The Collective School explores artist-driven and collective models of learning. Developed in collaboration with Gudskul, a Jakarta-based collective that runs a grassroots school for other collectives, this project asks: How do artists learn from their peers in a collective? What makes collectivity necessary for survival today? How do collectives remain adaptive and relevant to their respective contexts?
Hosted at AAA Library, The Collective School exhibition began with our invitation to Gudskul, who in turn invited eight collectives from across Asia. In the display, you will see their responses to archival materials from AAA Collections, developed together through group conversations over the past year.
Their works, which include videos, sculptures, games, and zines, respond to three collective endeavours: Xiamen Dada, a collective known for their radical performative actions critiquing the art system in China in the 1980s; Black Artists of Asia, a collective that initiated VIVA ExCon, the longest-running artist-run biennial in the Philippines in the 1990s; and Womanifesto, a feminist art collective and biennial programme in Thailand most active from the mid-1990s to mid-2000s.
The Collective School’s public programmes extend the questions raised in this exhibition. How does a school for collectives alter our understanding of art education models that tend to focus on individual improvement? In Hong Kong, where land and space are especially scarce, how do artists work collectively to share access to these resources?
As an archive, we continue to learn from artists to imagine new models for learning—in this case, learning through being together and bringing together individuals and collectives with shared values, such as generosity, resource sharing, and local anchoring. This is a continuation of the collaborations we started through documenta fifteen in Kassel, Germany—led by ruangrupa, one of the three collectives that constitute Gudskul—which build on our own understanding of archives as sites for knowledge-sharing and artistic production.
ba-bau AIR (Hanoi), BiSCA (Bishkek), Gudskul (Jakarta), Load na Dito (Quezon City), Omnispace (Bandung), Pangrok Sulap (Sabah), Salikhain Kolektib (Quezon City), Scutoid Coop (Kaohsiung), and Yayasan Tonjo Foundation (Yogyakarta)
Local partners: Floating Projects (Hong Kong) and Rooftop Institute (Hong Kong)
Talk | The Collective School x The Collective Failure
Date: 15 Oct 2022
Venue: Goethe-Institut Hongkong
Artists often work under the pressure of production modes in contemporary art that emphasise end products, speed, deadlines, and individual success. How does working together circumvent these pressures, or fail to do so? What can art collectives do that individual artists alone cannot?
Speakers: Dory Cheng, Vennes Cheng, John Chow, Susanna Chung, Özge Ersoy, May Fung, Tang Kwok Hin, and Yim Sui Fong
Moderators: Susanna Chung, Özge Ersoy, May Fung and Yang Yeung
Livestreamed gaming and Workshop | Speculative Collective
Date: 17 Nov 2022
What can cooperative board games teach us about art collectives? How do players set up common goals instead of competing with each other?
Gamekeepers: Gesyada Siregar, Noorlintang Suminar, and Wiratama
Talk | Hong Kong Conversations: The Collective School
Date: 26 Nov 2022
Venue: AAA Library
How do different generations of art collectives learn from each other? In Hong Kong, where land and space are tightly controlled, how do artists work collectively to share access to these resources?
Speakers: Sanmu Chen Shi-Sen, Chung Wing Shan, Dick Lai Chun Ling, Aaron Lam, Leung Ka Man, Ocean Leung Yu Tong, Yentl Tong, Siu King Chung, To Yeuk, Chung Wong, Duncan Wong, and Phoebe Wong Siu Yin
Moderators: Susanna Chung, Winnie Yan, Anthony Yung
Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa & Lineo Segoete | Thinking with the Head, Thinking with the Hands
(Due to unforeseen circumstances, this event has been postponed until further notice.)
Date: 14 Jan 2023
How do artists use language to interrogate the legacy of colonialism in art and arts education?
Speaker: Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa
Inter-Archives Conversations | Archives as Sites for Collective Meaning-Making
Date: 18 Jan 2023
How can archives hold collective histories? Can archive-building be a collective process? This conversation brings together members of Malaysia Design Archive (Malaysia) and Northeast Lightbox (India) to discuss the necessity of working with communities across disciplines and knowledge systems in order to narrate the nuanced histories of their contexts.
Speakers: Anidrita Saikia, Devadeep Gupta, Ezrena Marwan, Hrishikesh Chowdhury, Jac sm Kee and Simon Soon
Moderator: Samira Bose
Stay tuned for the upcoming programmes.
This project has been developed by Susanna Chung, Özge Ersoy, and Rebecca Tso, in close collaboration with Samira Bose, Noopur Desai, Sneha Ragavan, John Tain, Chương-Đài Võ, Congyang Xie, and Anthony Yung. Graphic design: MAJO.
The Collective School is generously supported by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, as well as Wendy Lee & Stephen Li, and Virginia & Wellington Yee.
Hong Kong Arts Development Council fully supports freedom of artistic expression. The views and opinions expressed in this project do not represent the stand of the Council.