culture360.asef.org » Magazine http://culture360.asef.org Connecting Asia and Europe through arts and culture Wed, 23 Jul 2014 09:42:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.1 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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PPS-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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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. He is since 2007 the Head of the « Veduta » Platform at the Biennale de Lyon. He will be this year one of the three guest curators of the 11th Biennale of Dakar, Senegal, in charge of the selection of North African artists.

For 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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Design City Biennale Luxembourg | Interview with Anna Loporcarohttp://culture360.asef.org/magazine/design-city-biennale-luxembourg-interview-with-anna-loporcaro/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=design-city-biennale-luxembourg-interview-with-anna-loporcaro http://culture360.asef.org/magazine/design-city-biennale-luxembourg-interview-with-anna-loporcaro/#comments Mon, 12 May 2014 02:33:01 +0000 Florent Petit http://culture360.asef.org/?p=41307

Anna Loporcaro is in charge of cultural and artistic events in the Museum of contemporary art in Luxembourg (MUDAM), and curator of the Design City Biennale, organized in the same city.  Read More

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Anna Loporcaro, curator of the Design City Biennale, Luxembourg - © Photo: Benjamin Mathia

Anna Loporcaro, curator of the Design City Biennale, Luxembourg – © Photo: Benjamin Mathia

 

 

 

Anna Loporcaro is in charge of cultural and artistic events in the Museum of contemporary art in Luxembourg (MUDAM), and curator of the Design City Biennale, organized in the same city.

In this interview with Florent Petit, she explains how this event aims to be a showcase for experimentation and the promotion of designers both from Luxembourg and the rest of Europe. She also insists on the fact that designers should get more attention from the entire society when it comes to the harmonious and sustainable development of cities.

 

 

 

 

 

1.   If you had to pick up one word to describe Luxembourg city, what would it be and why?

Diversity: there are so many different nationalities and languages coexisting on a small territory. Even if Luxembourg is a small city, it really has a strong international component.

 

2.   Could you introduce Design City? What are the aims of this Biennale?

 « Design City » is a biennale intended to be an exchange and discussion platform dedicated to design. It also aims to be a laboratory for ideas. We decided to organize our first edition four years ago and opted for the Biennale format. It was quite obvious that Luxembourg is too small to allow us to organise such an event every year. Every two years was a much more appropriate timeframe, because it gives time for ideas to evolve. Our goal is not to focus only on one theme; In fact for each new edition, we try to show different areas within the field of design, the ways it enriches the issues with new ideas and solutions. Our aim is to stress the added value that design brings on numerous themes and various subjects.

 

3.   How do you select the artists? What is your evaluation process?

Artists involved in our programmes are selected according to different criteria. For the part of the Biennale presented within the museum of contemporary art (Mudam), we wanted to create a space for reflexion, theory and utopia, a place with no fences or bounders of any kind for the imagination of designers. Our goal was to avoid looking like a design fair, where usually only functional, marketable and ready to edit products for mass consumption are presented. For the part organised in public spaces, we wanted to bring something new, innovative and original but very much concrete at the same time regarding the context of Luxembourg.

We choose to present creators from Portugal because Portuguese are the largest foreign community settled in Luxembourg. Besides, 2014 has been tagged as the ”Year of Design” in Portugal. We were very much aware that Luxembourg and Portuguese designers do not enjoy the world reputation that their Italian, Danish or Dutch counterparts have, to name only a few. This biennale was thus the opportunity to draw attention on their work, their concerns and position on the international stage, comparing the working process of young designers coming from two different countries but facing a similar and difficult context, mostly characterized by the economic crisis.
How designers living and working in these two countries create and produce their work in such conditions? In Portugal for instance, due to the decline of the industry, we were surprised by the importance gained by traditional arts and crafts in the production process of young designers. In Luxembourg, where both industry and arts and crafts are traditionally limited, we were able to send young designers to Portugal in order for them to include traditional methods in their conceptualisation and production process.

We tried our best to create all the required actions to cast bridges between these two scenes.

The most surprising thing coming out from all this is certainly the emergence of a new generation of designers for which nationality doesn’t really matter: all of them have studied abroad and are worried by the direction taken by mass production and consumption modes in our societies. For them, the industry is not playing its role anymore; they feel more attracted by the possibilities offered by traditional arts and crafts, considered a more appropriate and fulfilling production mode.

Our aim was also to widen our reflection on on architecture and urbanism with the French architect duo “Encore Heureux”, who proposed a fresh view point on public space and its different uses. They noticeably made relevant suggestions regarding the ways and possibilities for cities to welcome migrants.

In short, the group of artists invited to participate to the biennale was formed on a « coup de coeur » attitude.  Our invitation first relied on a deep admiration for their work and the solutions that they would bring, then on the quality of the relations and ties we had set with them.

Project view Encore Heureux : Overshoot, 2014, Agence Encore Heureux, © Photo: Mudam Luxembourg

Project view Encore Heureux : Overshoot, 2014, Agence Encore Heureux, © Photo: Mudam Luxembourg

 

4.   In this year’s edition, your intention is to question the « the validity of the methodologies and traditional production methods employed in the field of design to meet new challenges posed by the contemporary political and social context, including the economic crisis and dwindling natural resources ». To which extent do you think designers can provide answers to the main challenges of our time?

I do think that you must give the power and the opportunity to designers to do so. Designers are  “made”  to bring solutions; it is their part of there work ethic.  Creativity relies on innovation and designers are bound to bring something new. I really feel that nowadays, an increasing number of creators are aware of the limitations of mass production and as a reaction to this, they seek to find solutions to preserve natural resources and use alternative production modes.

There’s really an idea I would like to stand for: designers are as legitimate as architects, urbanists or philosophers in the way they can bring their contribution to the main issues and debates in our contemporary societies. We really have to pay more attention to their ideas and solutions.

 

5.   An important part of the works presented in the frame of Design City is exhibited outdoor in Luxembourg City Park. Do you think this helps the public to change their perception of the city they live in and question their urban way of life?

It is very hard to answer this question. I guess I would probably say no spontaneously. In fact, I think it is still too early to say.

Design City is now getting more and more visible within the cultural scene of Luxembourg. For our first show, our attention was focused on urban furniture and the reflexion on public space. We were really wondering why so many different cities and towns across the world are using the same street furniture (benches, bus stops…) and creating this strange impression of standardization on a world scale. We decided then to present original proposals that allowed places to be more singular.

Our second edition was dedicated to design in every day life. Our intention was to show that design contributes to improve our lives, having a look on every day life objects, whether common (a pen for example) or more specific (a pacemaker). We wanted to make people aware of what design really is, what do we use it for, and the extraordinary vast number of subjects and domains it can treat.

Considering all this, my feeling is that the general audience has not succeeded yet to develop a critical attitude. It’s one thing for people to admit, with regret, that their daily life is uniform, monotonous and somewhat standardized with other’s, it’s really another to be eager or have the courage to question it and change it all…

 

6.   You are inviting this year designers coming from all over Europe, with a special focus on Portuguese designers. What are the main challenges when setting up such an international programme? Do you have any plan to invite Asian designers in the future?

I must say that this international dimension is absolutely essential for us. We do stand for a wide opening to the international scene. Let’s be honest: if we had to restrict ourselves to tiny Luxembourg, it would be of limited interest. Making a place to foreign designers is also a way for us to draw attention on Luxembourg.

The organization of this biennale is a real challenge, especially from a financial point of view. Indeed, our budget is exactly the same since our first edition, but the size of the event is increasing edition after edition, our program is filling up, and we have to make it all with the same amount of money. Travel and logistics require a lot of attention. We organised at least two or three preparatory meetings with participants in order to ensure a smooth organization and coordination for this biennale, and this implies quite a lot of travels (to Portugal and Paris). If Design City keeps growing at the present pace, we will have no other choice but to find new financial partners to make the event happen.

I would really love to present the work of Asian designers in the future, but I have to be realistic. Our means are limited because of budgetary constraints. However, this is likely to happen if we consider Asian designers based in Europe, especially those working in Milan, the “Mecca of design” in Europe. I think it would be quite relevant to introduce their work in the frame of a biennale dedicated to the opportunities offered by high technology.

 

Photo credits:

Anna Loporcaro’s portrait : © Photo: Benjamin Mathia
Project view Encore Heureux : Overshoot, 2014, Agence Encore Heureux, © Photo: Mudam Luxembourg

Relevant links:

http://www.designcity.lu/2014/
http://www.mudam.lu/

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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Cultural mobility Series I : interview with Ferdinand Richard | Roberto Cimetta Fundhttp://culture360.asef.org/news/cultural-mobility-in-europe-and-beyond-interview-with-ferdinand-richard-roberto-cimetta-fund/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cultural-mobility-in-europe-and-beyond-interview-with-ferdinand-richard-roberto-cimetta-fund http://culture360.asef.org/news/cultural-mobility-in-europe-and-beyond-interview-with-ferdinand-richard-roberto-cimetta-fund/#comments Mon, 05 May 2014 06:30:52 +0000 Herman Bashiron Mendolicchio http://culture360.asef.org/?p=41276

  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...  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.

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 first article, Herman interviews Ferdinand Richard, Chairman of the Roberto Cimetta Fund, one of the most active organisations in advocating cultural mobility in the Mediterranean region.

 

 

Ferdinand Richard, Chairman of the Roberto Cimetta Fund

Ferdinand Richard, Chairman of the Roberto Cimetta Fund

 

Based in Paris, France, but working internationally, the Roberto Cimetta Fund (RCF) is extending its mission to provide mobility grants for artists and cultural practitioners – to accompanying artists in their long term international cooperation projects as well as advocating for mobility and freedom of movement worldwide.

Intercultural dialogue, cultural diversity, freedom of movement, cultural cooperation, etc., are just some of the keywords that identify the new narrative for mobility of the RCF. Mainly focused on the relationships between European and Arab countries, RCF is now widening its horizons and partnerships and it’s analysing the current challenges of cultural mobility in a broader sense.

Thanks to the help of Angie Cotte, Secretary General, and to the answers of Ferdinand Richard, Chairman of the Fund, we can get more information about RCF and get to know its visions, strategies and ideas.

Could you please introduce the RCF, its history, mission and background? Who was Roberto Cimetta and how did it start the activities of the Fund?

The RCF was founded in 1998, a few years after the Barcelona agreements (1995) acknowledged officially all the cultural dimensions of the Mediterranean-partnership, in order to foster exchanges and mobility between European and Mediterranean artists. Its mission was to answer the rising demand of artists’ mobility. Its process was rather simple and clear (distributing travel grants), which made it successful. The RCF is named in memory of the well-known and respected theatre and festival director, Roberto Cimetta, whose career ended far too early. He initiated projects that contributed deeply to the development of the international theatre community: the Inteatro Festival in Polverigi, Italy; IETM (Informal European Theatre Meeting); ACARTE, the contemporary performing arts programme of the Gulbenkian Foundation in Portugal. The name was suggested by his professional colleagues who mourned his premature death.

The main geographical focus of RCF is the Mediterranean. What does the Mediterranean mean for RCF?

This is no longer correct. This geographical focus changed over times, and for some years now, the RCF is integrating a larger area which consists in a dialogue between the Arab World (including the Gulf countries, Mauritania, Sudan, etc…) and all European countries. This has been changed due to the analysis that the geographical perspective for an Arab artist/operator cannot be restricted to the Mediterranean space, but must include the whole of the Arab cultural area. The future of a young Moroccan choreographer is to be seen also on the Gulf banks, and not only in Europe or on the Mediterranean coasts.  As a side effect, this consideration is also stressing the fact that the concept of a Mediterranean space is maybe more of a European vision than an Arab one.

 

Guimarães (Portugal), 2012

Guimarães (Portugal), 2012

 

The development of the artistic and cultural mobility is one of the primary goals of RCF. Could you tell me what is your concept and vision regarding cultural mobility?

The RCF experiments over the years showed that in fact mobility as such is not a goal. The real objective is that art communities wherever they are should gain financial autonomy, therefore freedom of expression, local cultural/artistic development, and should reach a “fair trade” situation between the north and the south in terms of cultural exchanges. And this cannot be achieved without this precious tool which is mobility.  The RCF should be regarded as a development tool, not as a travel agency.

 

In terms of advocacy and networking, which is your strategy and what kind of international collaborations are you currently developing?

Important changes have occurred in the past 20 years, which have also impacted the way RCF is advocating and networking. For many decades, international cultural relationships have been mostly monitored at the national level (Ministries of Foreign Affairs and their agencies). But many local authorities were already having their own international partnerships, including the cultural field. At a time when national cultural agencies saw the decrease of their budgets, addressing local authorities seemed more and more obvious. It is a risky position (and the RCF had this harsh experience!) to expect funding for international cultural mobility from the sole national levels or European levels. Today, the fundraising scheme must be a mix of public national and local levels (including ECoCs [European Capitals of Culture]), private foundations, etc… Therefore, addressing these very different types of financing requires also different types of funding lines which will respond to each particular funder’s requirements. It must be also understood that a funding process is an exchange, and it is an important part of the funding relation to understand that the funder requires in return some visibility/communication moments, and this is one of the reasons why RCF is always trying to propose such actions (such as seminars, platforms, conferences) to a potential funder, on topics of its interest. To a large extent, by their theoretical or political production, these meetings have also the interesting effect of “re-legitimatizing” the funding process.

 

Belgrade Arab-Balkan exchange platform, 2013

Belgrade Arab-Balkan exchange platform, 2013

As a mobility funder organization, could you tell me what, in your opinion, a proposal should address in order to get funding? How is your evaluation and selection process working?

Paradoxically, for the RCF, the most valuable part of a mobility process is the “return-phase”. The added value of a trip can be measured when the beneficiary gets back home, and the way she/he shares the benefit of her/his trip with her/his community (benefit in terms of new ideas, new vision of her/his local community, new partners, new knowledge). We try to evaluate as much as possible the chances for this feedback to have a long-lasting cultural/artistic development effect, and a networking implementation. It is about an individual adventure which is impacting a collective interest. We aim also for our action to be ethically sound; we have an ethical charter that our experts, Board members, staff and grantees must adhere to and we also implement transparency, accountability, accessibility and efficiency as the four key elements that guarantee the quality and professionalism of our scheme.

 

We do live in times of instability in terms of public funding. What is your funding strategy? How do you convince and encourage municipalities and public institutions to support cultural mobility and the RCF projects?

The best angle to convince public authorities to invest in cultural/artistic mobility/exchanges is the creative factor. Most public authorities in the world are today convinced that they must be seen as a creative source, that their ability to support or attract creative forces is one of their key-issues in term of development and job-creations. They cannot match this image if their creative people do not circulate, or leave the country. They have to organise both the “export” of their creative image and make their countries attractive enough for the creative people to stay. The idea is to facilitate ‘round-trip’ mobility, not to suffer brain-drain effects. Several international/European treaties (The Lisbon Treaty for example) reinforce the necessity for local authorities to be seen as creative, attractive, and they cannot achieve this without a lively and internationally recognized creative sector. Mobility is a key-tool in this respect and it should be considered key to the development of capacity building. An important part of our funding strategy is to analyse the impact of mobility so that funders can appreciate the “return on investment” which is sometimes not evident in mobility funding. We have already produced two impact assessments and are working on an additional one this year.

 

Going beyond the Euro-Mediterranean region. We are now experiencing the development of several cooperation programmes that include, among others, Gulf and Asian countries. What are the geographical limits or ambitions of RCF?

As I said before, the context has changed. Instead of organising closed internal “domestic” relationship between Europeans and Arabs, it seems to me on a medium term (or maybe a shorter term than we thought!) that the intention should be more to create, from such a long tradition of shared cultural elements, a strong Euro-Arab creative platform which could address the rest of the world. It is in this prospect that creating links between the Euro-Arab platform and Asia (or other places in the World) must be seen as a new step for cultural relationship between these parts of the World. For example, it would make more sense and it would be much more flexible and efficient to organise a multi-lateral and simultaneous creative relationship between an Arab artist, a European producer and their counterparts in Asia, than referring (as it used to be) for each of them to their national cultural agencies in order to gain national support, with the possibility of success or failure, depending on the individual request. The RCF could be a funding instrument to respond to this need in the internationalisation of artistic practice.

 

Advocating Mobility. Right on Track. Istikshaf Symposium. Amman, 2014

Advocating Mobility. Right on Track. Istikshaf Symposium. Amman, 2014

The establishment of networks is one of the central activities in present times. An important project in which you are involved is the “Istikshaf Coalition”. Could you tell me more about this project?

The Istikshaf Coalition started in 2010 as an initiative to bring together organisations that were working on mobility in the Arab region, in order to explore mobility in it’s widest sense; not only as a cultural cooperation model but also as a cultural right to freedom of movement intrinsically related to the plight of generations of migrants and refugees. Over the years and after meetings in Amman, Alexandria, Aswan, Lille, Brussels, the Istikshaf Coalition has grown to encompass some 300 organisations that advocate for mobility. The Coalition wants mobility to be considered as a cultural policy at national levels that requires funding. It also aims to give back mobility to the Arab people as an essential part of their cultural life and a tool for learning and understanding different cultures.

 

Another important area, with a growing cultural context, are the Balkans. What kind of projects are you developing in the Balkan region?

Balkans and the Arab world have a long history (sometimes very tragic) of cultural relationship. At the time when Yugoslavia was one of the leaders of the non-aligned countries, there were many Arab artists studying in the Balkans, and many Balkan citizens operating in cultural relationship with the Arab world. In terms of development, the religious differences were not seen as antagonistic. The Yugoslavian War has destroyed this bridge too, but many of these people are still alive and working. Re-building cultural exchanges with the Arab World is a way to countering the wave of xenophobia which is hitting Europe today.

 

Talking about obstacles in mobility, what is your vision in relation to Visa issues? Do you have any plan or strategy in order to improve the visa procedures for artists and cultural operators?

Oddly enough, the RCF understands that this issue is very important, but it cannot develop a lot of arguments about it, for the simple reason that cases where RCF beneficiaries have had visa problems are quite rare. It seems that by benefiting from an RCF travel grant, the visa applicant is more successful in obtaining his or her visa, because the consulates know that the applicant will return to his or her home country to receive the reimbursement of travel expenses. It must be said that extremely rarely have we directly addressed consulates to obtain visas for our beneficiaries. We participated in several meetings on this specific issue, whether they were organised by the European Commission or by artists’ unions. Beyond some very painful cases, numbers should be looked at very carefully, since it seems that the global European situation of visas for extra-European artists or cultural operators has improved; but I would like also to avoid disconnecting this question with the issue of good-or-bad practices of the European “importers” of foreign artists. Every now-and-then, since decades, there are some cases of extra-European artists (they could be African musicians on tour in Europe, or south-American visual artists exhibited in rich European art galleries) unacceptably treated by their so-called European managers, and to my mind such attitudes cannot be disconnected from the sole visa issue. We need to have a global logic on all this field of the “relation to the other”, and the visa issue is only one part of it.

 

Which are the most important results and outcomes that RCF has achieved?

Contributing to giving back their dignity to artists who are not in a proper situation to do this. Contributing to local communities and Cultural Diversity, in the sense of respecting all cultures around common cultural values.

 

After many years working in the international cultural and artistic field, what is your current perception of the cultural policies in the Euro-Med region? Are we progressing somewhere? 

Interesting question, but I would not ask it this way. Since millenaries, the Cultural richness of the Euro-Arab zone is in a permanent evolution. It is not produced by cultural policies. To my opinion, good practices in cultural policies are supposed to dispatch correctly the share of the benefits that this permanent evolution produces, and not supposed to be instrumentalized for the sake of national prestige or cultural goods market shares. They are also supposed to guarantee the respect of Cultural rights for any individual, as it is written in art.1 of the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights. But cultural policies in the Euro-Arab zone are also very diverse, and sometimes strongly antagonistic, if not inexistent. It is of utmost importance that some permanent dialogue can be processed between the producers of these policies, who, as much as artists or private cultural activists, need to move in order to meet each other and negotiate.

Furthermore, considering the causes of the current conflicts in this area, it occurs to me that no sustainable solution can be achieved without a proper understanding and respect of each other’s culture. Mobility is at the heart of this expectation.

 

Relevant links:

http://www.cimettafund.org/index/index/lang/en
http://eeas.europa.eu/euromed/barcelona_en.htm
http://www.cimettafund.org/article/index/rubrique/1/lang/en/id/3

 

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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Interview with Christa Meindersma: Saving Heritage helps a community to survivehttp://culture360.asef.org/magazine/interview-with-christa-meindersma-saving-heritage-helps-a-community-to-survive/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=interview-with-christa-meindersma-saving-heritage-helps-a-community-to-survive http://culture360.asef.org/magazine/interview-with-christa-meindersma-saving-heritage-helps-a-community-to-survive/#comments Thu, 13 Mar 2014 02:16:18 +0000 culture360.org http://culture360.asef.org/?p=40105

                  Contributed by Ulla-Alexandra Mattl Christa Meindersma has been director of the Prince Claus Fund since 2011. She is an international...  Read More

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Christa Meindersma, Director, Prince Claus Fund

Christa Meindersma, Director, Prince Claus Fund

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contributed by Ulla-Alexandra Mattl

Christa Meindersma has been director of the Prince Claus Fund since 2011. She is an international lawyer with extensive experience in Asia, Africa and Europe and a passion for art and culture. Previously, Christa worked as deputy coordinator of the Task Force Sudan of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and negotiator and senior political advisor for the United Nations, in East-Timor, Indonesia, Nigeria, Cameroon, Kosovo, Darfur, Nepal, DR Congo, Sudan and New York. Christa is member of the Advisory Council of the Prince Claus Conservatory and School of Performing Arts.

The Prince Claus Fund initiates and supports activities in the field of culture and development and works in cooperation with individuals and organisations, mainly in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and is a platform for intercultural exchange.

At the 6th World Summit on Arts and Culture in Santiago de Chile on 13-16 January 2014 Christa was a panellist of the session “Cultural heritage at risk: protection and reconstruction post-disaster” where she gave examples of successful interventions and described some of the challenges her organisation faces on a daily basis.

In an interview during the World Summit she shared details about her work in Asia as part of the Cultural Emergency Response Programme (CER). The programme, which was founded in 2003, provides quick help to evacuate, stabilise or rescue cultural heritage under imminent threat of destruction or damaged by man-made disasters, natural disasters or conflict. The programme has now been running for more than 10 years with emergency interventions in 54 countries.

Can you tell us about the places where the Prince Claus Fund has been active in Asia?

“We have done quite a lot of work in Indonesia but also in the whole Himalaya region (Bhutan, Nepal and Sikkim in India) which has been affected by earthquakes in recent years. We have done work in India, in Pakistan, in Thailand, many different countries.”

How is your work in Asia different to your initiatives in other parts of the world?

“We can’t say that any of this work is specific to Asia because each country is very different and has its specific situations. The whole Himalaya region for example is a seismically very active region with earthquakes. What we find is that we have to deal with similar issues in the different communities after a disaster. For example, in many communities in the Himalayas traditional buildings were affected. The question people were looking at was how to rebuild in a traditional way and how to restore the buildings in a way that they were more resistant; they are looking at the incorporation of new technologies in very traditional buildings. The other issue that came up in different places was a lack of skills, in particular traditional buildings skills, and knowledge about how to build and restore the traditional buildings; carpentry, masonry, and all the details of the buildings. In some cases older craftsman were found to teach young people and they helped with the work that was carried out. We also find that often not only buildings but also murals are affected like for example in Bhutan. We have also been working on murals in Thailand and on temple structures all across the region.”

So you mainly work with saving and restoring built heritage?

“No, buildings and murals are not the only things that communities like to save after a natural disaster. We also see that they like to save instruments, for instance in Burma after cyclone Nargis in 2008. We received requests to support the rebuilding of particular instruments and also the teaching of the skills needed for this. The instruments are used to accompany a puppet theatre and the communities were anxious to not lose the traditions around the puppet theatre. After earthquakes or floods people also very often want to save archives – photo archives and documentary archives. Therefore, the concept of heritage we work with is very broad.”

Do you see any specific mentality in Asia towards saving or not saving heritage, for instance traditional or colonial buildings or heritage?

“This depends very much on the community. In some communities there is a very strong awareness of wanting to keep certain buildings or the use of certain traditional building methods. Very often after a disaster there is a discussion of various groups or members of the same community. For instance in Bhutan, when we visited one of the temples which had been very badly affected, the community itself, the craftsmen, the leader of the monastery and the local authority had very different views on what should be done. Some wanted to tear it all down, some wanted to keep the traditional building style; because it constitutes the soul of the building, it would get lost if one replaces the traditional structure with a concrete structure. There are many issues engulfed in those discussions but it is very interesting to see those discussions taking place. There are also situations when an authority may just demolish certain buildings, in particularly after a natural disaster, while the community would have liked to save them. In China people are moved out of the houses which are then demolished although the people say no damage was done. And the temple [in Bhutan] was saved because the community wanted to save it and was able to find ways to make it happen.”

What more lies behind the will to save or not save an affected structure?

“Situations are very different but in the discussion about saving or demolishing, replacing buildings by concrete buildings, the value or price of the land can also be a crucial factor; but also concepts about modernity and concepts about what is the value of the traditional. In some communities, for example in Sikkim -  in the Northeast of India, after the earthquake, a lot of buildings were torn down immediately and replaced by concrete structures, even with concrete temples placed on top of old structures.

But now there is a move among certain architects from the region to run awareness campaigns in villages to save damaged traditional structures that have not yet been torn down. Often it is also a matter of creating awareness among communities and sometimes we also get a request to support these awareness campaigns.”

With this in mind it would make sense to work on awareness campaigns in regions prone to natural disasters before the disaster actually strikes?

“We support a number of activities; one is very practical; we support trainings for disaster intervention teams in different countries which are organised together with the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) in Rome. People get trained knowing the specific context of their country. Afterwards they go back to their country and set up their own teams and train them. People are trained on how to respond if disaster strikes depending on the different context of their country, for instance flood or earthquake prone, and also the type of heritage – museums, collections or archives. In certain places disaster will strike, we know that, we just don’t know when. This is the very practical side we work with. On the other hand, as I mentioned before, we get requests to support awareness campaigns.”

Who are your partners in Asia?

“Where possible we always try to work with local partners. Sometimes the local partners work with non-local involvement but very often it is purely local. In Indonesia for example we work with the Indonesian Heritage Trust. They have around 80 local branches on the different islands and can be very fast with a damage assessment mission when something happens. Because of our ongoing collaboration they know exactly how we work and we can move very fast, which is key. We also have a very good partner in Burma who has been involved in our work for some time and has also taken part in one of the trainings in Rome. We have a very trusted partner whom we work with in the whole Himalaya region and a very trusted partner in Nepal, the Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust (KVPT). These partners are our direct link to these countries. They are the ones who go in and do the work. In many countries we already have strong partnerships but we are of course trying to develop them further and also our networks all across the world.”

Can you identify any main challenges despite the diversity of projects you are working on?

“It is very important to listen to the communities, so that one sees how they value their heritage, what heritage they value and not to impose one’s definitions of what is a monument, what is heritage, what is valuable from the outside. It is definitely also very important for the locals to be taking the initiative and to be fully involved in the action. Creating awareness is essential, but again the campaigns that work best are local campaigns to create awareness of the value of certain heritage. For the emergency response it is important to act very quickly in order to save whatever can be saved; the investment of larger sums of money and bigger interventions will need to take place later. Initially it is important to put a roof on the building so that the murals can be saved, evacuate archives etc.”

And a last question – are there any other organisations that lead on similar programmes?

“No, we are the only one; to our great surprise. We try to convince other organisations, humanitarian organisations as well as cultural organisations to pick this up. There is much more to be done than we can do and it is also important to realise that

“saving heritage, which is important to the local community in times of great distress and disaster, really helps the community to survive, to reconstruct itself in order to want to keep going; this is an extremely important component.  It is about much more than just saving a structure. It really has to do with the survival of a community and giving meaning to a situation.”

 

Ulla-Alexandra Mattl is Director of The Castalian Pool, a not-for-profit organisation with a focus on furthering cultural and political development through projects and initiatives. She is also the EU Correspondent for the Artsmanagement Network. Ulla is specialised in cultural co-operation and cultural relations with a special interest in Asia-Europe co-operation. She holds an MA in Cultural Policy and Arts Management from City University London and an MA in Finno-Ugric Studies and French with focus on Sociolinguistic. Follow her on Twitter: @uajm and @castalianpool

 

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Interview with: Makiko Yamaguchi, Director of the Tokyo Culture Creation Projecthttp://culture360.asef.org/magazine/interview-with-makiko-yamaguchi-director-of-the-tokyo-culture-creation-project/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=interview-with-makiko-yamaguchi-director-of-the-tokyo-culture-creation-project http://culture360.asef.org/magazine/interview-with-makiko-yamaguchi-director-of-the-tokyo-culture-creation-project/#comments Wed, 05 Mar 2014 07:43:48 +0000 Herman Bashiron Mendolicchio http://culture360.asef.org/?p=40118

culture360 contributor Herman Bashiron Mendolicchio interviews Makiko Yamaguchi from the Tokyo Culture Creation Project to find out more about her perspective on "internationalisation" through arts, culture and creativity.  Read More

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tokyoccp

culture360 contributor Herman Bashiron Mendolicchio interviews Makiko Yamaguchi from the Tokyo Culture Creation Project to find out more about her perspective on “internationalisation” through arts, culture and creativity.

  1. Could you please introduce the “Tokyo Culture Creation Project” and tell us about its main aims and activities?

Tokyo Culture Creation Project started in April 2008 to disseminate the culture of Tokyo in and outside Japan and to establish Tokyo as a city of global cultural creativity. The Project itself is organised by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture in cooperation with arts and cultural organisations as well as NPOs.
The Project facilitates the involvement of a larger number of people in creativity, by building foundations for cultural projects across the city and by offering opportunities for creative experiences to children and young people. Additionally, it creates and disseminates Tokyo’s “new culture” globally by organising international festivals and other type of events.

There are four categories in our project:

  • Festival
  • Kids/Youth
  • Artpoint
  • Networking
  1. One of your main aims is focused on creating cultural diversity and establish the city of Tokyo as a vital hub for international networking. What do you do to fulfil these goals?

We implement “Tokyo Creative Weeks” since 2011, covering all of our projects in four categories each autumn.  In the category Networking we put together an international conference on “Culture and Social Innovation” and also initiate the “International Visitors Programme”.

  1. The “International Visitors Programme” is a very interesting project. Could you please tell us more about it?

This is an annual programme which started in 2011. We invite 10 young professionals from various fields and countries to experience the actual cultural scenes of Tokyo and come into contact with their Japanese peers and build a network.  We do not focus on one genre or one issue, to ensure that the team is always diverse and open. We want them to write articles or blogs to report about their experience or inform their colleagues within their own network. We also seek to extend their participation in this programme to future cultural/artistic cooperation or project.

  1. Do you think that mobility and exchange are important for artists and cultural operators? If so, why?

Definitely yes – even if digitalisation and highly developed information technology allow us to communicate without moving or meeting and help usovercome geographic distances. Maybe because of this, we have to meet face to face in order to find a common “language“ and build toward a faithful relationship which are both important and basic elements for collaborative work.

  1. What is your internationalisation strategy? What kind of partnerships, networks and international collaborations are you currently developing?

Japan is still insular, I mean in its mentality, and I have the impression that there are very few people even in the field of arts and culture who know or are convinced of the importance of international networking.  Not just in order to “sell” or “buy” a production or for scouting artists for example, but to build a sustainable relationship that is not bi-lateral but multi-lateral. To do that, we must try to have better environments for arts and culture, and maybe a better society. This is something that interests me a lot.

To go in this direction, our international visitors programme is a very tiny step to approach diverse experts in various fields. However I think it is necessary and requires a long time, so we need to be very patient.  It is important for me to find the people or organisations that act in an interdisciplinary and multilateral way. With them, I can share a “language” to work with.

There is a very interesting experiment now in Japan – ONPAM or the Open Network for Performing Arts Management, a non-hierarchical structure which started last February and is accessible outside Japan. This could be a good example of a cultural network today.

  1. What is your vision for the future?

Mobility should be developed within Asian countries, and networking programmes should not need to be referred to as being “international”, that aspect should be inherent and self-evident to the nature of the programme itself.

The post Interview with: Makiko Yamaguchi, Director of the Tokyo Culture Creation Project appeared first on culture360.asef.org.

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