ISSUE 9 Curating Against Forgetting
Transgressing Epistemic Boundaries

In the 9th issue of Curatography, titled “Curating Against Forgetting,” we have brought together a collection of works by artists and writers who utilize visual analysis to delve into exhibition histories, in order to explore the forgotten aspects of public memory. Our objective is to shed light on the processes through which specific epistemological boundaries are constructed and how cultural/historical amnesia takes shape. This project stems from a genuine interest in critical artistic research that has gained significant attention in recent years. Parallel to this trend, within the realm of curating, there has been a growing movement over the past decade involving numerous artist-curators actively engaging in dialogues with intellectual history. Alongside the pioneering influence of the Raqs Media Collective in the region of Asia, we have observed a significant increase in the curatorial exploration of intellectual historiography across various artistic, curatorial, and literary mediums since the 2010s. Artists such as Liu Ding, Park Chan-kyong, Ho Tzu Nyen, Jitish Kallat, Shubigi Rao, and many others have made valuable contributions to this ongoing endeavor.

In the historiography of exhibition making, there is a recurring pattern emerging that both celebrates, and therefore mythologizes, “artist-curators” as pioneering figures who shape curatorial visions. It may be worthwhile to subject these subsequent “artist-curator-intellectual historiographers” to an even more critically rigorous framework of exhibition history, warranting further scrutiny and examination in the future. However, it is important to note that this issue of Curatography does not aim to exhaust this vast subject within its limited spatial capacity. Instead, the editorial team provides a glimpse into these individual approaches in historicizing respective narratives and archival materials, thereby elucidating a distinctive style of artistic and critical analysis.

In his essay, “Icon and Network: Solidarity’s Mediums and a Materialist Internationalism,” written in the wake of the outbreak of the COVID-19 global pandemic, artist Ho Rui An extends notions of viral transmission borrowed from epidemiology to the field of visual semiotics to distinguish between two distinct logics of international solidarity: iconic reproduction and the production of “materialist” networks. Ho further provides a close reading of Naeem Mohaiemen’s Two Meetings and a Funeral (2017), which traces the project’s leftist historiography and explores a turning point in the Non-Aligned Movement, from open internationalism to conservative nationalism. Adopting Mohaiemen’s temporal framework, Ho further explores the ideological shifts of the transformative 1970s, a period marked by the rise of global neoliberalism and the decline of emancipatory politics.

Co-authored by artist Wu Chi-Yu and myself, our essay, “The Settlers and the Unhomely: The Cinematic Visions of Infrastructure in Eastern Taiwan,” analyzes various cinematic portrayals of logistical infrastructure in the region. We examine these representative examples as part of the ongoing settler colonial legacy, ironically embedded in manifold indigenous cultures’ erasures to the point of oblivion. In this piece, we interrogate a notable absence of decolonial discourse, a factor that can be seen to validate the vital development of Taiwan’s infrastructure, despite its undeniable colonial origins. We aim to make visible the erasure techniques evident in the found footages we collected, presented through the lens of Formosan settler logics, as we hope that these settler cinemas will shed light on the limitations of liberal visibility.

In addition to the aforementioned essays, we have extended an invitation to Chen Wan-Yin, a Taiwanese art critic based in the Netherlands, to provide her insightful response by delving into the discourses surrounding exhibition history that have piqued her interest in recent times. Inspired by an epistolary correspondence between artist Rasheed Araeen and cultural studies scholar Chen Kuan-hsing, which explores the intersection of art and leftwing politics, Chen Wan-Yin seizes upon this evocative exchange to delve into a critical reflection on the relationship between art, research, and their significance within the larger context of our journal’s focus on Asia. The untimely recollection of this nearly forgotten correspondence serves as a master signifier for the essay, stimulating an expansive speculation on the complexities inherent in this multivalent discourse.

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Author

Zian Chen works as contributing editor for Ocula. As a writer and researcher, he collaborates with artists to develop alternative frameworks for thinking and speculation. Together with artist Ho Rui An, they conducted a research residency in Duke Kunshan University (2023). He is one of the founding members of Pailang Museum of Settler Selves (2022–), an editor-in-residence for Compost in ICA NYU Shanghai (2021–2022), and one of the editors for Made in Public (2022) and Arrow Factory: The Last Five Years (2020). He has also curated Production Fever 2008: Study Materials in Nida Art Colony, Nida (2022). In 2020–21, he was one of the founding editors for Heichi Magazine, an online journal for contemporary art in Chinese and English.

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Issue 10 Exhibition Amnesia
Editorial / Exhibition Amnesia, or, the Apparatus of Speculative Curating Hongjohn Lin
How to Build an Exhibition Archive - A Preliminary Proposal from a Generative Studies Perspective Lin Chi-Ming
Reformulating the Architecture of Exhibitions Miya Yoshida
Orality and Its Amnesia in the Mist of Metalanguage Tai-Sung Chen

Issue 9 Curating Against Forgetting
Editorial / Transgressing Epistemic Boundaries Zian Chen
Icon and Network: Solidarity’s Mediums and a Materialist Internationalism Ho Rui An
Settlers and the Unhomely: The Cinematic Visions of Infrastructure in Eastern Taiwan Zian Chen and Chi-Yu Wu
Memories of Underdevelopment: Revisiting Curatorial Methods and the Asian Context Wan-Yin Chen

Issue 8 Reformatting Documenta with lumbung Formula: documenta fifteen
Editorial / Reformatting documenta with lumbung Formula: documenta fifteen Sandy Hsiu-chih Lo
Harvesting and a Single Story of Lumbung Putra Hidayatullah
The Politics in the Ramayana / Ramakien in documenta fifteen: Decoding the Power of the Thai Ruling Class Jiandyin
Malaise of Commons: on the Quality of the Relationships in documenta fifteen Hsiang-Pin Wu

Issue 7 The Heterogeneous South
Editorial / The Heterogeneous South Hongjohn Lin
The South - An art of asking and listening Manray Hsu
Uncharted Territory: The Roots of Curatorial Practices in Eastern Indonesia Ayos Purwoaji
South Fever: The South as a Method in Taiwan Contemporary Curating Pei-Yi Lu

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 10 Exhibition Amnesia

Issue 9 Curating Against Forgetting

Issue 8 Reformatting documenta with lumbung Formula: documenta fifteen

Issue 7 The Heterogeneous South

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