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

DATE & TIME: 10:00 – 13:00, 1- 2 September, 2016
VENUE: M3, Asia Culture Center, 38 Munhwajeondang-ro, Dong-gu, Gwangju, Korea.


Sheikha Hoor Bint Sultan Al Qasimi (President and Director, Sharjah Art Foundation), Jeonhwan Cho (Research Fellow of Asia Culture Center), Graeme Mortimer Evelyn(Artist; Independent Curator), Judith Greer (International Programmes Director, Sharjah Art Foundation), 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), 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)

David A Bailey, the founding director of International Curators Forum, UK
CO-CURATORS: JW Stella and Mark Waugh


Asia Culture Center, Gwangju, Korea and International Curators Forum, London, UK are pleased 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 Art Foundation) and Barbados (Black Diaspora Visual Arts/ Barbados Museum & Historical Society) 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.

Whereas increased global mobilities, displacement, and the vast emigration of cultural producers has had a profound effect on contemporary art and curatorial practice for the last three decades, focused research has not been conducted on the impact of these developments.

Similarly, little attempt has been made to understand how curatorial practice in Asia has been influenced by cross-cultural diasporas or how the emergence of a more globalised art world has taken account of these new networks, flows and their dispersal, which increasingly operate at an international, trans-national, multi-national and global level, with the local and global in constant dialogue with one another.

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 co-organised by Asia Culture Center, Gwangju, Korea and International Curators Forum, London, UK with the generous support by Art Council England and University Art London, UK.

Day 1. Beyond Curatorial (1 Sep.)
Session1: Relational Ethics and Aesthetics (10.00 – 11.30)
Speakers: Sara Raza, Jian Jun Xi, Graeme Mortimer Evelyn
Moderator: Mark Waugh

Session 2: Curating Asia: place & people (12.00 – 13.30)
Speakers: Kyong Park, JW Stella, Namsoo Kim, Mark Waugh
Moderator: David A. Bailey MBE

Day 2. Infrastructure (2 Sep)
Session 3: De-centerialisation of cultures in the era of re-centralisation. (10.00 – 11.15)
Speakers: Sheikha Hoor Bint Sultan Al Qasimi Jessica Taylor, Giuseppe Moscatello, Melanie Keen
Moderator: Mark Waugh
Session 4: Creating Legacies (11.30 – 13.00)
Speakers: Mark Waugh, Yongsung Paik, Judith Greer, Jeonhwan Cho
Moderator: David A. Bailey MBE

Waugh Office live streams for ICF conference hosted by Asian Culture Center Gwangju 2016:Is the curator an agent or double agent of cultural identity?

One interface for periscope is a map with dots. Sometimes it means that those live are in the territory signified on the map however sometimes there are snags. Often Russian scoopers turn up in France, Turkey etc which signifies that the digital topography does not respect borders. In the digital cartography we are most like the nomadic subjects of the Altermodern, a portmanteau word defined by Nicolas Bourriaud, in an attempt at contextualizing art made in today’s global context as a reaction against standardisation and commercialism.

Waugh Office operates in this terrain which might also be defined as a chameleon space where filters draw identities together. Under the surface of subjectivity what animal tropes of territory are healthy and which are regressive? How do artists respond to being representatives of cultures and when do they escape such stereotypes? Under the title of #becominganimal Julia Waugh of Waugh Office has curated a series of interventions and interruptions that explore the theme of becoming animal as a metaphorical topology of the border and will introduce the audience to the works of Sheena Rose, Sharon Norwood, Samson Kambalu, Sophie Whooly, and also stage in Gwangju and Seoul including a special studio session with Yeesookyung.

periscope and/ Facebook live.

Hew Locke: The Tourists, 2016 (extract)
Sophie Wooley: Expat on a balcony ,2014
Samson Kambula: I Leave my shadow behind, 2016/ Dogs see invisible things, 2016/ Superfly, 2016, Don’t Walk, 2016/ Casablanca XXXI, 2016
Yeesookyung: Island Adventure 2014, 2016 (extract)
Sharon Norwood: Hair Stories – performance live on periscope
Harold Offeh: Call and response Tate, 2014
Sheena Rose: Calculating cultures – performance live on periscope


Category: What's On