In this Frank Davis Memorial Lecture JJ Chan and Sunshine Wong will work through some ideas surrounding ‘critical care’ as an ethos for arts organisational infrastructure. Just over a year ago, JJ demanded ‘a radical reconfiguration of the artistic and curatorial conscience’, a call that was echoed in many variations as 2020 unfolded into global pandemic and unrest. Beyond institutional declarations of solidarity and Instagram black squares, what does this work actually involve? How does an organisational body ‘reconfigure’ itself? This conversation will describe the desires, aims and emergent processes of the 12-month residency programme Blueprints for the Otherwise. It will situate the speakers’ respective and collective positions in relation to the social and cultural events of the past year to pave the way for ‘critical care’ as an organisational ethos: ‘critical’ in the sense of urgency; ‘critical’ in the meaningful ways we nurture those around us.
JJ Chan is an artist working across and amid sculpture, moving image, and writing. Their work draws from lived experience and stories stolen from eavesdropped conversations to explore the edges of our realities in the constructions of our identities. Through storytelling and world-building, their work (re)searches for an alternative space beyond aggressively progressive capitalist time, seeking new worlds from the ashes of the present. At the foundations of their work and (re)search, is an investigation of portraiture and self-portraiture which seeks new cartographies of gender, identity, and collecting, that are sited at the boundaries between the authentic and the imaginary.
Sunshine Wong is an art worker, researcher and facilitator. Born and raised in Hong Kong, she was an art teacher there before relocating to Berlin where she completed her MA and curated art events as part of the 91mQ collective. Her doctoral research examined the ambivalences of social practice art through affect and embodiment. Current interests include artmaking infrastructures, critical care approaches, and co-vulnerabilities in times of contagion. She is Curator at Bloc Projects in Sheffield, Regional Editor (Yorkshire and Humberside) for Corridor 8, and irregularly convenes a “slow reading” group called TL;DR for anyone who has a complicated relationship with working in the arts.
About the series ‘Asian Art after Quarantine’:
Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, there has been a surge in racist attacks against Asian and Asian diasporic people across the globe; from everyday microaggressions to the recent mass shootings in Atlanta, USA, in March 2021. Yet, international media coverage has continued to disproportionally focus on the ‘China threat’ instead of giving voice and visibility to Asian communities. In solidarity with social justice movements and organisations such as #iamnotavirus, Stop AAPI Hate and StopDiscriminAsian (SDA), the 2021 Frank Davis Lecture Series presents a series of dialogues and conversations centred on Chinese and British-Chinese diasporic artistic experience in a turbulent year marked by city-wide quarantines and isolation, a scarcity of funding and public platforms for the arts, the unmasking of institutional structures of racism and anti-Asian violence.
Organised by Dr Wenny Teo (The Courtauld)
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