Witte de With


10 Jan 2013 - 09 Mar 2014

10 January 2013 - 9 March 2014

A Constructed World
Abbas, Nadim
Ayas, Defne
Brown, Mimi
Chong, Heman
Ginwala, Natasha
Lee, Michael
Li, Christina
Rehberg, Vivian Sky
Sin Tung, Ho
Tan, Yuk King
Young, Samson

Spring Workshop

Do you believe in productive misunderstandings? Does moderation always entail translation? Are you more, or less, defined by geography? When I say “satellite geography,” are you annoyed or amused? A project is a fragment of the future: true or false? If asked, could you explain the difference between moderation and mediation? Without being cynical: aren’t you tired of cynicism? Would you say accommodation is of great or only moderate importance to you? How often, if ever, do you feel manipulated? When you hear “a cross-continental stage for play and production,” does it confound you? Would you say yes if I asked you to moderate me? Do you believe streams of energy can persist beyond a year’s time? Are you taking pleasure in any of this? Should you?
Moderation(s) brings together an international group of artists, curators, and writers including A Constructed World, Nadim Abbas, Lee Ambrozy, Michael Lee, Gabriel Lester, Christina Li, Bik van der Pol, Eszter Salamon, Martine Stig, and Koki Tanaka, who will participate in a year-long program of contemporary discourse and production between Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art and Spring – a recently established non-profit art space and residency in Hong Kong. Within this framework, Witte de With invited Heman Chong, a Singaporean artist, curator, and writer, to steer the program which will involve more than fifty artists and engender a conference, three exhibitions, three residencies, and a book of short stories.
In October 2012, a working group of artists, curators, and Witte de With staff members came together in Rotterdam. Comprised of A Constructed World (Geoff Lowe and Jacqueline Riva), Nadim Abbas, Defne Ayas, Mimi Brown, Amira Gad, Natasha Ginwala, Latitudes (Max Andrews and Mariana Cánepa Luna), Michael Lee, Christina Li, Pages (Nasrin Tabatabai and Babak Afrassiabi), Vivian Sky Rehberg, and Samuel Saelemakers, the group took part in a two-day workshop developed by Heman Chong to explore and identify materials that will drive the content of Moderation(s).
The first project to surface from this workshop is Bibliotheek (Library), a list of books identified by the group to function both as a bibliography for Moderation(s), as well as a planned physical library that will be installed both at Witte de With and Spring. Future participants to Moderations(s) will also be invited to suggest books, creating an ever-expanding common library that can be replicated easily by any individual, community, or institution. You are welcome to download the first version of Bibliotheek (Library) here.
A selection of projects to come as part of Moderation(s):
Curatorial duo Latitudes – no strangers to Rotterdam, having curated Portscapes in collaboration with the Port of Rotterdam and SKOR in 2009 – will be in residence at Spring and produce Incidents of Travel (January 2013), for which the duo has invited artists including Ho Sin Tung, Yuk King Tan, Nadim Abbas, and Samson Young to develop day-long tours that articulate the city of Hong Kong and their artistic practice through routes and waypoints. Artist Michael Lee will join the project to develop a series of maps and charts that trace the larger constellation of Moderation(s) that will punctuate the year’s program with multiple cartographic interventions. Performances by artists including Daniel K, Benjamin Seror, Anthony Marcellini, Eszter Salamon and Koki Tanaka will take place in and around Rotterdam in A Thing At A Time during the weekend of April 20-21 2013. In June, fifteen artists, curators, and writers from Hong Kong will produce short stories during A Fictional Residency. Additionally, a conference led by four moderators, Lee Ambrozy, Amira Gad, Christina Li and Xiaoyu Weng, involving key guests will be held at Witte de With. A Constructed World will produce The Social Contract, at Spring in October 2013, a work in which audiences are asked to sign a legal contract restraining them from speaking about what they saw inside the exhibition. Finally, in December 2013, The Part In The Story Where A Part Becomes A Part Of Something Else, a large-scale show mounted at Witte de With that will sublimate many of the conversations and gestures found within Moderation(s) with works from artists including Bik Van der Pol, Martine Stig, Fucking Good Art, Gabriel Lester, Lucas Lenglet, Johan Zetterqvist, Ho Sin Tung, Warren Leung and Sara Wong, Ho Rui An, Ang Song Ming, Patrick Killoran.
In speaking about this project, moderator Heman Chong proposes “to make ‘soft’ the practices of both artist and curator, so that one becomes easily soluble in the other, while retaining their unique forms and patterns of working. The participants will be encouraged to indulge in the pleasures of exchanging knowledge and tools without any pressure to collaborate.”
Initiated by Witte de With Director Defne Ayas in collaboration with Spring Founder Mimi Brown, the program kicked off in August 2012 with a performative teaser. Presented at Spring, in Hong Kong, Guilty Pleasures by artist Ang Song Ming engaged the assembled audience as participants in the setting of a listening party. Having been asked to bring along a song they considered to be their “guilty pleasure,” the audience members then took turns “confessing” as to why they found their song both enjoyable and incriminating, before playing it for the crowd.
“This is where the story starts, in this threadbare room. The walls are exploding. The windows have turned into telescopes. Moon and stars are magnified in this room. The sun hangs over the mantelpiece. I stretch out my hand and reach the corners of the world. The world is bundled up in this room. Beyond the door, where the river is, where the roads are, we shall be. We can take the world with us when we go and sling the sun under your arm. Hurry now, it’s getting late. I don’t know if this is a happy ending but here we are let loose in open fields.” Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson.
Moderation(s) is initiated by Witte de With’s Director Defne Ayas in collaboration with Spring Workshop Founder Mimi Brown.
The project is made possible in part with support by AMMODO. The research part of Moderation(s) in 2012 was supported by a Mondriaan Fund (Research & Development) grant.

Tags: Nadim Abbas, Heman Chong, Gabriël Lester, Li Ming, Bik van der Pol, Martine Stig, Samson Young