Do you believe in productive misunderstandings? Does moderation always entail translation? Are you more, or less, defined by geography? When I say “satellite geography,” are you annoyed or amused? A project is a fragment of the future: true or false? If asked, could you explain the difference between moderation and mediation? Without being cynical: aren’t you tired of cynicism? Would you say accommodation is of great or only moderate importance to you? How often, if ever, do you feel manipulated? When you hear “a cross-continental stage for play and production,” does it confound you? Would you say yes if I asked you to moderate me? Do you believe streams of energy can persist beyond a year’s time? Are you taking pleasure in any of this? Should you?
Moderation(s) brings together an international group of artists, curators, and writers including A Constructed World, Nadim Abbas, Lee Ambrozy, Oscar van den Boogaard, Michael Lee, Gabriel Lester, Christina Li, Bik van der Pol, Eszter Salamon, and Koki Tanaka, who will participate in a program of contemporary discourse and production lasting for more than year and taking place between initiators Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art and Spring Workshop in Hong Kong. Within this framework, Witte de With invited Heman Chong, a Singaporean artist, curator, and writer, to steer the program which will involve more than fifty artists and engender a conference, three exhibitions, three residencies, and a book of short stories.
The first project part of Moderation(s) is Bibliotheek (Library), a list of books that functions both as a bibliography for Moderation(s), as well as a physical library installed at Witte de With and Spring. All participants to Moderations(s) are invited to suggest books, creating an ever-expanding common library that can be replicated easily by any individual, community, or institution. You are welcome to download the latest version of Bibliotheek (Library) here.
An overview of projects part of Moderation(s):
Curatorial duo Latitudes – no strangers to Rotterdam, having curated Portscapes in collaboration with the Port of Rotterdam and SKOR in 2009 – will be in residence at Spring and produce Incidents of Travel (January 2013), for which the duo has invited artists including Ho Sin Tung, Yuk King Tan, Nadim Abbas, and Samson Young to develop day-long tours that articulate the city of Hong Kong and their artistic practice through routes and waypoints. Artist Michael Lee will join the project to develop a series of maps and charts that trace the larger constellation of Moderation(s) that will punctuate the year’s program with multiple cartographic interventions. Performances by artists including Mette Edvardsen, Anthony Marcellini, Eszter Salamon, Benjamin Seror, and Koki Tanaka will take place in and around Witte de With in A Thing At A Time during the weekend of 19-20 April 2013. Alongside the programmed performances RoseLee Goldberg, Director of Performa, gives a talk and writer Guy Mannes-Abbott is invited as a witness to reflect upon the two-day program.
For A Fictional Residency, Dutch novelist Oscar van den Boogaard is invited as writer-in-residence at Spring. During his stay in Hong Kong he will be meeting and working with Hong Kong based Nadim Abbas (visual artist), Enoch Cheng (director and writer), Doretta Lau (journalist), and Laurent Gutierrez and Valérie Portefaix, together architectural duo MAP Office.These encounters will inspire a series of short stories.
Stories And Situations: The Moderation(s) Conference is a day-long conference taking place at Witte de With on 5 October 2013, where discourse and distance are the quintessential subject matters. For this, invited curators Lee Ambrozy, Amira Gad, Christina Li and Xiaoyu Weng work in collaboration with moderator Heman Chong.
A Constructed World will produce The Social Contract at Spring in October 2013, a work in which audiences are asked to sign a legal contract restraining them from speaking about what they saw inside the exhibition.
Finally, from 22 May to 17 August 2014, The Part In The Story Where A Part Becomes A Part Of Something Else, a large-scale show is mounted at Witte de With. This exhibition sublimates many of the conversations and gestures found within Moderation(s) with works from artists including Nadim Abbas, Bik Van der Pol, Michael Lee, Gabriel Lester, Ang Song-Ming, Praneet Soi, Ho Sin Tung, Warren Leung and Sara Wong, Johan Zetterquist.
In speaking about this project, moderator Heman Chong proposes “to make ‘soft’ the practices of both artist and curator, so that one becomes easily soluble in the other, while retaining their unique forms and patterns of working. The participants will be encouraged to indulge in the pleasures of exchanging knowledge and tools without any pressure to collaborate.”
Initiated by Witte de With Director Defne Ayas in collaboration with Spring Founder Mimi Brown, the program kicked off in August 2012 with a performative teaser. Presented at Spring, in Hong Kong, Guilty Pleasures by artist Ang Song Ming engaged the assembled audience as participants in the setting of a listening party. Having been asked to bring along a song they considered to be their “guilty pleasure,” the audience members then took turns “confessing” as to why they found their song both enjoyable and incriminating, before playing it for the crowd.
“This is where the story starts, in this threadbare room. The walls are exploding. The windows have turned into telescopes. Moon and stars are magnified in this room. The sun hangs over the mantelpiece. I stretch out my hand and reach the corners of the world. The world is bundled up in this room. Beyond the door, where the river is, where the roads are, we shall be. We can take the world with us when we go and sling the sun under your arm. Hurry now, it’s getting late. I don’t know if this is a happy ending but here we are let loose in open fields.” Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson.
Moderation(s) is initiated by Witte de With’s Director Defne Ayas in collaboration with Spring Workshop Founder Mimi Brown.
The project is made possible in part with support by AMMODO. The research part of Moderation(s) in 2012 was supported by a Mondriaan Fund (Research & Development) grant.
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