Do you believe in productive misunderstandings? Does moderation always entail translation? Are you more, or less, defined by geography? 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? How often, if ever, do you feel manipulated? When you hear “a cross-continental stage for play and production,” does it confound you? 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) is a long-term program, which started in January 2013 and exists as an immaterial temporary institute that perches on the two international art institutions that initiated it, namely Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam and Spring Workshop in Hong Kong. Within this framework Heman Chong, a Singaporean artist and writer, was invited to steer the program.
Moderation(s) unfolds over the span of seventeen months through different projects including three residencies, a series of performances, a book of short stories, and a conference. Each project installment of Moderation(s) questions or redefines the conditions of creating and producing objects, situations, and stories. The projects are developed independently from one another, yet often naturally inform and shape each other. This open-endedness is also tangible in the absence of a pre-established master plan dictating the course of the Moderation(s) program. Allowing for chance encounters and improvisation to often take the lead, the program reveals itself through its participants more than anything else. Driven by the desire to return to the specific nature of creative processes of production, doing preceded defining.
An overview of projects part of Moderation(s):
TEASER: GUILTY PLEASURES. AUGUST 2012, SPRING WORKSHOP
The program kicked off 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.
BIBLIOTHEEK (LIBRARY). ONGOING, WITTE DE WITH & SPRING WORKSHOP
Bibliotheek (Library) is a list of books that functions both as a bibliography for Moderation(s), as well as a temporary physical library. 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.
INCIDENTS OF TRAVEL. JANUARY 2013, SPRING WORKSHOP
During their residency at Spring, curatorial duo Latitudes produced Incidents of Travel for which the duo 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.
A THING AT A TIME. APRIL 2013, WITTE DE WITH
Performances by artists including Mette Edvardsen, Anthony Marcellini, Eszter Salamon, Benjamin Seror, and Koki Tanaka took place in and around Witte de With during A Thing At A Time. Alongside the programmed performances Director of Performa RoseLee Goldberg gave a talk and writer Guy Mannes-Abbott was invited as a witness to reflect upon the two-day program.
A FICTIONAL RESIDENCY. JUNE 2013, SPRING WORKSHOP
For A Fictional Residency, Dutch novelist Oscar van den Boogaard was invited as writer-in-residence at Spring. During his stay in Hong Kong Van den Boogaard and 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) each wrote a short story exploring the role of fiction within their respective practices.
STORIES AND SITUATIONS. OCTOBER 2013, WITTE DE WITH
Stories And Situations is a day-long conference where discourse and objecthood are the quintessential subject matters. For this, invited curators Lee Ambrozy, Amira Gad, Christina Li and Xiaoyu Weng worked in collaboration with moderator Heman Chong. All lectures and interventions part of the conference have been video recorded and are available online here.
THE SOCIAL CONTRACT. OCTOBER-DECEMBER 2013, SPRING WORKSHOP
A Constructed World produced The Social Contract at Spring, a work in which the audience is asked to sign a legal contract restraining them from speaking about what they saw inside the exhibition.
THE PART IN THE STORY. MAY-AUGUST 2014, WITTE DE WITH
The Part In The Story Where A Part Becomes A Part Of Something Else is a group exhibition at Witte de With which deals with the transmissive qualities of objects, situations, and storytelling, where one is soluble into the others. Including works by over forty artists, the formal relations between these three vehicles of mediation are rendered visible in the exhibition.
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.”
Moderation(s) is steered by artist and writer Heman Chong, initiated by Witte de With’s Director Defne Ayas in collaboration with Spring Workshop Founder and Director Mimi Brown, and developed together with Samuel Saelemakers (Associate Curator Witte de With)
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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