The last decade has seen growing attention on the sites and situations through which art becomes public, such as exhibitions. This has been a guiding concern of Afterall's Exhibition Histories series since its inception in 2010. Less attention, however, has been paid to the significance of festivals, despite their importance towards the growth of contemporary art practices and networks in certain geographies (such as Southeast Asia) or particular contemporary art disciplines (artists’ film, performance, live art). This is also despite the legacies of recurring large-scale “world festivals” in the second half of the twentieth century, including pan-African and anti-imperialist projects of cross-cultural celebration, solidarity, and friendship.
This talk will engage with the Exhibition Histories series, with particular reference to the latest two volumes. Artist-to-Artist: Independent Art Festivals in Chiang Mai 1992-98 (edited by David Teh and David Morris) is on festivals in north Thailand in the context of emerging artistic networks in Southeast Asia. FESTAC '77: The Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (devised by and co-published with Chimurenga) tells the stories of this major 1977 event that saw thousands of artists, writers, musicians, activists, and scholars from Africa and the black diaspora assemble in Lagos, Nigeria. On the occasion of the release of FESTAC '77, and one year into Asia Art Archive’s collaboration on the Exhibition Histories project, David Morris, research fellow and editor at Afterall, will lead a discussion on festivals within curatorial and exhibition histories, and how exhibition studies has evolved and is evolving.
The event is free and open to the public.
David Morris is a research fellow and editor at Afterall, working on the Exhibition Histories series. His work explores different approaches to artistic research, education, and exhibitions, with a particular focus on experimental and collective practices. He is co-editor, with Sylvère Lotringer, of Schizo-Culture: The Event, The Book (Semiotext(e)/The MIT Press, 2014), and co-editor, with David Teh, of Artist-to-Artist: Independent Art Festivals in Chiang Mai 1992–98 (Afterall Books, 2018) among other publications. He lives in London.
Co-presented by Asia Art Archive and Tai Kwun Contemporary.