Odd Bedfellows: The Unlikely (but Necessary) Probabilities of Art, Space, and Listening
A discussion with Ng Hui Ying.

“What is art? What is political art? What is a conscious understanding of alternative forms that differ from what you believe in?

What is that visceral response you get when you see progressive values cut and pasted into a pastiche that’s all wrong, or worse, represented together with hugely privileged individuals? Is snark, in response, right? (Should there be a right or wrong? Is there?)

Art has always been a home for things less easily articulated or expressed. But the production of art itself, its entry into space, and the maintenance of that space – how do we make space for art, and keep space? What are the politics of it?

I hope, this evening, to talk* broadly about the ways we construct our worlds – the worlds we create and shape for ourselves, the worlds that include our alliances and monsters. I’ll look at 2 examples that have happened in the public sphere recently – one online and one in a physical setting.

I focus our attention on the emotions and actions we take around collective governance – withdrawal: cynicism, stereotype and heuristic, disgust, and approaching: being open (but standing firm), listening, a kernel of faith that change is possible. To make a statement – any statement –, what do we listen for, whom do we speak to? Ultimately, how do we forge solidarities through critique that rightly remains critical, but that works with the broader picture in mind?”

*Less a talk, more a discussion

[Image credit: Saburo Murakami’s “Hako” (or “Box”), created 1956, showcased at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009
[Part of Survey: Space, Sharing, Haunting curated by Post-Museum}