culture360.asef.org » Magazine http://culture360.asef.org Connecting Asia and Europe through arts and culture Mon, 15 Sep 2014 04:44:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.1 DOK Leipzig Lake Festival: Asia-Europe confluence through Documentary | Indiahttp://culture360.asef.org/magazine/dok-leipzig-lake-festival-asia-europe-confluence-through-documentary-india/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dok-leipzig-lake-festival-asia-europe-confluence-through-documentary-india http://culture360.asef.org/magazine/dok-leipzig-lake-festival-asia-europe-confluence-through-documentary-india/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 04:44:27 +0000 Valentina Riccardi http://culture360.asef.org/?p=44276

The second edition of the DOK Leipzig Lake Festival of documentaries was held between April 17 to 21, 2014 at The Lake Resort, Naukuchiatal, Uttarakhand, India.  Read More

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Contributed by Parul Wadhwa

 

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The second edition of the DOK Leipzig Lake Festival of documentaries was held between April 17 to 21, 2014 at The Lake Resort, Naukuchiatal, Uttarakhand, India. It was a non-competitive festival, essentially dedicated to an abandoned intellectual and cultural space in a stress-free environment .The highlight was to initiate conversations around documentary, more on the form than the content. On the struggles and choices documentarians make and the why of it. On the issues of ethics and confidentiality and how it affects the form – and can lead to even greater creativity if a film-maker strives for it. Based on the idea of ‘Documentarian’, the festival had great evenings of informal debates around the constraints in documentary film-making as it was, is and may be.

Several documentary filmmakers, critics and programmers attended the festival. Parul Wadhwa had the opportunity to interview a few of them regarding their impressions of the Festival.

The interviews were conducted with:

  • Claas Danielsen-Festival, Director of DOK Leipzig, Germany;
  • Aruna Vasudev-film historian and founder of NETPAC (the Network for Promotion of Asian Cinema);
  • Deepti DCunha-Film programmer, India;
  • Fernand Melgar-documentary filmmaker (Special Flight), Switzerland. 

 

Q. What is the historical importance of DOK Leipzig? And in that framework, how do you see the value of holding an Indian edition of DOK Leipzig?

A. Claas Danielsen: DOK Leipzig was founded in 1955. When we celebrated the 50th edition I did some research and to my great surprise found out that our festival seems to be the oldest documentary festival in the world. In the 1960s and 1970s the festival was a meeting place for the greatest international “documentarians” of their time while the 1980s became a darker chapter in the festival history with pressure and censorship by the East German authorities. Nowadays, after the unification of Germany, DOK Leipzig has become the second biggest European documentary film festival and one of the leading events of its kind in the world.

For us it is a great honour to have been invited by Neelima Mathur to curate a programme of the finest documentaries we have shown in Leipzig for the Lake Festival in India. The Lake Festival offers documentary professionals as well as a general audience of cinephiles the opportunity to discover outstanding international documentaries. We hope to get into good contact with Indian filmmakers and to make our festival better known in the Indian documentary community.

 

Q. What are the main gaps/needs in the documentary filmmaking sector when it comes to Asia-Europe collaborations?

A. Aruna Vasudev: The DOK Leipzig Lake Festival is a wonderful initiative to take deeply meaningful documentaries to young and older people outside the metro centres. All these decades, everything has always been designed for the urban audience but the large majority of people live outside the urban centres. There are definitely gaps and needs in this sector with little enough information and networking available. The Lake Festival can form a bridge by bringing more European documentary filmmakers to the festival to hold discussions and talks with both aspiring filmmakers and also with educational and cultural institutions around the area. Perhaps the Lake Festival could hold one or two workshops on documentary filmmaking in Naukuchiatal itself, where information on funding within India and in Europe, could also be disseminated.

A. Deepti DCunha: Lack of funding is a constant struggle with documentary filmmakers but there is also a definite and urgent need for information to be available to all aspiring documentary filmmakers about sources of funding. In terms of networking platforms there are some initiatives but not enough. In my opinion, the most important step for documentary filmmaking in India( I can’t speak for Asia) is audience development. As long as people in India are not interested in documentary as a form of film and are unwilling to engage with this form as audiences, most initiatives are bound to fail. Hence documentaries, which are right now post college viewing experiences, have to be introduced to a much larger section of people at a much younger age.
In this aspect DOKLeipzig Lake festival at Naukuchiatal can be instrumental by having workshops for selected projects of filmmakers where they can be creatively mentored with the expertise of people associated with the festival, either from DOKLeipzig, Germany or any other partners. The session with Fernand Melger this year at the lake festival, for example, was extremely enriching. Such exchange of ideas should continue by inviting interesting documentary filmmakers to share their experience and approach to their craft.

 

Q. As a filmmaker from Europe, what is your impression of the Lake Festival? Any special features that interest you as a filmmaker?

A. Fernand Melger: The Lake Festival is a very interesting festival. First of all because it makes you discover an unknown Indian Region. As we primarily always think about the hub of Delhi or Mumbai, we cannot imagine that in the region of the festival are so many people passionate for documentaries. The festival allowed me to discover an Indian filmography and to create links with Indian directors, producers and journalists, which is quiet rare.

Q. Could you describe the process of curation used in the Dok Leipzig festival? Could you also elaborate on the larger vision of the Dok Leipzig festival to start a Lake edition?

A. Claas Danielsen: The above mentioned description of what a good documentary is to me defines important aspects of what kind of films we as festival programmers look for. We try to show the best new documentaries from all over the world at DOK Leipzig which we choose out of approximately 3,000 films that we screen every year. New trends and tendencies in international documentary filmmaking are reflected in our curation which tries to assemble the finest works of their kind in the festival. The programme of the DOK Leipzig Lake Festival is much smaller than the one of our festival. Therefore we select the best of the best of what we have previously shown in Leipzig for this fine festival in India. These films should stand for the diversity and high quality of contemporary documentary which we bring to the small and very niche audience of the Lake Festival.

 

A detailed photo-essay on the festival can be found at:
http://www.formedia.org.in/lake-festival-2014/share-the-experience.html

 

These interviews were conducted as part of a media partnership between the ASia-Europe Foundation online portal culture360 and Formedia (India), arranged and designed by Parul Wadhwa, an independent documentarian (India/USA). We thank for the additional support Anupama Sekhar, Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) and Neelima Mathur, Formedia(India).

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Lê Cát Trọng Lý, a unique voice in Viet Namhttp://culture360.asef.org/magazine/le-cat-trong-ly-a-unique-voice-in-vietnam/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=le-cat-trong-ly-a-unique-voice-in-vietnam http://culture360.asef.org/magazine/le-cat-trong-ly-a-unique-voice-in-vietnam/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 03:13:21 +0000 Magali An Berthon http://culture360.asef.org/?p=43608

Songwriter Le Cat Trong Ly stands out as the new leading figure of contemporary folk music in Vietnam, mixing Western influences to more traditional Vietnamese sounds  Read More

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In 2014, culture360 invites a  to get an insight on issues that are highly discussed in the cultural sector across Asia and Europe.

Magali An Berthon, will explore arts, crafts and design topics focusing on Southeast Asia and France. Through a number of in-depth articles and interviews, she will attempt to portray creative profiles emerging from a new young generation of artists and designers without borders. She will also focus on inspiring initiatives renewing and promoting local crafts and traditions.

In this fourth article, Magali An invites you to listen to a unique voice which has raised in Vietnam in the last five years. Songwriter Le Cat Trong Ly stands out as the new leading figure of contemporary folk music in Vietnam, mixing Western influences to more traditional Vietnamese sounds, appearing as the worthy representative of Tring Cong Son’s heritage with her distinctive music and lyrics.

 

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Since Vietnam has opened its borders to globalization leading to an extensive economic growth, new generations of Vietnamese have started to listen to international songs directly imported from the Western world along with other influential Asian countries such as Korea and Japan.

In this highly saturated music market, there is little room for the independent voices of Vietnamese artists. Contradicting this overall trend, music phenomenon Lê Cát Trọng Lý has gathered more and more attention for the past five years with her one-of-a-kind music, offering a successful alternative to the Vietnamese standardized music scene.

 

An original path in music

Born in 1987, Lê Cát Trọng Lý originally came from Danang city in central Vietnam, where she grew up between the hills and the sandy beaches. She then moved to Saigon in 2007 to pursue classical music studies and viola practice. Initially she never intended to become a singer and she modestly started in 2007 in a small bar in Saigon called the Nep Café, with only a dozen people attending. Benefiting from an increasing positive and enthusiastic feedback, she kept playing at this venue for the next two years, gathering more and more aficionados wishing to see her sing american covers in English and original songs in Vietnamese. During her time at Nep Café, she has composed over twenty-four songs demonstrating a surprising mix between Western sounds and Vietnamese folk music.

It is in this sway that the artist has found her own style. Lý admits having been listening to American folk music from a very early age and she also acknowledges being strongly influenced by the Vietnamese folk melodies and Trịnh Công Sơn‘s music in particular, the music master who passed away in 2001. He is considered the « Vietnamese Bob Dylan » with his famous anti-war songs. These two main influences are very noticeable in her songs.

Lý made ​her first official media appearance in 2008 on television when she won the Young composer and Song of the Year Awards at a Vietnamese national contest with her song “Chenh Vênh” (Trembling).

Following this breakthrough, she released her first eponymous album in early 2011 with nine original songs such as « Lúng Ta Lúng Túng » (Intrigued), « Mùa Yêu » (Love season) or the awarded « Chenh Vênh »…

 

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A poetic icon

With her simple look, her short hair and make-up free child-like face, and always carrying a guitar, Lê Cát Trọng Lý stands out from the more common Vietnamese artificial divas modelled on Korean k-pop girlsbands.

The singer therefore appeals to a more mature crowd, composed by an intellectual generation of Vietnamese, curious of their own culture and sensitive to her poetic lyrics.

Writing all her songs herself, Lý’s style is mostly acoustic, using a guitar or a piano, sometimes along strings and drums, to support her crystalline voice on melancholic heartfelt ballads. The minimalist feeling of the ensemble allows the audience to deeply feel the depth and tone of her words and to be caught by her clear voice.

Do not underestimate her petite silhouette and soft voice ! Often compared to Joni Mitchell or Tracy Chapman, the song-writer has a very strong presence on stage, enchanting a solid crowd of followers and having all her concerts sold out.

 

A free-spirited heart

Two years ago, Lê Cát Trọng Lý has left a swirling Saigon for a quiet Hanoi, to seek a more peaceful environment to create her music. Not very career oriented, she keeps herself away from media coverage and self promotion, only dedicated to singing and pleasing her growing audience.

Free-spirited, untied to any specific music label, she is only driven by her passion for music, staying remotely away from any stardom aspiration.

Deeply rooted in the Buddhist philosophy, her poetic lyrics appeal to the beauty of natural elements, considering the universe as a whole,  linking nature to people and their emotions. In a very fascinating and refreshing way, her view on life stands far away from the usual consumerist spirit driving most of the young Vietnamese generation.

Lý has released her second album entitled « Tuổi 25 » meaning « 25 years old » at the end of year 2013. In this new record, she has integrated more traditional Vietnamese folk music sounds using instruments such as traditional lutes and strings. She currently is promoting it on stage touring in the whole country, appearing more than ever as a leading figure of contemporay Vietnamese music.

 

More informations:

 

Magali An Berthon is a French Vietnamese textile designer and editor based in Paris. Graduate of the National School of Decorative Arts in Paris, she has gathered a valuable experience as a textile designer for fashion and home collections.  She finds inspiration in her many travels especially in South-East Asia and has developed a deep interest for ethnic arts & crafts, natural fabrics and dyes. In parallel, she works as a writer and documentarist specialized particularly on textile know-how from all over the world. 

 

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Insight on the development of Ties That Bind: Asia Europe Film Producers Workshophttp://culture360.asef.org/magazine/insight-on-the-development-of-ties-that-bind-asia-europe-film-producers-workshop/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=insight-on-the-development-of-ties-that-bind-asia-europe-film-producers-workshop http://culture360.asef.org/magazine/insight-on-the-development-of-ties-that-bind-asia-europe-film-producers-workshop/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 03:10:00 +0000 Sasiwimon Wongjarin http://culture360.asef.org/?p=43512

ASEF would like to congratulate Ties That Bind: Asia Europe Film Producers Workshop (TTB), a project selected under ASEF’s Creative Encounters (3rd edition) in 2014, on receiving support from...  Read More

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Ties That Bind: Asia Europe Film Producers Workshop, Phase One, Udine, Italy, between 29 April 2014 - 3 May 2014

Ties That Bind: Asia Europe Film Producers Workshop, Phase One, Udine, Italy, between 29 April 2014 – 3 May 2014

ASEF would like to congratulate Ties That Bind: Asia Europe Film Producers Workshop (TTB), a project selected under ASEF’s Creative Encounters (3rd edition) in 2014, on receiving support from Creative Europe, the European Commission’s financial support programme for the creative, cultural and audiovisual sectors in Europe. The new programme which will run until 2020, unites the previous MEDIA and Culture programmes under a single banner. TTB is the only project which was previously funded by the former programme MEDIA Mundus to receive funding in this transition year.

Ties That Bind was organised alongside the 16th Far East Film Festival in Udine, between 29 April – 3 May 2014. The 5-day workshop was attended by 22 selected producers and industry experts from 15 different ASEM countries. Ties That Bind is organised by the FVG Audiovisual Fund (Italy), EAVE (Luxembourg), Far East Film Festival (Italy), Busan International Film Festival/Asian Film Market (South Korea). The workshop is supported by the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), Arts Network Asia (ANA), Trans Europe Halles and Creative Europe.

ASEF’s support to Ties That Bind respond to one of the recommendations during the 6th ASEF Experts’ Meeting & Public Forum: Creative Economy in Asia and Europe – Emerging Pillar of Economic Growth & Development, which took place in Hanoi, Viet Nam on 4-5 December 2013. The meeting suggested potential area of Asia-Europe collaboration and focused on co-production and mediating curatorial initiatives.

“Co-production and co-creation must be widely advocated and actively supported. This is premised on supply and value chains being inherently global, in addition to the mobile nature of the modern society and workforces. The mobility of cultural professionals must be strengthened and reciprocal exchange emphasised upon. Digital technologies may also be harnessed to facilitate co-creation. Mediating curatorial initiatives must be encouraged to support cultural products that suffer from poor accessibility to markets.”

Alessandro Gropplero, Project Coordinator, Public Relations of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Audiovisual Fund shared a Report of Ties That Bind. The next step TTB is to organise a gathering of all former participants in Cannes, to introduce the new participants and enrich the network with its decision makers.

Justin Deimen from Singapore, one of the participants from Asia and Europe that participated in this year TTB’s edition also shared his inside perspective.

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The National Gallery Singapore | A conversation with Low Sze Weehttp://culture360.asef.org/magazine/a-conversation-with-low-sze-wee-about-the-new-national-gallery-singapore/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=a-conversation-with-low-sze-wee-about-the-new-national-gallery-singapore http://culture360.asef.org/magazine/a-conversation-with-low-sze-wee-about-the-new-national-gallery-singapore/#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 04:16:40 +0000 Bharti Lalwani http://culture360.asef.org/?p=43312

Low Sze Wee is the Director of the Curatorial and Collections department at the National Gallery Singapore (NGS) which is scheduled to open in 2015. Low began his journey...  Read More

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Low Sze Wee is the Director of the Curatorial and Collections department at the National Gallery Singapore (NGS) which is scheduled to open in 2015. Low began his journey as an assistant curator for the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) in 2001, then becoming the deputy director of the curatorial and collections department. In 2009, he joined the Gallery in the early stages of its conception and continued building up the museum’s collection while overseeing its curatorial development.

The Gallery will focus on displaying Southeast Asian art, with a special emphasis on Singaporean art, from the 19th century to present day. The National Heritage Board (NHB) of Singapore is a custodian of more than 10,000 works of art from the region, and this collection will be a primary focus at the Gallery. The Gallery occupies two important heritage buildings symbolic of Singapore’s nationhood, the City Hall and the former Supreme Court buildings. At a total gross floor area of approximately 64,000 square metres, it will be the largest visual arts institution in Singapore, matching established museums such as Musée d’Orsay (France) and Tate Modern (UK) in size.

Art Critic Bharti Lalwani finds out more about the curatorial direction of the new Gallery.

 

(Key- Low Sze Wee: LSW,   Bharti Lalwani: BL)

BL:  Sze Wee, before I ask about your role, I’m curious to know how you became active in the Singapore art scene. I gather that you were a lawyer but you went on to SOAS in London?

LSW: When I started working as a litigation lawyer in 1996, it was also the year when SAM opened and started training its local volunteer museum guides. I was part of that inaugural batch and grew to love bringing visitors around SAM’s exhibitions and sharing my passion for art with them. After two years of guiding on weekends, I became more familiar with the local art scene and came to realise that a career in the arts was a viable option! And for me, it became increasingly clear that job satisfaction mattered more than financial rewards. Hence, I decided to opt for a career change in 1998, and headed to London to further my studies in art history at SOAS (School of Oriental and Africa Studies).

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BL: How has your role expanded over the years- Before joining the Gallery you were overseeing the curatorial and collections department at SAM, how is your current role different? What are your responsibilities?

LSW: I first started as an assistant curator at SAM in 2001. It was a steep learning curve, as I had to learn, on the job, how to put an exhibition together – an always-challenging balance of art historical research, audience engagement, relationship-building and project management. Over the years, as I was given more responsibilities in managing the curatorial and collections department at SAM, I gradually understood what it meant to curate exhibitions and build up a collection in a national museum, and how such a museum operates within the local context. In my current role at the Gallery, my job is more akin to that of a start-up. All of us at the Gallery now have the exciting opportunity to set up a new museum from scratch – in terms of developing policies, building our teams, and more importantly, coming up with a new vision for what Singapore’s visual arts landscape could look like in the future.

 

BL: Last year you were named one of the Fellows for the Clore Leadership Programme, making you the first Singaporean to be selected in the prestigious program’s 10-year history. What does this training entail in terms of running the NGS?

LSW: This is a programme that aims to shape aspiring leaders from across the creative and cultural sector   through in-depth learning. These are tailored to the needs, aspirations and circumstances of the individual fellows, comprising residential courses, an extended placement, individually-selected training, mentoring and coaching. When I was in London, I had the opportunity to gain a better understanding of how various national art museums operate and their thought-processes. Whilst their circumstances are quite different from Singapore’s, it was reassuring to know that some of the challenges they face are not so different from ours! More importantly, it also provided a platform to forge deeper relationships and networks that could hopefully lead to fruitful collaborations in the future.

 

BL: So what are the challenges facing NGS?

LSW: As there is a need to build knowledge about Singapore and Southeast Asian art, and grow new audiences through our programmes, the challenge is for our exhibitions to be underpinned by strong research and intellectual rigour, and yet remain engaging and accessible at the same time.  This ties in with the Gallery’s aim to be a leading visual arts institution that inspires and engages our audiences with the art of Singapore, Southeast Asia and the world.

Some spaces within the Gallery are designed for interactivity and engagement with art.  For instance, the Keppel Centre for Art Education is a unique space specially designed and programmed for school children and families.  It will provide fun, multi-sensory learning opportunities for children of all ages.

Special programming spaces will also be opened throughout the day.  Visitors can enjoy talks and seminars on art-related topics, workshops, art demonstrations, film screenings, art appreciation classes, and many more exciting activities.

 

BL: The Gallery’s website states that they will focus on displaying art “from the 19th century to present day”. Does this mean the museum doubles as an exhibition venue for Modern and Contemporary art?

LSW: The Gallery will have a number of exhibition spaces. We will have the Singapore and Southeast Asian Galleries – these are two spaces which will have long-term displays of Singapore and Southeast Asian works, drawn primarily from the national collection. These works will be from the 19th century to present day, as the aim of these two galleries is to present the art histories of this region.  In addition to these two galleries, we will also have galleries for short-term special exhibitions. For these special exhibitions, we hope to present a balanced mix of shows on Singapore, Southeast Asian and international art. In terms of time period, we are open to the possibilities of presenting art from across time, particularly if meaningful connections can be drawn to the artistic practices and audiences of the region.

 

BL: Showcasing Singapore, Southeast Asian and international art overlaps with the aims of National Museum and SAM. How would NGS distinguish its programming?

LSW: National Gallery Singapore is about the art histories of Singapore and Southeast Asia. Through our exhibitions and programmes, we aim to historicize the development of art in Singapore and Southeast Asia from the 19th century to the present day. Through our research and long-term exhibitions, we aim to present the art histories of Singapore and Southeast Asia, based on existing scholarship and understanding of how modern art in Singapore and Southeast Asia emerged and developed. We also aim to reflexively (re)write the art histories of Singapore and Southeast Asia through our research programmes and publications. Lastly, through our increased understanding of the art history of Singapore and Southeast Asia, we aim to examine the role of Southeast Asia within the global historical development of art through special exhibitions.

While the Gallery focuses on the art of Singapore and Southeast Asia from the 19th century to the present, the Singapore Art Museum focuses on contemporary art. Both museums will complement each other and work closely together in making Singapore a vibrant arts hub.

 

BL: Going in to the formation of NGS early on, was there a curatorial framework which guided the architect’s oeuvre in creating a space for a Southeast Asian collection?

LSW: There was constant dialogue between the curators and the architect because the latter needed to understand how the spaces would be used in the future. However, the architect also understood that there would be many ways to curate exhibitions, and art and scholarship would continue to evolve over time. Hence, it was also important that the spaces be flexible enough to cater to such future developments.

 

BL: At a NHB organized conference in 2011, ‘Making a great art museum: Contending with Southeast Asian modernities and art’, one of the speakers, playwright Huzir Sulaiman, amusingly said something to the effect of ‘Don’t allow the museum to be used as a tool for State propaganda’.

The NHB collection has been built through funding from the Ministry, so can one expect to see the full range of more provocative art from Singapore and the rest of Southeast Asia made pre and post war? Can one expect to see woodcuts, political cartoons or social realist artworks made during Japanese occupation and art made during the cold war- i.e. Works made by artists that do not conveniently suit State agenda? After all, Art is about free expression.

 

LSW: National Gallery aims to present the art histories of Singapore and Southeast Asia. So, we will be showing works which are of art historical significance, including the social realist woodcuts made by Singapore artists in the 1950s. We hope that the local visual arts ecosystem will eventually be a multi-faceted one, where public museums, private museums, non-profit spaces, educational institutions and commercial galleries will each play specific but complementary roles, both in terms of collecting and research.

 

“we will be showing works which are of art historical significance, including the social realist woodcuts made by Singapore artists in the 1950s.”

 

BL: At a recent public forum at an art fair in Singapore, you were on the panel with representatives of SAM, Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) and Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA). I had asked how each institution would help foster discourse and independent criticism. Speaking for NGS, you replied that the museum will have an archive that will be available to the public for reference.

I recall that in 2011 the NGS was extremely keen on acquiring Koh Nguang How’s exhaustive archive, a significant section of which featured at the Singapore Biennale that year (30 years of art reportage in local news). But according to Koh, NGS dropped the plan citing budgetary constraints for new acquisitions. 

 So, my question is two-fold. Firstly, if not Koh’s extensive archives, how does the museum plan to build its own archival centre?

Secondly, looking at the amount spent on the refurbishment of the two heritage buildings, at the time I was surprised to hear about budgetary constraints for acquisitions. A press release dated in December 2010 announced that refurbishment of the two heritage buildings is estimated around SGD 530 million. Is more money being spent on the exterior when it is the core collection that should ultimately matter?

However, now that DBS has donated SGD 25 million “which will be matched dollar for dollar by the government from the Cultural Donation Matching Fund” according to one news report, can we expect an inspiring collection-curation and programming?  

 

LSW: For confidentiality reasons, we would not be able to discuss specific acquisition details. For our resource centre, we hope to work collaboratively with artists, artists’ families and researchers to collate archival materials that would be useful for future researchers. Koh Nguang How’s archive is significant, and we are interested to see how we could work with Koh to help make that available to the public. In terms of art acquisitions, this is an on-going exercise for all NHB museums. The national art collection has been built up over the past few decades, and we now have a collection of about 10,000 works from Singapore and Southeast Asia. We already have a number of historically significant art pieces, and we look forward to acquire, through our own resources as well as through artwork donations, other important works to complement the existing collection.

 

 ”For our resource centre, we hope to work collaboratively with artists, artists’ families and researchers to collate archival materials that would be useful for future researchers.”

About National Gallery Singapore

Bharti Lalwani is an art critic who contributes to The Art Newspaper, Harper’s Bazaar Art Arabia, Eyeline (Australia), among others. Her research interests include Private museums as well as contemporary art from Southeast Asia, the Middle-East and West Africa. Through her writing and research she connects the emerging contemporary art histories of three continents. In 2014, she was nominated Forbes Art Writer of the Year (India).

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Phare Ponleu Selpak : light of the arts | Cambodiahttp://culture360.asef.org/magazine/phare-ponleu-selpak-light-of-the-arts-cambodia/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=phare-ponleu-selpak-light-of-the-arts-cambodia http://culture360.asef.org/magazine/phare-ponleu-selpak-light-of-the-arts-cambodia/#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 04:08:26 +0000 Magali An Berthon http://culture360.asef.org/?p=42499

Magali An shares the story of an inspiring non-profit organization based in Cambodia which provides educational support and artistic activities to socially vulnerable children and young adults.  Read More

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In 2014, ASEF culture360 invites a number of special correspondents to get an insight on issues that are highly discussed in the cultural sector across Asia and Europe.

Magali An Berthon, will explore arts, crafts and design topics focusing on Southeast Asia and France. Through a number of in-depth articles and interviews, she will attempt to portray creative profiles emerging from a new young generation of artists and designers without borders. She will also focus on inspiring initiatives renewing and promoting local crafts and traditions.

In this third article, Magali An shares the story of an inspiring non-profit organization based in Cambodia called Phare Ponleu Selpak, located near Battambang city. The association provides educational support and artistic activities to socially vulnerable children and young adults and has reached a worldwide recognition with its circus school.

 

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Establishing peace and cultural development through the arts and youth is the main goal of the Phare Ponleu Selpak association, a remarkable initiative that uses cultural identity as its essential milestone.

For more than twenty years, Cambodia has been shaken by a dramatic civil war which has deeply damaged their culture in all sections of society, damaging the most vulnerable populations and the younger generations in particular.

 

A STORY THAT STARTED IN THE REFUGEE CAMP

It all began in 1986 at a Cambodian refugee camp located near the Thai border, where young children were invited to participate in art workshops to express themselves and maintain a connection with their Khmer identity. Inspired by the positive action there, nine former refugees, Srey Bandaul, Tor Vutha, Khuon Det, Lon Lor, Chea Yoa, Svay Sareth, Chan Vuttouk, Dy Mala and Rin Nak, along with their French drawing teacher Veronique Decrop, decided to return to Cambodia. They were determined to create a project that would help the children overcome the trauma of civil war.

They chose to purchase a land in the Anh Chanh village near Battambang city. They selected this poor rural area because of the many landless families who were settling there again, following repatriation from the refugee camps.

 

THE BRIGHTNESS OF THE ARTS

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The committed young people immediately started the construction of their first building and they eventually founded the Phare Ponleu Selpak organization in 1994, where they first offered drawing classes for children. Phare Ponleu Selpak means “the brightness of the arts”, with the khmer words « Ponleu » for « light » and « Selpak » for « art », picked to express how the light of art would overcome the darkness of war.

The association has since expanded, having developed a specific approach to meet the needs of fragile children, young adults and families through three intervention and activity sectors: social and community actions, educational arts and cultural programmes which promote the Cambodian culture.

Nowadays Phare Ponleu Selpak follows an ambitious plan, welcoming on its site more than 1,400 children, adolescents and young adults daily. In 18 years of existence, the organization’s center has grown into a considerable campus providing a visual arts school and a performing arts training center, a child development unit, a public school and a library area.

 

A WORLD RECOGNIZED CIRCUS SCHOOL

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The organization’s members strongly believe that art can be a force behind social change, as it would give street children a purpose and the opportunity to get out of poverty. Recognized for the quality of the teaching and the high artistic and technical level, Phare Ponleu Selpak’s circus school is seen as one of their biggest achievements. This institution was founded in October 1998 on the impulse of Khuon Det, one of the founders who had a solid experience in martial arts and gymnastics.

Khuon Det followed a training programme at the National Circus School of the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh and he came back to Anh Chanh with three teachers who stayed at the center for several months to contribute to the setting up of the future school. This valuable partnership is still on-going until now, one to three teachers from the National School are sent to Battambang to give master classes two times a year. The young students receive high-quality training in many disciplines such as acrobatics, juggling, clowning, balancing and dancing to obtain a complete education in circus arts.

The circus school receives 120 young Cambodians each day and currently hosts three different troupes, the most experienced students have joining the first circus troupe. Since 2002, the company has been performing very regularly, not only in Cambodia but also touring worldwide, receiving critical acclaim and international recognition. It is a great opportunity for the young artists to promote their talent and earn a regular income. They are paid for each performance and are given the chance to make their first steps as professional circus artists, showcasing the full extent of their skills.

Read more about Phare Ponleu Selpak:
http://www.phareps.org/

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Cultural Mobility Series II | Interview with Marta Gracia | Art Motilehttp://culture360.asef.org/magazine/cultural-mobility-series-ii-interview-with-marta-gracia-art-motile/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cultural-mobility-series-ii-interview-with-marta-gracia-art-motile http://culture360.asef.org/magazine/cultural-mobility-series-ii-interview-with-marta-gracia-art-motile/#comments Sun, 22 Jun 2014 22:00:26 +0000 Herman Bashiron Mendolicchio http://culture360.asef.org/?p=42066

In this second article, Herman interviews Marta Gracia, Director of Art Motile, to discuss about resources available for Spanish artist in residency programmes.  Read More

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Art Motile Logo

 

 

In 2014, culture360 invites a number of special correspondents to get an insight on issues that are highly discussed in the cultural sector across Asia and Europe.

Herman Bashiron Mendolicchio, will explore the concept of cultural mobility, focusing on the European region in particular. Through a number of in-depth articles and interviews, he will attempt to identify the concept of cultural mobility, its perception from the point of view of the funding bodies and the artists and practitioners who are seeking the funding. He will also look at how some countries such as Malta and Greece are integrating the concept of cultural mobility in their national cultural policies.

In this second article, Herman interviews Marta Gracia, Director of Art Motile, to discuss about resources available for Spanish artist in residency programmes.

 

Marta Garcia, Director of Art Motile

Marta Gracia, Director of Art Motile

 

The phenomenon of artist residencies represents a substantial part of the growing issue of cultural mobility. Residency spaces are multiplying everywhere and are providing countless varieties of models that allow artists and cultural practitioners to widen their experience, to connect with new people, places and dimensions and to relate their creative activities to diverse and specific fields. In order to identify, research and analyse the significant variety of models – each with their own specific goals, ambitions and visions – the efforts of several organisations working with these issues locally and globally is proving to be indispensable. Art Motile is one of those organisations focusing their activities on several issues related to residencies and artistic mobility. Based in Barcelona, Spain, Art Motile is focused mainly on developing resources on Spanish artist in residency programmes, while at the same time maintaining involvement in international activities in collaboration with other platforms and networks. I have to thank Marta Gracia, Director of Art Motile, for her answers in this interview and for the numerousmeetings and conversations we had on issues related to mobility and residency programmes.

 

Could you please introduce “Art Motile”, and tell us about its main aims and activities?

Art Motile is an organisation based in Barcelona that investigates and provides information on Spanish residency programmes for artists and other issues related to artist mobility. We do this by developing online resources (including a database of residencies, news on calls and opportunities, etc.), giving workshops and presentations, as well as offering advice to both artists and residency programmes. In addition, we develop projects in collaboration with other national and international organisations in order to bring new perspectives to the international phenomenon of artist residencies and mobility.

 

Talk at the Central House of Artists, Moscow, September 2011

Talk at the Central House of Artists, Moscow, September 2011

 

The phenomenon of artist in residency programmes and cultural mobility is increasing worldwide. What is the specific situation in Spain?

In Spain we are also experiencing an increase in the number of residency programmes for artists, in addition to the increasing mobility of Spanish artists and cultural agents.

In recent years, many residencies have emerged and they are mainly independent and self-managed initiatives. I think this trend can be seen across the entire Spanish art and cultural sector and is a result of, among other things, the gradual break-up of cultural public policies. New initiatives are usually driven by artists or other agents or cultural groups who see a residency as a totally flexible format that can be adapted to their specific needs, as well as a perfect formula for creating a space for sharing and collaboration.

Examples of self-managed, independent initiatives located in different regions of Spain include: La Fragua (2010) in Belalcázar (Andalusia); Alga Lab (2008) in Valadares (Galicia); Espacio Islandia (2012) in Madrid (Comunidad de Madrid); BAR Project (2013) in Barcelona (Catalonia); and PACA (Proyectos Artísticos Casa Antonino) (2014) in Trubia (Asturias).  These residencies illustrate the diversity of content in the programmes currently operating in Spain, and their different approaches to operating as residencies.

With regards to artistic mobility, Spanish artists are more frequently moving around and are no longer working in a single geographical context. This is a trend that is also occurring worldwide. Although mobility is in many senses positive, one of its most controversial aspects is that the increasing trend of mobility is not an option but an obligation.

It is becoming increasingly more difficult to pursue a career as an artist without international experience or without travelling or frequently doing some residencies abroad. Furthermore, in the case of Spain, there are still very few programmes that fund and facilitate artistic mobility under appropriate conditions, something which would contribute to making the sector less precarious. Support for mobility within Spanish territory remains an unresolved issue.

 

Among the services your platform offers, you give advice to artists and residencies about several aspects related to mobility projects. What should artists and residency spaces take into account before joining or starting an AIR programme in Spain?

 

Conference on Artist Mobility organised by Art Motile. MAC, A Coruña, Spain, 2013

Conference on Artist Mobility organised by Art Motile. MAC, A Coruña, Spain, 2013

In both cases, the most important thing to consider is motivation. Being    clear about the motivation that leads an artist to do a residency would help that same artist in setting and prioritising criteria, which in turn would make the search for and selection of a residency programme easier. At the same time, the more aligned the motivations of the artist are with what the chosen residency programme offers, the more likely it will be that their application will fit with the programme and, once there, the artist can take full advantage of their stay.

For residencies, knowing clearly what the motivation is for starting the programme and what the goals of the project are will allow them to find the appropriate formulas for developing the project. There is no residency model that is more valid than another. Everything depends on how consistently the project is implemented. Therefore having clear aims and goals is vital.

 

How do you organise your AIR database? How do you get in touch with all of the AIR programmes in Spain?

 

Art Motile’s database began in 2009 thanks to a research grant from the Council for Culture and Arts of Catalonia. The research project was titled “The situation of residency programmes for artists in Spain” and included as a starting point the identification of 27 artistic residencies throughout Spain. Those 27 residencies were the initial entries in Art Motile’s database, which has since expanded to the 48 entries we have today. The extension of the database was realised either by invitation (where we contact the residencies) or when the residencies contact us. Either way, we always try to find out as much as possible about the residency programmes and try to keep the database as complete as possible to meet the different needs, artist profiles and types of artistic work.

 

There are several AIR models and strategies. Which are the main current approaches and what is the balance in terms of public and private initiatives?

There are many models of residencies and each one responds to both the context in which the programme is situated as well as their individual motivations and goals. Currently in Spain, due to the situation of cultural policies and the economy, models and strategies are becoming increasingly more diversified.

There are private, non-profit initiatives that offer workspaces and free accommodation, motivated by the exchange and collaborations that arise between the resident artists and organisers of the initiative. This is the case with, for example, the Werner Thöni Art Space in Barcelona.

Other private initiatives that aim to support artistic production and research, combine granted residencies with residencies financed by the artists themselves through scholarship programmes or the artists’ own means and resources. This would be the case of, for example, ZAWPLab in Bilbao or Hangar and Homesession, both in Barcelona. In the case of public initiatives, it is much more common to find programmes fully funded by other public institutions such as El Ranchito in Matadero Madrid and its alliance with the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID); or through collaboration between a public entity and a private company, as in the case of the research residency grants offered by the Reina Sofia Museum (Madrid), which has the support of the  Banco Santander Foundation. This are only a few examples of the models and financing strategies of some residency programmes in Spain without going too much into detail; the reality is that the sector is quite broad and heterogeneous.

Workshop at Transartists, Amsterdam, June 2011

Workshop at Transartists, Amsterdam, June 2011

Is there any public funding in Spain for AIR programmes?

At Art Motile we don’t know of any public funding programme specifically for residencies. There are however some public institutions that fund exchange programmes between Spanish and foreign residencies, as is the case of Acción Cultural Española, and some private initiatives that promote the exchange of artists with other countries, such as SingCat (an exchange of artists between Catalonia and Singapore), or Jiser (an exchange of artists between Barcelona and Tunisia).

There are also some public institutions that promote the mobility of artists from specific regions of Spain, such as the Institut Ramon Llull for artists residing in Catalonia; the Scholarships Habitat Artístic Castelló – Abroad for artists living in Castellón; the Etxepare Basque Institute for artists residing in the Basque Country; or the mobility programme PICE of Spanish Cultural Action for resident artists of any autonomous community in Spain.

 

Beyond Spain, Art Motile is also developing projects and research internationally. Could you tell me more about your international activities?

The work of Art Motile wouldn’t make sense if it were not based on coordination, networking and complementarity with other platforms for information and research on issues of mobility and residencies. That’s why the organisation has worked since its inception in collaboration with TransArtists since its inception, and we are also in contact with and occasionally collaborate with Res Artis. In the Spanish context, Art Motile is also in contact with initiatives, organisations and networks working in fields related to residencies and artistic mobility such as Xarxaprod, the Network of Creative and Production Spaces in Catalonia and the Trans-Iberian Network of Independent Cultural Spaces.

 

Talking about the connection between art, ecology and sustainability: could you tell me what is your vision regarding these issues and what is your contribution to the GALA (Green Art Lab Alliances) project?

GALA is a European project about artistic mobility and sustainability that involves 20 European organisations with the aim of creating a European network of individuals and organisations dedicated to combining, through various actions, artistic mobility and environmental sustainability. Art Motile participated in the project with the organisation of a workshop on how artist mobility programmes and residencies can contribute to environmental sustainability. The workshop took place within the framework of a conference that Art Motile organised at the Museum of Contemporary Art Gas Natural Fenosa (A Coruña) in November last year.

 

What are your next steps both in Spain and at an international level?

Our medium-term priorities are: a) to improve the quality of our services and content (our database, online news and advice service); b) to continue generating activities that serve as meeting and exchange spaces between all stakeholders in the field of artistic mobility (artists, residencies, networks, platforms and policy makers); c) to continue developing and strengthening our work with other platforms and agents; d) to actively contribute to the generation of new content and relations in the field of residencies and artistic mobility by developing new projects with other organisations; e) to initiate concrete action in the field of public cultural policies related to artist residencies and other issues related to artistic mobility.

A.I.R. Array, 2012

 

Useful links:

 

Herman Bashiron Mendolicchio holds a European PhD in “Art History, Theory and Criticism” from the University of Barcelona. His current lines of investigation involve the subjects of intercultural processes, globalization and mobility in contemporary art and cultural policies, the interactions between artistic, educational, media and cultural practices in the Mediterranean and the cultural cooperation between Asia and Europe. He has participated in several international conferences and developed projects and research residencies in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. As an art critic and independent curator he writes extensively for several international magazines. He is special correspondent for ASEF’s portal www.culture360.asef.org

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Lisa Mam | Connecting the dotshttp://culture360.asef.org/magazine/lisa-mam-connecting-the-dots/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=lisa-mam-connecting-the-dots http://culture360.asef.org/magazine/lisa-mam-connecting-the-dots/#comments Mon, 16 Jun 2014 03:11:37 +0000 Magali An Berthon http://culture360.asef.org/?p=42045

Magali An has interviewed a young artist whose unique artwork has blossomed on the walls of South East Asia from Phnom Penh Cambodia to Bangkok Thailand. Considered as the first female street artist in Cambodia, Lisa Mam appears as a pioneer in her country which was long considered as the cultural "Pearl of Asia" before the civil war.  Read More

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Lisa collage

In 2014, culture360.org invites a number of special correspondents to get an insight on issues that are highly discussed in the cultural sector across Asia and Europe.

Magali An Berthon, will explore arts, crafts and design topics focusing on Southeast Asia and France. Through a number of in-depth articles and interviews, she will attempt to portray creative profiles emerging from a new young generation of artists and designers without borders. She will also focus on inspiring initiatives renewing and promoting local crafts and traditions. 

In this second article, Magali An has interviewed a young artist whose unique artwork has blossomed on the walls of South East Asia from Phnom Penh Cambodia to Bangkok Thailand. Considered as the first female street artist in Cambodia, Lisa Mam appears as a pioneer in her country which was long considered as the cultural “Pearl of Asia” before the civil war. Though her art, she is encouraging a young khmer generation to take pride again in their culture and find their own voice. 

LISAPARIS1

Cambodia is evolving fast, with a dynamic youth hoping to forget about the wounds from the Khmer Rouge and to renew their national pride. Lisa Mam aka « Lil Dots », a young urban artist coming from Phnom Penh, appears as the perfect embodiment of this new energy. As the first official female street artist in Cambodia, she has been perfecting her unique style since 2010 and has been featured in several collaborative exhibitions throughout South East Asia.

Considered as a rising star in Khmer urban art, she is the image of her generation: leaving their fears behind, eager to build bridges between East and West and dedicated to bringing their country into modernity.

 

Who are you as Lisa Mam and how did you embark on your artistic journey?

My name is Lisa Mam, I am 24 years old. I was born and raised in Cambodia and I live in Phnom Penh. I started drawing and sketching at a very young age, around 6 years old if I remember correctly. I must say that I had some natural talent at it but it was not so easy for me to choose this path. My parents did not really believe in my calling and they pushed me to drop it and encouraged me to focus on my studies. After that I stopped practicing my art for a really long time.

I then started drawing again as teenager. At the age of 21, I met Peap Tarr in Phnom Penh through friends. He is a renowned half New-Zealander half Cambodian street artist with valuable experience in the international street art scene. When I saw his work and how he was painting, I felt a real connection with my art. There were some striking similarities with my own style. This encounter gave me a lot of hope and it inspired me to continue to paint and to push it further. Since then, Peap Tarr and I keep collaborating together.

People started to notice me when I was painting in the streets and it was really new in Phnom Penh, they had never seen such a thing. So this was very exciting to be a part of a new movement.

lisamam1

Does your country Cambodia inspires you in your art in any way ?

My work is definitely Cambodian. My culture really inspires me, it is unique and special. Cambodia is really a rich country artistically and culturally, especially when you see the splendour of ancient arts from the Angkor ages. It really inspires me and I try to make something different out of it, make it really my own style. I have looked a lot at the decorative elements on the Angkor temples near Siem Reap. For example, the Apsara dancing goddesses appearing as stone carved sculptures on the Angkor temples are strong symbols of femininity and women power and I regularly use these figures in my paintings.

The idea is to start from ancient art and culture and to turn it into something new which would fit with our modern society.

Peap Tarr and I are committed to creating a specific South East Asian style, along with other artists from Malaysia and Thailand. Street art and graffiti usually come from the United States and westernized countries, so there is much to do to build another visual style. We are also dedicated to sharing our passion for our culture and our country towards the younger generation, to encourage an art community to grow again in Cambodia.

lisa_paintLips

Could you describe a typical day at work?

Even though I feel that I am an artist, I am still studying and I really enjoy it. I am currently in my graduation year of dentistry studies. So in a typical day for me, I go to my Dental University in Phnom Penh during the day time for practice and then I will work on my painting at night. My work is getting more and more recognition so I have been commissioned to paint walls for certain hotels and institutions not only in Phnom Penh but also in Thailand in Bangkok. I get the opportunity to travel and dedicate myself full time to my art during these work sessions.

I don’t need much material to work, which is something that I appreciate. I only need brushes and acrylic colours. They are quite easy to use and speed up my painting process. I usually use bold and strong colours to get visually graphic effects: black, white, red, gold and silver are my favourite.

IMG_20140517_183918

How is street art considered in Cambodia? And what do you intend to express through your art?

I think that the urban culture in Cambodia is quite new and for a long time it was only the expatriates and visiting tourists who would paint in the streets. Now I feel that more and more local people like me. My partner Peap Tarr and another Cambodian graffiti artist called Tone are starting to draw attention from all the Khmer people when they discovered us painting in the streets and getting involved in an increasing number of artistic projects.

There is a great feeling of pride to be recognized as the first urban female artist in Cambodia because art is truly my passion. I feel very lucky for that. This is what I love to do with all my heart and soul.

My goal is to inspire the young Cambodian generation to develop their own sensibility and taste without copying from other cultures. It’s really important to cultivate your own identity. It helps other people realize where you come from and express who you really are.

I do not use art to deliver a political message. It is not my purpose. I would say that somehow my art is feminist, inspired by woman power. To me women represent love, compassion and peace and I would like the people who look at my artwork to experience a moment of bliss. The world needs peace. That’s my message!

 

Relevant links:

 

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Ties that Bind: An insider’s perspectivehttp://culture360.asef.org/asef-news/ties-that-bind-an-insiders-perspective/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ties-that-bind-an-insiders-perspective http://culture360.asef.org/asef-news/ties-that-bind-an-insiders-perspective/#comments Wed, 11 Jun 2014 10:42:42 +0000 culture360.org http://culture360.asef.org/?p=42009

The 2014 edition of the Film Producers Workshop Ties That Bind took place in Udine, Italy on 29 April to 7 May, along the 16th Far East Film Festival. Justin Deimen from Singapore, was one of the 10 selected producers from Asia and Europe that participated in this year's edition.  Read More

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Contributed by Justin Deimen

The 2014 edition of the Film Producers Workshop Ties That Bind took place in Udine, Italy on 29 April to 7 May, along the  16th Far East Film Festival. Justin Deimen from Singapore, was one of the 10 selected producers from Asia and Europe that participated in this year’s edition.

 

The team and this year’s producer participants attend panel discussions at Udine’s 16th Far East Film Festival

The team of Ties that Bind and this year’s 10 selected producers at Udine’s 16th Far East Film Festival

 

Co-organised between the festival,  The Asia-Europe Foundation’s (ASEF) Creative Encounters programme, European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs (EAVE), the Friuli Venezia Giulia Audiovisual Fund, and the Asian Project Market, Ties That Bind brings together a selected group of creative producers from around Asia (5 producers) and Europe (5 producers) to discuss projects that they have in development as well as to facilitate cultural exchanges in the film and television sectors of their respective regions.  The second and final leg of the workshop will take place during the Busan International Film Festival / Asian Project Market in October 2014.

Having been one of the Asian participants this year from Singapore, I was in pole position to experience and participate in the programme that has had great success in recent years in bringing together and improving unique projects with co-producing potential from Asia and Europe by placing them under the creative and financing microscope of experts from the 2 continents.  After being involved in film co-productions around the Southeast Asian region, the European leg of the workshop proved to be a wonderful eye-opener and a fantastic networking opportunity.

 

The Producers

 

French producer, Karim Aitouna offers his insight and feedback to projects presented by fellow participants during the workshop.

French producer, Karim Aitouna offers his insight and feedback to projects presented by fellow participants during the workshop.

The producers chosen for the workshop were from varied backgrounds from Asia, we had producers from the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, China, and Japan. From the European contingent, there were representatives from Belgium, France, The Netherlands, and Poland.  Their passion for their projects, professional achievements, personal integrity and character set the bar high for the workshop.

As an executive committee members of the recently launched Southeast Asian Audio-Visual Association (SAAVA), I was excited to learn that 3 out of the 5 Asian projects and 2 of the European projects were to be set in Southeast Asia. This underscored the storytelling potential and producing possibilities within this region as well as the need for strong inter-cultural foundations to be established between international content partners.

Each producer arrived with a feature film project, each at various stages of development and financing. Some were in the advanced stages of financing, while others were perfecting and putting together the right story that they wanted to tell. The notion of truly knowing the story and theme we were putting together became one of the most cohering points of references during the course of the week.

The Workshop and its Lessons

 

The workshops were guided by Christophe Bruncher (left), the programme’s Head of Studies and Group Leader, Élise Jalladeau.

The workshops were guided by Christophe Bruncher (left), the programme’s Head of Studies and Group Leader, Élise Jalladeau.

The workshop in Udine was comprised of 3 main components – a group discussion, plenaries, and meetings. The group work was facilitated by Elise Jalladeau (EAVE) in a round-table format consisting of intense 3-hour blocks of friendly criticism, creative brainstorming, and exchanging of experiences. As each project was different, every approach had to be unique and deliberate based on the quality of the story and script, the location of the production and the financing elements attached.

With the various experiences of the profiles gathered together, the workshop head Christopher succinctly mentioned early on that we were chosen based on who we are and where we were going as opposed to only the strength of our project. Through the group work, it became apparent that our individual work and knowledge in different regions, enabled us to exchange practical information to get our projects funded. We looked at the various tax incentives and grants available for producers around the world, and how we can best fit these puzzle pieces together to form our financing structure – this proved why the international format of this workshop demonstrated its true value.

In between the group discussions, we had sessions with industry experts based in Europe and Asia who presented the various states of play in the creative industries from festival planning, distribution, and script development. We also had fantastic self-improvement sessions that involved pitching and marketing. The follow-ups to these sessions included one-on-one meetings (coordinated by the Tanika Sajatovic from EAVE) with the experts to see how their respective fields of interest could benefit our individual projects. On the whole, this networking opportunity was beneficial for participants who knew what they wanted and what they could possibly gain from these esteemed guests.

Aside from these coordinated meetings, participants and experts were also grouped together for the various events and dinners around the city. Alessandro Gropplero and his team were instrumental in planning and putting together the well-executed schedules and events throughout any downtime we had. Through these instances of personal contact, a strong networking and learning opportunity allowed genuine and meaningful relationships to strengthen for the long run.

 

The Perspectives

 

From left: Philippines’ Joe Alandy, France’s Karim Aitouna, and ASEF representative Sasiwimon Wongjarin, listen to expert Roger Garcia from the Hong Kong – Asia Film Financing Forum.

From left: Philippines’ Joe Alandy, France’s Karim Aitouna, and ASEF representative Sasiwimon Wongjarin, listen to expert Roger Garcia from the Hong Kong – Asia Film Financing Forum.

One of the most interesting takeaways from these discussions and meetings was how differently producers on both sides of the Caspian Sea perceive sources of financing. As evidenced by the projects, there is a growing sense that European producers want to set more culturally inventive stories shot in Asia, which would allow it to be more cost-effective as well. However, government and arts funding in the continent aside from Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, and Korea is scarce. Most film investments here deal with equity, and very little else including pre-sales. This presents a bit of a conundrum to our European counterparts where federal, state, and regional funding plays a large part in their endeavours and strategies of content producing.

On the Asian side of the aisle, it became apparent that aside from international development grants like the World Cinema Fund and the Hubert Bals Fund, there’s little experience that Asian producers have in terms of applying for soft money, and it does not constitute a significant portion of their financing plan. It’s a cash business here, where producers deal with less paperwork (a common refrain from the Europeans) and more equity. From the Singaporean and Malaysian standpoint, the tax incentives offered by these neighbouring nations are still arbitrary, nascent and continue to be developed. These film rebates will need more industry consultations to be disseminated fairly and purposefully or else it will become a limited bureaucratic exercise.

All these factors contribute to the dearth of true co-productions between these regions, as most European production expeditions into Asia are led creatively by European producers who are financed with cheaper production costs within Asia. Creative producers in Asia have more to offer than mere access to more cost-effective labour but also the desire and ability to package projects with our stories and private financing together with our European counterparts’ experience with their own countries’ incentives.

Most of Asia has private money flowing through the creative industries but no real system of checks and balances, or a sophisticated film financing ecosystem. The only real way for Asian producers to have an equal footing in a co-production relationship is if there is more support towards culture and the audio-visual arts either within each country or through inter-governmental associations, just as how EAVE as grown into a vital cultural establishment through the support of the European Union and the buy-ins from its member states. This is something creative producers in the Asian region have to work towards constituting, here cultural exchanges like Ties That Bind can help in this regard.

Ties that Bind is one of the project selected through the ASEF’s Creative Encounters programme in 2013-14. Creative Encounters is based on an annual open call for proposals and a selection process targeting innovative projects, which gather artists, performers, producers and cultural practitioners from Asia and Europe.

Submissions for the Fourth Edition (2014-2015) are now open until July 15, 2014.

 

Interviews:

Listen to the following interviews by Eddie Bertozzi, reporter from Fred Chanel One:

Listen to more podcast on Udine Far East Film Festival online  http://uk.fred.fm/category/podcastcat/feff/

 

Links:

 

JUSTIN DEIMEN is a Singapore‐based film and television producer by trade and a film journalist by training. With a varied and applied experience with the art of story and the creative business process, Justin is also one of region’s foremost scriptwriters and is one of the co-founders of the Southeast Asian Audio-Visual Association. His most recent feature film project is 3.50, the first Singapore‐Cambodia feature co‐production exploring the moral and societal issues of sex trafficking. He continues to pursue his passion to better the world through his work in the media and has co-established Wikigives.com, a crowdfunding platform for social causes carrying inspirational content.

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Connecting art to local communities | the Veduta programme of the Lyon Biennalehttp://culture360.asef.org/magazine/contemporary-art-and-local-communities-the-veduta-programme-of-the-lyon-biennale/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=contemporary-art-and-local-communities-the-veduta-programme-of-the-lyon-biennale http://culture360.asef.org/magazine/contemporary-art-and-local-communities-the-veduta-programme-of-the-lyon-biennale/#comments Tue, 03 Jun 2014 03:44:13 +0000 Florent Petit http://culture360.asef.org/?p=41811

Abdelkader Damani studied Architecture in Oran, Algeria, and Art History and Philosophy in Lyon, France. He is since 2007 the Head of the « Veduta » Platform at the Biennale de Lyon.  Read More

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Contributed by Florent Petit

 

Abdelkader Damani

Abdelkader Damani

 

Abdelkader Damani studied Architecture in Oran, Algeria, and Art History and Philosophy in Lyon, France. Since 2007, he is the Head of the « Veduta » Platform at the Biennale de Lyon. This year he will be one of the three guest curators of the 11th Biennale of Dakar, Senegal, in charge of the selection of North African artists.

For ASEF culture360, he talks about the programmes he initiated in the frame of the Biennale de Lyon and shares his views on the importance of the local context and the creativity required to involve local people in the development of artistic projects.

 

If you had to pick up one word that captures Lyon, what would it be?

 

I think I would choose landscape. Indeed, a landscape can be defined as a coherent area that contains several surprises and curiosities that make it remarkable. Lyon is a beautiful and calm landscape full of surprises. I mean that this is a city that, when it deals with culture, holds its inhabitants in suspense in a journey where they can discover every form of creation : Lumière Film Festival, the two Biennales de Lyon (contemporary art and dance), Quai du Polar (crime fiction festival), Assises du Roman (international forum on the novel), Nuits Sonores (electronic and indie music festival), Nuits de Fourvière (performing arts festival) etc. When the activity is getting calmer, you just have to walk along the rivers : the Soâne with, literally, kilometers of art with the « Rives de Saône » art programme, or the Rhône, with its renovated banks offering a delightful way to live and enjoy this city.


Over the past twenty-five years, there was a blossoming of contemporary art biennales around the world. What makes the Biennale de Lyon unique?

 

To really get what makes the Biennale de Lyon specific, one must consider the paradigms that give a peculiar dimension to a biennale: its artistic structure and the relation it has with its territory.

The Biennale de Lyon is firmly anchored in art history. « This is first of all a project held by a museum » keeps explaining its artistic director, Thierry Raspail. There is indeed a structural connection between the Biennale and the macLYON (contemporary art museum of the city). The artistic director of the Biennale is also the director of this museum. After being the co-curator of the three first editions (in 1991, 1993 and 1995), he since then proposes to guest curators to build a reflection based on a word that, according to him, synthesizes the artistic actuality of the moment.

Every word is proposed for three editions and forms the frame of a six years trilogy. « Global » (in 1997, 2000 and 2001) « Temporality » (in 2003, 2005 and 2007) and « Transmission » (in 2009, 2011 and 2013) were proposed for past editions.

« Modern » opens a new trilogy with Ralph Rugoff as general curator for the first edition using that word in 2015.

The second paradigm is the relation held by a biennale with the city, and, adopting a broader vision, local territory. On this point, the Biennale de Lyon is, by far, a pioneer in this domain. Orginased in three platforms, it offers three different ways to « get in touch » with art :

The international exhibition is handled by a guest curator. This part is the heart of the project and sticks to the expectation people have in general for a biennale : an exhibition of contemporary artists.

« Résonance » is a platform which offers the possibility to local structures and actors of the Rhône-Alpes Région (one of the largest of the French regions, spanning from the centre of France to the Swiss and Italian borders, Lyon is its capital) to get more visible, with more than one hundred participants during each edition (art centres, cultural structures, libraries and so on).

At last, « Veduta », that I am responsible for, deals both with local and global, with the creation of art and its reception, with what is made in the inner city and beyond its limits, with professional work and amateur practice.

The combination of this three platforms in one event gives, in my opinion, all its specific dimension to the Biennale de Lyon. This aspect allows us to think that the Biennale de Lyon makes an accurate definition of this new neologism born with the emergence of biennales : « glocal ».

 

View of the Cube Blanc ("White Cube"), an exhibition space made in Décines (east suburbs of Lyon) and animated by a group of 15 inhabitants living in the surrounding estates

View of the Cube Blanc (“White Cube”), an exhibition space made in Décines (east suburbs of Lyon) and animated by a group of 15 inhabitants living in the surrounding estates

You work as the Artistic Director of « Veduta », one of the main side-project of the Biennale de Lyon. Could you explain what is its main objective?

 

« Veduta » is above all a team work and a permanent dialogue held with the guest curator and the international exhibition. It is also characterized by the participation of several towns scattered through the Lyon metropolis. Our goal is to set the Biennale to the whole scale of its home territory and foster the meeting of all kinds of public.

The first principle of « Veduta » is the artistic experience considered as an equation with four criteria : the work of art, space, the viewer and the discourse. In our project, there is no hierarchy of any kind between this four components of artistic experience. The fact that you can combine them without end in different orders offers the opportunity  to imagine every possible form of  interaction with art.

For instance, which kind of shape can take an art exhibition in a place like a laundromat ? In 2013, this reflection gave birth to « Cycle délicat » (« Delicate Cycle »), an exhibition and performance of 35 minutes held in a laundromat in Lyon. In 2009, we used places like a public swimming pool (« Animaux–animaux » / « Animals-animals » exhibition) or a police station (« Très portraits » exhibition). You can vary the four factors, or even omit some of them, in order to picture a « brand new » form to experiment the way we encounter artworks.

Our second principle is to involve non professionals in the implementation and conception of the curatorial project of « Veduta ». The amateur is undoubtedly the main character, the « hero » of this part of the Biennale. Since 2009, we try to elaborate participatory forms in which every person, regardless of their level of study and how deep is their knowledge, can make sense out of art works and create something meaningful.

The most significant example to illustrate this is the « Cube Blanc » (« White Cube ») organised in 2011 in a town in the east suburbs of Lyon. Conceived as a temporary museum, it is directed by non professional exhibition curators and programmers. This group has made two exhibitions, one using the permanent collections of the macLYON and the second dedicated to French artist Christian Lhopital, invited in the international exhibition of the Biennale that year. In 2013, the amateur has been put right in the heart of « Veduta ». With the « Chez Moi » (« At Home ») project, we asked all the artists participating in the international exhibition to propose one of their work in order to exhibit it in a private context, within the home of Lyon’s inhabitants. 62 private flats thus welcomed 62 artworks from these artists during the whole duration of the Biennale. This resulted in the coexistence of two shows : a public one, the international exhibition presented in its traditional places, and another one, completely private, showcased in flats and houses.

The third principle is to use artists concepts and their works as a curatorial process. Each work of art is considered, in our point of view, like an action enclosed inside a form. The aim of « Veduta » is to pull out the action in order to literally put it into effects on the city, making no difference between public or private space. We try to give a tangible or material dimension to the concepts, utopias and statements of artists. Let me give you two examples taken from our last edition in 2013 : « Enquête sur une disparition » (« Investigation on a disappearance ») and the « Poïpoïgrotte » (interpretation of « Le ou la Poïpoïdrome à Espace-Temps Réel, Prototype 00, 1963-1975 », by Robert Filliou and Joachim Pfeufer).

« Enquête sur une disparition » is a project based on a work by Claudio Parmiggiani. In 1989, this Italian artist created a sculpture made of a big mud sphere, that was supposed to disappear from public view at the end of the exhibition, being buried in the cloister of the Palais Saint-Pierre in Lyon (right in the centre of the city, this building is now home of the Lyon Fine Arts museum). The macLYON accepted the fate choosen by the artist for its work and decided to buy it. The only thing that remains of this today is the souvenir of the work, some kind of oral memory that must relate this moment. Within the frame of « Veduta », we formed a group of amateur persons with the task to investigate on this story, identifying witnesses of the burial, of this whole quite strange story, and to get their version of it. This process led to the making of an exhibition on this story where collected testimonies are presented. The « Poïpoïgrotte » originates from an inivitation made to French collective  Bruit du Frigo.

The question we asked them was : what does « permanent creation », a concept imagined by French artist Robert Filliou, would be if you had to use it in real life ? The answer of the artists is a come-back to the very first place that brought together the two acts of living and creating for humans : a cave. They built a structure striking for its curious architecture and used it as an urban shelter. Anyone could come to spend one day and sleep in the premises with the authorization to draw and write on the walls until all the surfaces were filled up.

 

Most of the events organized in the framework of « Veduta » take place in unconventional places. Could you tell us what are the main challenges when using alternative spaces ?

 

I think the question of the place is fundamental. In a white cube (whether this is a museum or an art center) you can control space as you like, you can adapt it to the art work. When you are out of it, it’s all the opposite, you have to adapt yourself. So, what are the challenges ? The first one is to find every time the right answer in order for the artistic experience that I mentioned earlier to happen and embrace all the players.

It can for instance take the form of an invitation of a group of artists like Elshopo, when we decided in 2009 to imagine an artistic performance made in a food market. Another example is to conceive the right exhibition for a public space like a swimming pool or a police station. You have to make all the protagonists involved at their best, otherwise you are bound to fail. Consider this : how can you convince policemen to welcome a contemporary art exhibition, swimming instructors to participate in a perfomance, or simple citizens to whisper an art story in someone else’s ear ?

These are our challenges : convince people that the diffusion and sharing of the experience of art is something useful and valuable.

This is also a way for us to question our methods in the conception and curating of exhibitions. There are some fragments of space and time that got my attention and that I would like to test in the future, like a bus stop, or where you wait for traffic lights to turn to red before crossing the street… These are some examples of small spaces where people remains only for a very short time. If you want to work on this, you have no other choice than change entirely how you present and work on contemporary art.

 

What sort of impact has this programme had on local communities and what kind of reactions did you receive?

 

For those who don’t regularly visit museums or contemporary art exhibitions, in other words, for most people out there, this is definitely the discovery of a new world. But it’s much harder to say what remains of all this. What is sure is that we succeeded with « Veduta » to carry out what we call « L’Ecole de l’Amateur » (« the Amateur School »), long term projects lasting from 6 up to 10 months we have made with some groups of people whose concerns and preoccupations were really miles away from contemporary art. Thanks to them, we have information on the impact of our projects.

For example, the group forming the curatorial and cultural mediation team of the « Cube Blanc » in 2011 gathered into an association. This group is since then organising new exhibitions inviting artists. Another circle of amateurs followed the same path in 2013 after their collaboration with French artist Jean-François Gavoty. They participated in another artist residency programme and today they organise visits and tours of contemporary art exhibitions. But you can’t realise this without a serious work in advance, before and during the Biennale.

 

How do you envision the future development of the « Veduta » programme ? Do you think similar initiatives could be organised in an another urban context?

 

I always tell my team that we will complete our mission the day when we will not be needed anymore, when people will dare to approach works of art in a simple, direct and spontaneous way, free from fetishism or any sacred dimension. The day when urban public space will be full of contemporary art. The day when museums storerooms will be empty because we will have identified and found all those who accept to keep the pieces.

Can you imagine a contemporary art museum launching a public call, asking for average citizens to hold and shelter its artworks, making its storage empty and setting up an exhibition of all his collections scattered in private homes ?

 

Of course, I know this idea sounds quite provocative and controversial, especially if you consider the preservation of heritage.

 

Yet, history itself proves that if you want any kind of heritage to continue to exist, you have to move into it, to keep it and make it alive. This is the perfect definition of a rehabilitation, that  you can consider by the way as an assignment given to the places.

 

Why should it be different with contemporary artworks ? Maybe the future of this heritage relies on the fact that we should live with it and in it. To do so, one should facilitate all the loan procedures of artworks. We need to move towards the end of this idol worship and fetishism that characterizes our relation with contemporary art. This is really something I am totally convinced of.

Can something like « Veduta » be made in another context ? My answer is yes. The formula is easy : always try to experiment, have among your partners museums and collections that accept to go in the same direction and territories (official representatives, technicians and inhabitants) willing to participate and have cross-disciplinary teams. The question of the team is of upmost importance. Veduta mediators are more considered like « situations creators ». When they go from door to door to meet the average citizen to propose « 5 minutes of contemporary art », the number of years you have spent in university is not enough anymore, your creativity, passion, involment and the capacity you have to set harmonious relations with others are much more important.

 

Useful links:

Museum of Contemporary Art, lyon : http://www.mac-lyon.com/mac/
Lumière Film Festival : http://www.festival-lumiere.org/en/
Quais du Polar : http://www.quaisdupolar.com/en/
Biennales de Lyon : http://www.labiennaledelyon.com/
Nuits de Fourvière : http://www.nuitsdefourviere.com/
Nuits sonores : http://www.nuits-sonores.com/en/
Assises du Roman : http://www.villagillet.net/en/portal/international-forum-on-the-novel/news/
Rives de Saône : http://www.lesrivesdesaone-grandlyon.com/

 

Florent Petit is former project officer in the cultural unit of the French Embassy in Japan. He holds a Master’s degree in Art History from the Sorbonne University in Paris and in International Relations from the Institute of Political Studies of Lyon. Former lecturer of Chinese, Korean and Japanese art in the Ecole du Louvre in Paris, he has occupied several curatorial positions in museums in France (Asian Unit of the Musée du quai Branly, Paris) and Luxembourg (Mudam, Museum of contemporary art, Luxembourg City).

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Weaving Southeast Asian threadshttp://culture360.asef.org/magazine/weaving-southeast-asian-threads/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=weaving-southeast-asian-threads http://culture360.asef.org/magazine/weaving-southeast-asian-threads/#comments Fri, 16 May 2014 04:21:12 +0000 Magali An Berthon http://culture360.asef.org/?p=41487

Last November 2013, an exceptional symposium entitled “Weaving royal traditions through time at the Thai Court and beyond” took place in Bangkok. For the occasion, a textile community of major experts has gathered to attend this event of importance organized by the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles and the Support Foundation  Read More

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In 2014, culture360 invites a number of special correspondents to get an insight on issues that are highly discussed in the cultural sector across Asia and Europe.

Magali An Berthon, will explore arts, crafts and design topics focusing on Southeast Asia and France. Through a number of in-depth articles and interviews, she will attempt to portray creative profiles emerging from a new young generation of artists and designers without borders. She will also focus on inspiring initiatives renewing and promoting local crafts and traditions. 

In this first article, Magali An reports on the textile symposium organized by the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles which took place in Bangkok in November 2013. This international gathering was an opportunity to weave connections with a global community of textile experts and aficionados and to highlight the diversity and vitality of Asian textile crafts.

New Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007 Presentation

Last November 2013, an exceptional symposium entitled “Weaving royal traditions through time at the Thai Court and beyond” took place in Bangkok. For the occasion, a textile community of major experts has gathered to attend this event of importance organized by the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles and the Support Foundation. The most prestigious curators, museum conservators, textiles and Asian culture aficionados from all over the world have come to participate, share their knowledge and discuss the strong connections between the Southeast Asian textile identities.

 

THE QUEEN SIRIKIT MUSEUM OF TEXTILES

 

As the hallmark emblematic of this Southeast Asian crafts vitality, the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles has opened its doors in Bangkok in 2012. It occupies the fully-renovated former building of the Ministry of Finance, two steps away from the famous Royal Palace. As the name indicates, this museum was created as an initiative of Her Majesty the Queen of Thailand.

The space houses the Western style wardrobe of the Queen and it displays around 30 precious outfits sparkling brightly, extremely refined regalia and ceremonial dresses worn throughout her reign to meet the needs of political protocol. Silk brocade woven in gold thread, pearls and precious stones adornment, traditional embroidery with iridescent beetle shells. The exhibition highlights as well her long-term collaboration with fashion designer Pierre Balmain, and how they co-designed the national dress of Thai women in the 1960s: a silk tunic skillfully draped asymmetrically over one shoulder and fastened at the waist.

 

PRESERVING TEXTILE CRAFTS IN THAILAND

 

Queensirikit_museum5

The Queen has made the preservation of the textile traditions in the country her priority, if not even the work of a lifetime.

Passionate about fabrics, she has since the 1960′s traveled to the most isolated regions of Thailand in order to meet textile artisans from different ethnic minorities. With the help of a team of specialists, she has then collected thousands of weaving and embroidery samples, forming a remarkable catalogue of techniques, some of which almost lost and forgotten.

Promoting craftsmanship as a major activity in Thailand, the Queen has founded the Support organization in order to take concrete action to preserve this treasured local cultural heritage. The foundation has opened and supported the development of workshops in the countryside, particularly in the remote area of Isaan, in Northeastern Thailand. Support is also in charge of selling and marketing the traditional artisan products such as “Mudmee” silks, the Thai version of ikat textiles, thus providing a source of reliable income for rural communities often set aside from the overall national economic growth.

 

A SOUTHEAST ASIAN TEXTILE HUB

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Her Majesty is not solely focused on local Thai crafts. As one of the Symposium many highlights, the attendees were privileged to visit private collections in Bangkok showing remarkable pieces representing the entire Asian continent, from antique Burmese textiles and Bhutan traditional cloths, to Laotian and Cambodian weavings. Additionally, guest speakers discussed various topics revealing how textiles are key in identifying ethnic groups and in explaining the trajectories and cross-cultural exchanges. It is possible to map historical trade routes between neighbouring countries, showing the idea that Southeast Asian textiles are the result of this confluence of movements, simply looking at how Cambodian textiles were worn at the Court of King Rama V who reigned from 1868 to 1910; or how Indian block print cloths were designed for the Siamese market and became popular in Japan in the 17th century.

One interesting example illustrated during the symposium was the deep passion of King Rama V for Indonesian batik and how he collected up to 300 pieces by travelling three times to Java in 1871, 1896 and 1901. As expected, this lecture raised a noticeable curiosity among the Indonesian delegation attending the symposium.

 

Textiles have been used throughout history as money of exchange, facilitating communication between cultures overland and overseas on a cultural, spiritual but also economical level. The Queen Sirikit Museum appears now as a major center of research and reference for textile enthusiasts from Asia and all over the world, willing to get involved in the preservation of these exquisite live crafts.

 

Links

http://www.qsmtthailand.org/
http://tissusetartisansdumonde.fr/en/splendid-queen-sirikit-museum-of-textiles/


Magali An Berthon is a French Vietnamese textile designer and editor based in Paris. Graduate of the National School of Decorative Arts in Paris, she has gathered a valuable experience as a textile designer for fashion and home collections.  She finds inspiration in her many travels especially in South-East Asia and has developed a deep interest for ethnic arts & crafts, natural fabrics and dyes. In parallel, she works as a writer and documentarist specialized particularly on textile know-how from all over the world.

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