Folding the Axis
The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically reduced mobility and hindered the connection and exchange with art practitioners from other corners of the world. In this unprecedented time, the rules of the cultural sector are tested, and art activities of the year being shelved. Since June 2020, we have launched this open call as a channel to collect new formats of exchange, international networks or platforms, and experimental forms of artistic collaboration. Finally, we have selected 6 projects that provide ideas to sustain conversation in the times of pervading immobility.
Launched in 2012, the para-curatorial series of the Times Museum has gathered artists, scholars, researchers, and audiences through thematic seminars that bring cross-bordered discussions into the museum. However, this cosmopolitan spectrum of art has struggled to document and embody the fractured realities of a post-pandemic world, when heated public topics such as race, the Cold War, and decoupling widen the divide between we and they. Guangzhou is embedded within the rich network between southern China and the “souths” of the world, yet global connectivities among southern cultures and regions remain tenuous and underepresented in mainstream media. If we are to reclaim intimacies among distant peoples and places, and to shed light on our entangled existence filtered by frictions of the information sphere, we should propose other forms of knowledge embodiment that may help to bridge different understandings.
“Para-curatorial on the Move” is a special edition for 2020, while The Fleeting Union of Portals takes “treaty ports” as a conceptual portal to review early histories of colonial imperialism and the forming system of free trade, in which material exchange across continents and oceans gave birth to the convergence and divergence of cultures, societies, rituals, and images. With informants and hosts, the eclectic union traveled southward along major ports of coastal China, including Ningbo, Fuzhou, Quanzhou, Xiamen, and returned to Guangzhou. It activated multiple ways of sharing, including webinars and talks, artist workshops from scholars and curators, vlogs and video documentation, and museum studies and visits to local experts and artists. It was a collective exercise to forge new ground for public engagement and a fleeting attempt to break out from the spatial constraints of the exhibition space as well as the materiality of museum display.
About the Team
Guangdong Times Museum celebrates the social values of culture and embraces our communities at home and abroad, attempting to indigenize the language of contemporary art, while also supporting artists to present their critical ideas and to produce ambitious works. By creating a network of thinkers, artists, and initiatives across regions and cultures, Guangdong Times Museum is making Guangzhou a great place for art goers and cultural producers. After a decade of robust programming, Guangdong Times Museum has become a cultural landmark of the city where people can discover art, connect with each other, feel inspired by unexpected learning and worldly experiences.