ISSUE 6 The Beginning of Curating
The Beginning of Curating
In both Greek and Latin, “to act” means “to begin” and “to initiate.” Especially in Latin, “to be free” and “”to begin,” or even “to be human,” are one and the same. Because the birth of each person is a reaffirmation of the original beginning, it represents something new entering the world that already exists, and introduces into the world the ability to begin again—that is, freedom. Freedom develops only when action creates its own space in the world. Every action is a “miracle,” creating something unforeseen.1 For the space in the world created by free action, Greece used the term polis for defining the representative space, because the free people in the polis experienced equality, could manifest themselves in the presence of others, and could share the public characteristics of being together with others.
The two papers and one creative discourse conducted by drawings included in this issue, “The Beginning of Curating,” all focus on the “action” and the beginning of curating, creating the space of the world in different aspects. Among the three papers, Bùi Kim Đĩnh’s “Are Curators Really Needed?” uses two curatorial cases, “Nổ Cái Bùm” (NCB) and “A Queer Museum” (AQM), as examples of the necessity for curators in the context of contemporary Vietnam. However, whether the people in charge of an exhibition are called curators or not, these two curatorial cases demonstrate the creative energy of artistic curatorial actions in Vietnam, where censorship is strict and contemporary art has no freedom of expression. Perhaps, as Hannah Arendt said, “Hence it is not in the least superstitious, it is even a counsel of realism, to look for the unforeseeable and unpredictable, to be prepared for and to expect ‘miracles’ in the political realm. And the more heavily the scales are weighted in favor of disaster, the more miraculous will the deed done in freedom appear; for it is disaster, not salvation, which always happens automatically and therefore always must appear to be irresistible.”2
Another paper comprises drawings of the concept of “Lumbung,” by rangrupa, “The Documents 15 and the Concept of Lumbung.” Rangrupa intends to expand the practice of the concept of Lumbung in the Documents 15. “Lumbung” is not just a traditional Indonesian barn, but also a social public space and a platform for sharing public resources. This is a space in the world produced from the culture of Indonesia. Rangrupa tries to use the opportunity to curate Documents 15 and the concept of Lumbung as the beginning of curating, and for inviting artists to reimagine shared public space and the possibilities of creating other free spaces in the world.
“The Three Axes of Curating: Ethics, Politics, and Aesthetics,” by Sandy Hsiu-chih Lo outlines the coordinates of curating with the axes of ethics, politics, and aesthetics, and treats each curatorial practice as a topography, echoing Arendt’s tracing of the origin of the word “culture” in ancient Rome, and the agricultural connotations of art, pointing out that curating is about taking care of the world and creating a livable place for togetherness. Curating the care of the world is acting ethically, politically, and aesthetically.
If it is said that human beings are able to demonstrate miracles and establish their own reality in the world because of their dual endowments of freedom and action, then curating is to take care of the space of the world with others through speech and action, whether it’s a polis or otherwise named place. At the same time, because of the natality and pluralism of human beings, such a curatorial practice also has infinite possibilities and creative potential.
1 Hannah Arendt, Between Past and Future, New York: The Viking Press, 1961, pp. 165-171.
2 Ibid., p. 170.
1 Hannah Arendt, Between Past and Future, New York: The Viking Press, 1961, pp. 165-171.
2 Ibid., p. 170.
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Author
Sandy Hsiu-chih Lo is an independent curator whose main research areas include urban studies, philosophical construction of space, gender politics, contemporaneity of indigenous art, and situated knowledge. Her current program focuses on curating as a method of social practice, spatial practice, and critical thinking. Curating topography, a curatorial practice method that she has actively used in recent years, uses relative and relational spatial concepts to bring to light different cultural concepts such as myths, legends, history, memories, morals, ethics, desires and rights embedded in the pluralistic dialectic concept of place in order to strengthen political and ethical transformation through the contrast, confrontation, overlap, and juxtaposition in the becoming of place.
Her major curatorial projects include “Di Hwa Sewage Treatment Plant Art Installation: A New Cosmopolitan World”, ”Street Theatre” (awarded as the best curating work and outstanding project by Ministry of Culture, Taipei, 2004-2005), “Pop Pill” (“Shanghai Cool”, Taiwan Section, Doland Museum, Shanghai, 2005), “Border-crossing, A Tale of Two Cities” (Taipei, Shanghai, 2005-2006), “Exorcising Exoticism”(Taipei, 2006), “Poetic Borderline” (“Borderliner”, Taiwan Section, Festival of Contemporary Art Varna, Bulgaria, 2007). She is the co-curator of the related project of 9th Shanghai Biennale “Zhongshan Park Project”(the related project of 9th Shanghai Biennale, Taiwan, China, 2012-2013), “A Revelation from Ponso no Tao”(Orchid Island, Taiwan, 2014), “Taitung Ruin Academy”(Taitung, Taiwan, 2014), “Topography of Mirror Cities” (Taipei, Dhaka, Bangkok, Jakarta, Phnom Penh and Kuala Lumpur, 2015-2021), “2018 Kuandu Biennale Seven Questions for Asia” (2018-2019), “2019 Green Island Human Rights Art Festival Visiting No.15 Liumagou: Memory, Place and Narrative” and “2020 Green Island Human Rights Art Festival If on the Margin, Draw a Coordinate.”
Archive
Archive

Issue 6 The Beginning of Curating
Editorial / The Beginning of Curating Sandy Hsiu-chih Lo
Are Curators Really Needed? Bùi Kim Đĩnh
The Documents 15 and the Concept of Lumbung ruangrupa
The Three Axes of Curating: Ethics, Politics, and Aesthetics Sandy Hsiu-chih Lo

Issue 5 Curatorial Episteme
Editorial / Curatorial Episteme Hongjohn Lin
Epistemic Encounters Henk Slager
The Curatorial Thing Hongjohn Lin
Ethics of Curating Meng-Shi Chen

Issue 4 Curatorial Consciousness in the Times of Post-Nationalism
Editorial /​ Curatorial Consciousness in the Times of Post-Nationalism Manray Hsu
When Kacalisian Culture Meets the Vertical City: Contemporary Art from Greater Sandimen Manray Hsu
Pathways and Challenges: Art History in the Context of Global Contemporary Art Jau-Lan Guo
Curating Commemoration: Conditions of Political Choreography, a Performance Exhibition in Retrospect Sophie Goltz

Issue 3 Curating Performativity
Editorial /​ Curating Performativity I-wen Chang
Choreographing Exhibitions: Performative Curatorgraphy in Taiwan I-wen Chang
Living and Working Together in the Now Normal: Visual Arts and Co. at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre Pawit Mahasarinand
The Curatorial as A Praxis of Disobedience Miya Yoshida

Issue 2 Curators' Living Rooms
Editorial /​ Curators' Living Rooms Sandy Hsiu-chih Lo
Extended Living Room: Space and Conversation ruangrupa(Ade Darmawan, Mirwan Andan)
Freeing the Weights of the Habitual Raqs Media Collective
Curating Topography Sandy Hsiu-chih Lo

Issue 1 Curatography
Editorial /​ One Step Forward, Two Steps Backward Hongjohn Lin
What is Curatography? Hongjohn Lin
Les fleurs américaines Yoann Gourmel, Elodie Royer​
There are No Blank Slates Eileen Legaspi Ramirez​
Issue 6 The Beginning of Curating

Issue 5 Curatorial Episteme

Issue 4 Curatorial Consciousness in the Times of Post-Nationalism

Issue 3 Curating Performativity

Issue 2 Curators' Living Rooms

Issue 1 Curatography