Artist-run spaces emerge, proliferate, circumvent, intervene, diversify, transform, mutate, appear, and disappear across geographies and time. They arise amid urgencies and demands ranging from a need for autonomy to the simple lack of exhibition space and change over time and locale. Some of them leave behind nothing but hearsay while others maintain well-kept archives or chronologies of their rises and falls, covering mundane facts to intimate details, born out of various impulses and intentions from self-narratives, manifestos, maps, retrospectives, or critiques by third parties. Regardless of how their stories are distributed or circulated, artist-run spaces have the potential to enrich or alter the way contemporary art is being narrated.
AAA sees its foundation as parallel to the emergence of artist-run spaces in the region at the turn of the Millennium from its first public programme, ‘Space Traffic - Symposium of International Artist Spaces’ co-organised with Para Site (Hong Kong) and West Space (Australia) in December 2001, which aimed to investigate challenges and possibilities faced by artist spaces to a number of ongoing archiving projects around artist-run spaces across Asia.
Co-presented by AAA and Para Site, this roundtable is part of an ongoing and shared enquiry into the contextual framework of how artist-run spaces are being archived and historicised. Core discussants will include practitioners from the region currently working with AAA to archive artist-run space projects, as well as a number of local practitioners/artist-space founders and members from the AAA research team.
Through dialogue and conversation, this roundtable will address issues around the urgency of archiving artist-run spaces, what is being archived, and what get lost in projects of narrativising and archiving, as well as implications of these archiving projects on how artist-run spaces are being historicised. The discussion will span various contexts from specific strategies to common challenges. It will be an opportunity to share ideas and approaches within practitioners.
Alongside the roundtable, AAA will showcase a variety of publications in its library on the topic, inviting a closer examination of the diverse approaches to archiving artist-run spaces in Asia. The event will also mark the soft launch of the digitised archival collections of two pioneer alternative art spaces in Vietnam – Salon Natasha (Hanoi) and Blue Space Contemporary Arts Center (Ho Chi Minh City) – on its digital platform.
Linda Lai, Artist and Associate Professor, School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong
Ringo Bunoan, Zoe Butt, Choi Yan-chi, Natasha Kraevskaia, Leung Chi-wo, Qinyi Lim, Ellen Pau, Nora Taylor, and Arlette Quynh-Anh Tran.