Show Me the World Symposium: Day 2, cont’d

Ng Yi-Sheng

June 29, 2015

Still catching up on documenting Saturday’s events. Everything in the symposium got delayed a little because of lunch, and I had to rush off to meet my boyfriend for Toyo Ito.

So I only caught a teensy bit of Florian Malzacher’s Empty Stages, Crowded Room presentation. It seemed pretty decent, though – I mean, unlike a lot of other presenters, he was actually talking directly about curatorship.

FM: Curating is a constellation, not an activity.

He noted, for instance, that the renowned visual arts curator, Hans Ulrich Obrist, claimed that the 20 th century’s greatest curator was from the performing arts: the Russian ballet impresario Sergei Dhiagliev.

Hans Ulrich Obrist: He brought together art, choreography, music… Stravinsky, Picasso, Braque, Natalia Goncharova… the greatest artists, composers, dancers and choreographers of his time.

(I have the direct quote ‘cos there’s an article of his in the programme, btw.)

While I was present, Malzacher explored expanded concepts of site-specific performance: the Human Microphones of the Occupy movement, for instance, and the PlasticBag International Festival, which involved the creation of a “non-existent” festival, simply by distributing festival bags in a European city.

Also explorations of how a traditional theatre could be reimagined.

FM: A lot of curating performing artsiIs using your restrictions, like the logic of the architecture. Like, theatre is supposed to forget the passage of time, so why not have a show that runs for 72 hours, or in the morning?

[ Source]

One of the most interesting examples of a non-conventional work in a theatre he mentioned was Jonas Staal’s New World Summit, which went on show at the Berlin Biennale. Illegal “terrorist” organisations were given booths and podiums, where representatives (sometimes lawyers on behalf of members) could give speeches about their cause. Because while a swastika might be illegal in Germany, a swastika on stage isn’t. No matter how genuine the actors are, it’s all a *performance*.

Y’know what? Let’s ask the Singapore Art Museum to program that for the next Singapore Biennale! I’m sure MHA wouldn’t mind!

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  • 2015