October 15, 2020 - Guangdong Times Museum - Para-curatorial on the Move - The Fleeting Union of Portals
October 15, 2020

Guangdong Times Museum

Ningbo. Courtesy of Guangdong Times Museum.

Para-curatorial on the Move - The Fleeting Union of Portals
Ningbo, Fuzhou, Quanzhou, Xiamen
October 12–24, 2020

Guangdong Times Museum
Times Rose Garden III
Huang Bian Bei Road, Bai Yun Avenue North
510095 Guangzhou
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–6pm

T +86 20 2627 2363

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Participants: Chen Baiqi, Chen Min, Cheng Tingting, He Yining, Huang Xiaowei, Lee Kai Chung, Lu Chuan, Ma Haijiao, Zheng Chuan, Zhu Xiang, Zhuang Qiqi, Wu Jianru, Zhang Hanlu 

Portal Speakers: Nikita Yingqian Cai, Feng Sha, Candice Lin, Liu Li, Ngoc Nau, Pablo José Ramirez, Sawangwongse Yawnghwe, Zhang Beiyu 

Host InstitutionsJiazazhi Press/Library, Phoenix·SEEWELL International Art Center, Quanzhou Maritime Museum, Three Shadows. 

Launched in 2012, the para-curatorial series of the Times Museum has gathered artists, scholars, researchers, and audiences through thematic seminars that bring cross-bordered discussions into the museum. However, this cosmopolitan spectrum of art has struggled to document and embody the fractured realities of a post-pandemic world, when heated public topics such as race, the Cold War, and decoupling widen the divide between we and they. Guangzhou is embedded within the rich network between southern China and the “souths” of the world, yet global connectivities among southern cultures and regions remain tenuous and underepresented in mainstream media. If we are to reclaim intimacies among distant peoples and places, and to shed light on our entangled existence filtered by frictions of the information sphere, we should propose other forms of knowledge embodiment that may help to bridge different understandings.  

“Para-curatorial on the Move” is a special edition for 2020, while The Fleeting Union of Portals takes “treaty ports” as a conceptual portal to review early histories of colonial imperialism and the forming system of free trade, in which material exchange across continents and oceans gave birth to the convergence and divergence of cultures, societies, rituals, and images. With informants and hosts, the eclectic union will travel southward along major ports of coastal China, including Ningbo, Fuzhou, Quanzhou, Xiamen, and will return to Guangzhou. It will activate multiple ways of sharing, including webinars and talks, artist workshops from scholars and curators, vlogs and video documentation, and museum studies and visits to local experts and artists. It is a collective exercise to forge new ground for public engagement and a fleeting attempt to break out from the spatial constraints of the exhibition space as well as the materiality of museum display.  

The inherent hierarchy of museology and historicity has been a continuous subject of artistic interrogation. In light of this, the 12-day trip will focus on historical sites and hearsay, folk rhymes and memories, which accommodate the complex interrelation between personal and national identity, the unbounded flow of things and the regulated bodies of migrant laborers, the abstraction of the global free market and the uneven distribution of freedom. A critical study of state-run museums and their museological narratives and displays will be implemented to chart how dislocated bodies and narratives of coolies, Tanka, women, pirates, and exiles were submerged by the currents of nationalism, liberalism, and imperialism.  

The project continues to attend to the ongoing process of southernization and to enrich the constellation of “All the Way South.” It seeks connectivity between academic knowledge, research-oriented commissions, and action networks outside the “developing countries—postcolonial” continuum.  

The Para-curatorial Series of Guangdong Times Museum was initiated in 2012 as a temporary community academy that experiments with the critical function of art. Scholars, artists, cultural makers and audiences are invited to share their thoughts on topics that spill over the arena of contemporary art across media, cultures and regions. Informed by such transdisciplinary encounters and interrogations, we are motivated to expand the relational potential of curating. In 2020, para-curatorial becomes a paratactic mode of thinking and working, which connects the curated events of symposium and online publishing with pop-up modules of hidden curriculum and minor inquiry. 

*For the final list of participants and itinerary of The Fleeting Union of Portals, please refer to the official website and wechat updates of Times Museum 

Guangdong Times Museum
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