Curating The International Diaspora: “Is the Curator an Agent or Double Agent of Cultural Identity?”

M3, Asia Culture Center (ACC), Gwangju, South Korea
01 Sep 2016 - 02 Sep 2016

Curating The International Diaspora: “Is the Curator an Agent or Double Agent of Cultural Identity?”

Tatsumi Orimoto visits Ann Veronica Janssens: yellowbluepink | Wellcome Gallery London, 2015. © Waugh Office.

Asia Culture Center, Gwangju, Korea and International Curators Forum, London, UK announce the international symposium, entitled “Is the curator an agent or double agent of cultural identity?”.

It is a departure point on a year long curatorial journey or grand symposium project, Curating The International Diaspora that involves working with artists, critics, curators and art institutions from Korea (Asia Culture Center), UK (International Curators Forum), UAE (Sharjah Foundation) and Barbados (National Gallery of Barbados) across three major international art events between September 2016 and March 2017.

Curating The International Diaspora program will investigate how emergent cultural diasporas have impacted the curatorship of contemporary visual arts specifically and how new models of contemporary curating have developed as a consequence of these effects. The project will demonstrate how curatorial practice has been radically transformed by the diaspora of people, intellectuals, artists, and cultural workers.

For intellectual and cultural diasporas from diverse origins and disciplines, a new kind of curatorial practice has attempted to represent these changes by creating what Ute Meta Bauer has called “a space of refuge—an in-between space of transition and of diasporic passage” for cultural workers across the world.

Issues of cultural identity and representation are highly debated topics at the moment. In the current geopolitical and economic circumstances, the world is increasingly facing the rise of “nationalism” as a dominant discourse, often justified as a sense of self-protection of “the people” under an assumed homogenous collective identity against the heterogeneous “otherness.” There is growing concern in the international artistic community about censorship and the closing down of public opportunities to engage with international cultures, despite increasing globalization of cultural flows and practices, facilitated by the advent of digital technologies, social media platforms, and the increasing circulation of products and populations.

In celebration of it’s inauguration of the new Asia Culture Centre in Gwangju, South Korea, this symposium aims to explore the role of curatorial practice and art institutions of Asia in questioning the very notion of (collective) identity and creating a critical space for cultural cross-pollination and encounters within the current geopolitical context.

This symposium is directed by David A Bailey, the founding director of International Curators Forum and co-curated by JW Stella and Mark Waugh, with the generous support by Asia Culture Center, Gwangju, Korea, Art Council England and University Art London, UK.

Speakers: Hoor Al Qasimi (Director, Sharjah Art Foundation), Jeonhwan Cho (Research Fellow of Asia Culture Center), Graeme Mortimer Evelyn(Artist; Independent Curator), Melanie Keen (Director, Iniva), Namsoo Kim (Art critic; Former Curator, Nam June Paik Art Center), Giuseppe Moscatello (Director, Maraya Art Centre), Yongsung Paik (Philosopher; Artistic director of 2016 AASN project), Kyong Park (Professor, UCSD; Director of “Imagining New Eurasia”), Sara Raza (Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, Middle East & North Africa for the New York museum), Reem Shadid (Deputy director, Sharjah Art Foundation), JW Stella (Director of JAC; International Associate Curator of Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art), Jessica Taylor (Independent Curator), Mark Waugh (Program Director, ICF; Head of Research and Innovation, DACS), Jian Jun Xi (Artist; Director, UKCAA)

Periscope platform: #becominganimal

To share these discussions internationally Julia Waugh of Waugh Office will document the talks and stage conversations with artists and curators in Gwangju and curate a series of interventions and online performances of the theme of becoming animal as a metaphorical topology of the border. This will include presentations by British, Caribbean, Korean and UAE based artists on the streaming platform Periscope and Facebook live.


Symposium schedule:

Day 1: Beyond Curatorial
Session 1: Relational Ethics and Aesthetics
Session 2: Curating Asia: place & people

Day 2: Infrastructure
Session 3: De-centerialisation of cultures in the era of re-centralisation.
Session 4: Creating Legacies


September 1–2, 2016, 10am–1pm

M3, Asia Culture Center (ACC)
38 Munhwajeondang-ro, Dong-gu
South Korea


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