Para Site is proud to present the 2015 edition of its International Conference, a three-day major gathering in Hong Kong of practitioners from around the world, discussing developments in contemporary art exhibition making, the roles and responsibilities these formats have imagined for themselves in the context of today’s world. Together with this year’s conference, Para Site is launching a new educational programme, a week-long series of workshops conceived for a group of emerging professionals from across the region and the world.
Building on the tradition of Para Site’s annual international conferences as a space for debating issues of relevance for our field and its artistic and intellectual tools for engagement with the world, this year’s edition asks some fundamental questions about current positions taken by exhibitions. It looks at the various roles that exhibitions are ascribed, proposing four distinct, though sometimes overlapping, modes of conceiving exhibitions, each giving the title to a section in the conference. Exhibitions as part of the economy of artistic production looks at exhibitions primarily as necessary steps in the economy of the contemporary art system, as sites that help bring to life artistic production in a post-studio practice economy. This understanding emphasizes curatorial practice as a supporting and accompanying position to the artist. The section exhibitions as autonomous fictional realms describes those curatorial undertakings that create spaces of fiction, legislating their own conventions within their time and space coordinates and instituting an original contract with the audience about the rules of that space. A separation between reality and the realm invented by the exhibition is clearly marked. This mode of exhibition-making has often employed terms like poetics in recent times, and abstraction in previous ones to describe its strategy. Exhibitions as tools for writing history see themselves as generators of narratives to be circulated in the wider public world, as producers of historiographies that include and expand beyond the history of art into the various fields that art has been laying a claim of interpretation, in a process that has often been called knowledge production. Lastly, exhibitions as sites for direct political action see their political role as a more or less defined objective, to be achieved through affecting relations of power within the exhibition itself, within the institution hosting it, or within the political sphere it is able to engage with, or even more directly by shaping narratives and actions of consequence in the broadest of all public arenas. Curators, artists, and scholars are invited to debate these scenarios departing from exhibitions or curatorial practices by third parties which they consider crucial in one way or another.
Speakers at the conference include:art critic and independent curator, Mexico City), (independent curator and writer, London), (curator and artist, co-founder of C&G Artpartment, Hong Kong), Curator of Education and Public Programmes at Para Site), (Executive Director/Curator at Para Site), (author, music journalist, and cultural critic, Berlin), (Co-director of the Wuerttembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart), (Curator of documenta 14, Kassel), (artist, filmmaker, writer, and teacher, New York), (artist and independent curator, Bangkok), (Director at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha), (Director of Research and Programs at SALT, Istanbul), (Curator at M HKA, the Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp), (writer and editor of e-flux journal, New York), (curator and writer, Director at Spring Workshop, Hong Kong/Amsterdam), (writer and curator, member of the faculty of 2016 Liverpool Biennial, Brussels), (writer and curator, Kuala Lumpur), (artist, curator, researcher, and artistic director for Sa Sa Art Projects, Phnom Penh), (The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Associate Curator of Chinese Art at the Solomon. R. Guggenheim Museum, New York), Chantal Wong (Head of Strategy and Special Projects at Asia Art Archive and co-founder of Things That Can Happen, Hong Kong), and (curator, writer, and founder and executive director of soundpocket, Hong Kong).
The 2015 edition of Para Site International Conference is hosted by the legendary Sunbeam Theatre/新光戲院大劇場, the main venue for Cantonese opera in Hong Kong and an institution that has been at the heart of the city’s culture and politics in the past half a century.
The conference is free of charge to the public.
Live streaming is available during the Conference, and video documentation will be published online after the event.
Simultaneous translation to Cantonese will be provided on site.
Sponsored by Asian Art Hong Kong and supported by the Consulate General of Sweden, Hong Kong.
Special thanks to Spring Workshop and Goethe-Institut Hong Kong.
Para Site fully supports the democratic aspirations of the people of Hong Kong.