Recent Findings – Fueling Thoughts

Time to get back to blogging about academia, PhD findings, curatorial thoughts and concepts of artistic practice…my head is brimming with ideas and possibilities at the moment, which is surely a good thing right? It’s just finding the time to turn them into a reality and make them happen. Creativity in the making.

Earlier in the week I came across the construct below that is being used to advertise the ‘9th Gwangju Biennale 2012’. In fact, I think I might have posted it on my blog before…anyway, I’ll show it again. The exhibition is taking place from the 7th September to the 11th November this year under the thematic of ‘ROUNDTABLE’. It is ‘to explore the possibility of democratic and non-hierarchical exchange concerning global cultural production, through various forms of collective endeavour, research into historic entanglements among societies, and the exploration of diverse contexts of belonging.’ Basically, it sounds like one big dialogue between all those parties involved in such an event…and that’s what the construct below communicates too…thoughts and conversations. The co-artistic directors have said, ‘‘ROUNDTABLE’ allows us to reflect on our shared contemporaneity at a time when the tremendous momentum of ecological, political and economic change has radically transformed our global reality. This theme was derived initially from our working method of being geographically distant but brought together through different media of communication. No one sits at the head of the round table, no linear narrative drives its deliberations, and it becomes the seed-bed for the future.’ Pretty apt for describing the current cultural climate where it especially resonates with the way in which contemporary Chinese art is developing. I think I will reference this construct, amongst others, in Chapter 6 of my PhD thesis…I look forward to hearing and reading about how it actually functioned as a curatorial rationale later in the year.

Another find was the recently published book ‘Aftermath: A new global economic order?’(August 2011) by Craig Calhoun (Editor) and Georgi M. Derluguian (Editor). This book is the third in a series (after past and present) looking at the future of the global financial crisis and has a chapter dedicated to the Chinese political and economic economy, and the growing power of the nation. They raise questions such as will countries such as China, India and Brazil become the new world leaders? And is their growth due to following conventional economic guidelines or instead to strong state leadership and sometimes protectionism? This text I might have to read in order to provide some current economic context as part of the final chapter and conclusion as part of my PhD. Another one to add to the ever-growing book list to buy…along with Routledge’s ‘Interpreting Art in Museums and Galleries’ (December 2011) by Christopher Whitehead, which came out last month. I’m sure it will provide again, more contextual aspects to my research.

A final find, was the book below ‘The Order of Things’ by Finnish artist Mikko Kuorinki. It really struck a chord with my artistic practice, my love of words and language and the obsessive want to archive. Order, order, order.

 “The desire to classify the world has always been a need for mankind: We collect, reflect and sort the things.”

Kuorinki references the phenomena of Michel Foucault’s ‘Order of Things – An Archaeology of the Human Sciences’ (1970), one of the core works that anchor the French Structuralist school of thought. He takes the title literally, putting all the words of the book in alphabetical order…From A to Zoophytorum. Kuorinki has re-ordered knowledge that is already available. It immediately reminded me of the work of the Canadian artist Kim Rugg, who under a similar conceptual thought, reconstructs and re-alphabetises newspapers and other ephemeral material. Like RuggKuorinki decomposed a text to an alphabetical material, and composed, at the same time, a new text, which offers a new and unusual view into the thinking of the renowned French philosopher. This book, has instigated a train of thought within my mind about a future exhibition construct…a dialogue exchange between a contemporary Chinese artist and Kuorinki…let’s see how my concept unfold…I already have a few Chinese artists in mind for this. Anyway, on with finding information to fuel the mind…


  1. Given the differences, particularly in 20th century history, between the art worlds of China and the UK, and what a ’roundtable’ approach must mean in each culture – cultural baggage included – it sounds like an interesting chapter for the PhD!

    1. Thanks for the comment, “transcultural” differences are what makes these roundtable constructs so insightful…looking forward to seeing how this chapter develops too as its the most practical from the seven.

  2. nice find(ings)! I’m quite taken with the roundtable idea…. I can get into a bit of ‘diverse contexts of belonging’ … and anyone who takes foucault apart (no need to put it back in a different order) gets my vote (no – I’m not a fou-fan)

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