown, produced by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in partnership with City of Sydney, examined the role of public space in Chinatown, using the specific idea of a garden as an initial proposal for a public art project.

In his introduction Aaron Seeto, Director of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, articulates his principle aim for the forum as a means to begin a public discussion on ideas, processes and concerns regarding new approaches to public art – and specifically the idea of a ‘new century garden’ in the proposed site of Thomas Street – particularly in regards to multidisciplinary ways of working that may allow for artists, designers, architects, planners and communities to come together in innovative and mutually rewarding contexts. In addition, Aaron touches upon the cultural context of Chinatown, its inhabitants, topography, and his personal connections to the area.

New Century Garden: Talking About Public Art in Chinatown was presented at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art on Friday 21 October 2011

Aaron Seeto on “New Century Garden” and Public Art in Chinatown

Aaron Seeto, Director of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, talks about his curatorial vision for a multidisciplinary, experimental public garden work for Sydney’s Chinatown.

New Century Garden: Talking About Public Art in Chinatown, produced by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in partnership with City of Sydney, examines the role of public space in Chinatown, using the specific idea of a garden as an initial proposal for a public art project.

The principle aim of the forum is to begin a public discussion on ideas, processes and concerns regarding new approaches to public art, particularly in regards to multidisciplinary ways of working that may allow for artists, designers, architects, planners and communities to come together in innovative and mutually rewarding contexts.

New Century Garden: Bridget Smyth, Design Director at City of Sydney, on the City’s plans to revitalise the city centre by testing new approaches to shaping public space.

Bridget Smyth, Design Director at City of Sydney, on the City’s plans to revitalise the city centre by testing new approaches to shaping public space.

New Century Garden: Talking About Public Art in Chinatown, produced by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in partnership with City of Sydney, examines the role of public space in Chinatown, using the specific idea of a garden as an initial proposal for a public art project.

The principle aim of the forum is to begin a public discussion on ideas, processes and concerns regarding new approaches to public art, particularly in regards to multidisciplinary ways of working that may allow for artists, designers, architects, planners and communities to come together in innovative and mutually rewarding contexts.

New Century Garden: Talking About Public Art in Chinatown is presented at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art on Friday 21 October 2011.

Dr Xing Ruan, Guest Speaker – New Century Garden: Talking About Public Art in Chinatown

New Century Garden: Talking About Public Art in Chinatown, produced by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in partnership with City of Sydney, examined the role of public space in Chinatown, using the specific idea of a garden as an initial proposal for a public art project.

Guest speaker Dr Xing Ruan’s presentation explores the relationship between garden and house in pre-modern Chinese architecture, and asks whether or not the Chinese idea of a garden possesses the necessary ‘anatomy’ to be transformed into a civic place.

Dr Xing Ruan is an author and Professor of Architecture, University of New South Wales, Sydney.

New Century Garden: Talking About Public Art in Chinatown was presented at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art on Friday 21 October 2011

Nicholas Jose, guest speaker – New Century Garden: Talking About Public Art in Chinatown

Guest speaker Nicholas Jose’s presentation, What is a (Chinese) Garden?, explores the art of gardens in Chinese culture that continues long, rich, highly evolved traditions of philosophy, aesthetics, ethics and everyday practice. A garden is a conceptual as well as a physical space, a constructed environment, a zone of play or meditative transcendence. The experience of the garden through the body, mind and heart of the person who enters it is central to understanding what a garden can be. In Chinese tradition this takes distinctive forms: a space apart, a space within. As these concepts are translated and adapted to a new context, urban, 21st century, Australian, public, they are reinvented by transnational citizens of the present who give new potential to civic space. Art is an agent in this transformation, including the writing of the garden by scholars and imaginative authors, as they create what critic Wang Guanglin, speaking of Brian Castro’s novel The Garden Book, has called ‘the garden of transcultural life’.

Nicholas Jose is a novelist and Professor, Writing and Society Research Group, University of Western Sydney.

New Century Garden: Talking About Public Art in Chinatown was presented at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art on Friday 21 October 2011

John Choi, Guest Speaker – New Century Garden: Talking About Public Art in Chinatown

New Century Garden: Talking About Public Art in Chinatown, produced by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in partnership with City of Sydney, examined the role of public space in Chinatown, using the specific idea of a garden as an initial proposal for a public art project.

Guest speaker John Choi’s presentation posits that public art is increasingly embedded to place making and urban renewal strategies, and that this tactic brings to the fore, the complex fertile ground that exists between art, public space, economy and identity. In his talk John explores these thoughts through the lens of ‘new century garden’ and his personal connections and observations of urban areas in Seoul, Korea.

John Choi is a Founding Partner of Choi Ropiha Fighera architects.

New Century Garden: Talking About Public Art in Chinatown was presented at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art on Friday 21 October 2011

Felicity Fenner, Guest Speaker – New Century Garden: Talking About Public Art in Chinatown

New Century Garden: Talking About Public Art in Chinatown, produced by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in partnership with City of Sydney, examined the role of public space in Chinatown, using the specific idea of a garden as an initial proposal for a public art project.

Felicity Fenner is Chief Curator, National Institute for Experimental Arts, and Senior Lecturer, School of Art History and Education, College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales.

New Century Garden: Talking About Public Art in Chinatown was presented at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art on Friday 21 October 2011

Perspectives on Curating & Programming: Beyond the Edge of Elsewhere


Who would’ve thought curating and programming could be a dangerous profession? John Kirkman, Aaron Seeto and Lisa Havilah give us their perspective on what drives their work, the processes and challenges behind programming for an art gallery or cultural institution including the role of the artist and captivating your audience.

They discuss strategies that engage artists with local communities through specific projects like the Edge of Elsewhere, a collaborative curatorial program produced for the Sydney Festival by Campbelltown Arts Centre in partnership with 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art.

These interviews were recorded at COFA on the 5th April as part of the free COFA Talks public lecture series.

See more Talks at http://online.cofa.unsw.edu.au.