Different disciplines, same questions

Yesterday Zoe Butt gave a talk, How Attitude Becomes Form: Collaborative Practice in Asia? about curatorial practice in SE Asia at Witte de With Contemporary Art Centre in Rotterdam. Zoe is the curator of San Art in HCMC, Vietnam. It was interesting to see that Zoe grapples with the same kind of issues that we also deal with to a lesser degree in our own project. Namely, that our projects recognize the importance of, and try to stimulate collaboration and dialogue; that value is created in “cultural collisions.” However these attempts are overshadowed by questions such as: (1) how to maintain quality standards in collaboration when there are colonial overtones to the assessing bodies, (2) how to bridge the gap between the producers of art and local supporters, consumers, and interpreters that don’t quite exist there yet, (3) how to support equal contribution from parties representing different national/historical interests, etc.  She argues that these places need to come up with their own modes and frameworks that can intercept the global or international art dialogue. She stresses the importance of creating local critical think tanks such as San Art to open up the dialogue on what art practice can look like in the “Global South.” It was heartening to see that these kinds of issues are being dealt with on different scales and in different disciplines.

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