Finding Kindred, Beyond Blood or Border

Curator Zoe Butt reflects on her bonds of unity with creators, colleagues and friends to dimension the power that lies in cultural work, and how knowledge is articulated as a lived experience to nurture the struggle and survival in a wounded world.

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  1. See: Elizabeth Inandiak, Merapi Omahku (Indonesia: Babad Alas, 2010)

  2. Initiated by The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre (Ho Chi Minh City) in 2018, Pollination provides emerging curators and artists in South East Asia the opportunity to co-produce and collaborate, to mutually benefit from this region’s private arts infrastructure—platforms recognizing the value of sharing (pollinating) their critical ideas and activities. Aiming to set up a regional community of producers linking talent to network, space and opportunity, Pollination seeks to nurture artistic practice via curatorial enquiry, with the view that deeper connections between artists and curators enable critical reflection, writing and dialog—a discourse greatly needed as an intra-regional comparable accessible resource. Pollination is envisaged as a long-term collaborative exercise between different institutions/community groups across Southeast Asia, with the aim of offering emerging curatorial and artistic talent the chance to work with other like-minded entities in their region. As one of the first private/non-governmental initiatives of its kind, Pollination aims to develop and nurture the skills and relationships between artists and curators interested in working (and questioning) institutional structures of display in Southeast Asia. See here for more information.

  3. The third edition of Pollination is organized by The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre (Ho Chi Minh City); co-funded by SAM Funds for Art and Ecology (Jakarta) and MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum (Chiang Mai), with the support of Selasar Sunaryo Art Space (Bandung). Project period January 2020 – May 2021. The exhibition Of Hunters will take place at MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum in April 2021; followed by the symposium The Gatherers at Selasar Sunaryo in May 2021 (this latter event also to launch the project website ‘www.ofhuntersandgatherers.com’, with the generous support of the Grey Center for Art and Enquiry, University of Chicago). Curatorial advisors for the third edition of Pollination include Agung Hujatnikajennong (Bandung), Vipash Purichanont (Bangkok) and Zoe Butt (Ho Chi Minh City).

  4. Local embodied knowledge is here understood as local wisdom within the Indonesian context; or as local spiritual knowledge within the Thai context. Both these attempts at translating local words kearifan lokal and ไทย into English are, however, insufficient. In short, local embodied knowledge refers to the practice of learning whereby the body receives practice in specific sites, with specific rituals. It is understood that the experiential knowing of knowledge and its continuous presence in community—via oral storytelling, spiritual or religious ritual, folkloric superstition—are undervalued or little taught within the dominant cultural memory of both countries. In the context of Pollination #3, local embodied knowledge is particularly explored in relation to ideas of human ecology and its natural environment”. Excerpt from curatorial report by LIR and Kittima Chareeprasit, September 2020.

  5. Tents of Thought is hosted by Walter Mignolo, co-initiated with Sandi Hilai and Alessandro Petti, with members Charles Esche, Munir Fasheh, May Al Dabbagh, Liliana Coutinho, and myself, Zoe Butt. The initiators state Tents of thought is a temporary gathering space in which many languages of people and memories that have been ostracized and downplayed by western modernity began to take a front stage. We, Sandi, Alessandro and Walter, choose to initiate tents of thought in order to be in conversation with people that, from a completely different prospective and geography, have similar urgencies. We aim to build alliances between parallel struggles that suffer from the same regime of oppression and to challenge and reduce the universalistic notions produced by western civilization. Tents of thoughts is a place of collective living and learning in the joy and beauty of thinking together.” (May 2019)


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