‘Institution for the Future’ – Book launch

It’s that time of year again. Time for the contemporary Chinese art world to take the global stage and make a statement. It’s at full speed in China right now, gaining momentum every single minute. The Fourth Guangzhou Triennial opens on Friday (28th September), and the Ninth Shanghai Biennale on Monday (1st October). For many of us right now our feet aren’t touching the ground. It often feels like our heads are just, and I mean just above water. I fly to Guangzhou tomorrow to attend all the opening events for the Triennial as I have given support to this project in a curatorial capacity in addition to copy editing the entire catalogue (I previously wrote about that here). I’m was pleased to discover there’s a swimming pool in the hotel. I’ll be escaping there for calm from the art storm.

On the same days as the openings of the Guangzhou Triennial and the Shanghai Biennale, is the launch of the book ‘Institution for the Future’, a publication produced in association with the Chinese Art Centre where I am about to be Research Curator from late October 2012. I am already very excited to start this job as I am slowly become more and more involved with its happenings, projects, exhibitions and research…things very much in planning.

In Guangzhou, the book will be launched at 10.30am on 28th September at the Guangdong Times Museum, and in Shanghai at 6pm on 1st October at Glamour Bar, M on the Bund, in collaboration with launch of a special September issue of Yishu journal with same title ‘Institution for the Future’ focusing on institution changes in the region co-edited in collaboration with the Shanghai-based curator Biljana Ciric. The publication shares the same title as the exhibitionInstitution for the Future’, presented as part of the Asia Triennial Manchester 2011, curated by Biljana Ciric and Chinese Art Centre. ‘Institution for the Future’ showcased artists’ collectives and small, independent, para-institutions from various Asian countries who are actively engaged with their local arts scenes and who attempt to contribute to the development of an arts infrastructure in their regions.

The book is an archive of ideas bringing together reflections by artists, curators and other cultural workers on what an institution for the future should and needs to look like. The need to evolve our ways of working has always been necessary. In light of the drastic changes to the structure of the art world over the last decade and the wider socio-political and economic challenges we are facing the need to reconsider our modes of operating to find alternatives seems more pressing than ever. How might we see beyond the current and develop institutional models that function in an unknown future? Through pondering what an institution for the future might look like the contributors explore a rich array of questions including what the relationship between an institution and artists should be, the possibilities for institutions and activism, an institution’s frame of reference and how should it connect to local and international contexts, the role of an institution in research and knowledge production, an institutions relationship to the temporal as well as spatial and an institution as a way of being.

Contributions include drawings, critical texts, informal correspondence, found text, hypothetical proposals, interviews and diagrammatic explorations by Ade Darmawan (ruangrupa), Alistair Hudson (Grizedale Arts), Dmitry Vilensky, Dorothea von Hantelmann, Elaine W Ho, Gerald Raunig, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Hu Xiangqian, Ho Tzu Nyen, Jens Hoffmann, Joăo Ribas, Jun Yang, Keren Cytter, Liu Ding, Marina Abramović, Michael Lee, Monika Szewczyk, Nikita Cai,  Richard Streitmatter-Tran, Roslisham Ismail aka Ise, Sam Bower (Green Museum), Seng Yujin,  Third Belgrade, Tino Sehgal, Vandy Rattana and Yoko Ono. The book was organised and edited by Biljana Ciric and Sally Lai, Director of the Chinese Art Centre, and designed by emerging artists Lu Pingyuan and He Yiming, who I actually hope to work with in the future.

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