Asian Design: Histories, Collecting, Curating is an evening of talks and panel discussions resulting from a workshop organised by M+. The discussion brings together leading international scholars and curators to explore the shifting parameters, and their conceptual and methodological implications, of historicising, collecting and curating Asian Design.
Asian Design: Histories, Collecting, Curating | M+ Matters
As M+ prepares to build the first museum collection of design and architecture of its kind, what are the local-global issues, multiple narratives and cross-disciplinary approaches that need to be considered?
On "Asian Design: Histories, Collecting, Curating" - Aric Chen, Curator (Design and Architecture), M+
Naming this discussion "Asian Design: Histories, Collecting, Curating" was in some ways a provocative choice given that, in the first place, it's unclear exactly what "Asian design" means. As with all constructs, any conclusions we draw in attempting to define the term will be unavoidably insufficient and incomplete. However, what we can be certain of is that the design and architecture collection at M+ will examine Asian design by placing it at the core and centre of broader narratives — within the context of global frameworks, surely, but not as being peripheral to them, as more orthodox design histories might have it.
This seemingly simple position elicits complex questions. These range in nature from the chronological, geographical and methodological parameters we ought to explore in determining what we mean by Asian design — indeed, what we mean by "Asian" and "design" separately — to how we address the competing taxonomies and conceptions of modernity, history, aesthetics, culture and identity that can simultaneously aid us as tools and obstruct us with outdated biases. In general, we intend to adopt an approach based not on imposition, but rather extraction — on framing and reframing what can be excavated, observed and predicted about design and architecture from our vantage point in Hong Kong, China and Asia, and within a contemporary, global condition. What's more, we are doing so within a multidisciplinary museum that is building a collection at a time when museums must reconsider, while still respecting, established distinctions between fields of inquiry, and even between the physical and virtual.
It goes without saying that ours is an ambitious task that, like culture itself, can never be considered finished or complete. But we can start, and in this respect, we are extremely fortunate and grateful to have a diverse array of leading scholars, curators and thinkers from around the world come to Hong Kong to share their insights with us, their locally-based peers and the public for "Asian Design: Histories, Collecting, Curating." This will be only the first of many discussions to come about Asian design (or should we say "design in and from Asia"?). We invite you to continue to engage with us as we begin to formulate what design and architecture at M+ will be, and how this knowledge can serve our communities.
On M+ MATTERS - Dr Lars Nittve, Executive Director, M+
Inaugurating with "Asian Design: Histories, Collecting, Curating", M+ Matters is a series of workshop-symposiums organised by M+, the new museum for visual culture that will be a centrepiece of the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong.
As a resource for Hong Kong, its people and creative communities, M+ will be a different kind of institution. Our aim is to not only develop a world-class permanent collection and high-calibre programming, but to do so by taking a multidisciplinary approach — encompassing art, design, architecture and the moving image — that tells the stories of visual culture from a Hong Kong perspective, with a global vision, extending out towards the rest of China, Asia and beyond.
M+ Matters is just one of the many efforts M+ is undertaking in the lead-up to the museum building's completion in 2018. Through this platform, we will explore critical issues with key players in the fields of visual art, design, architecture and the moving image as we hone our curatorial and acquisitions frameworks, while welcoming the public to participate in the discourse. We look forward to many lively, productive and thought-provoking discussions to come.