The FIELD MEETING: Participating Art Professionals

Asian Contemporary Art Week (ACAW)
Jul 10, 2014 7:38PM

In anticipation of the FIELD MEETING scheduled for October 26 and 27, 2014, when some of today’s most prolific artists and art-professionals working in Asia and beyond will gather and take center stage, the curatorial team presents a series of special feature posts on Asian Contemporary Art Week’s Artsy page to contextualize the participants’ diverse practices and propositions. The selection of excerpts of videos and texts below offers a first look into the still growing line-up of art professionals through their own projects and words. 

Ava ANSARI (Tehran & New York)

“Iran is a country of over seventy-five million people, of diverse ethnicities, who speak many dialects. The foundation of the Back Room’s city-to-city programming in Iran is based on honoring this ethnic and cultural diversity, while working against the tendency for Iran’s artistic activities to be defined by the salient trends in the capital, Tehran. We are interested in exchanging artistic concerns and investigating potentially shared threads amongst different cities within the country. This approach attempts to fill voids of understanding—which are deepening due to lack of support for independent research, an absence of reliable statistics, the censorship of the press and educational material, and economic strains—with direct conversations. I believe artists and writers have a role to play in examining the present and positing alternate futures.” (Source: New Museum blog)

Video: Subway, 2011, an interactive work by Ava Ansari in collaboration with Andrew Quitmeyer and the Digital World and Image Group. 

Bavand BEHPOOR (Shiraz, Munich & London)

“We art historians run the same risk when speaking about Iranian contemporary art: the risk of officially denying the existence of those who officially do not exist. We speak on their behalf, framing them in terms of our audience’s discourse. That is probably why we prepare different sets of texts, with the best of intentions, for different types of audience and are reluctant to translate any of them. We try to show how progressive Iranian art is in addressing issues that matter—but to whom?” (Source: Nafas Art Magazine)

Umer BUTT (Dubai)

Caption: Installation view of “I guess that dreams are always there,” May 10 – June 30, 2014, at Grey Noise gallery, Dubai. Image source.

Kris ERCUMS (Kansas)  

“When Chen Shaoxiong first visited the Spencer Museum in August of 2011, the entire world had been ignited by any number of social movements happening across the globe. The more discussions we had the more his interests returned to a serious investigation into the dynamics of social activism. The project took shape to take advantage of the scholarly expertise of a university setting. In this way, we began to discuss a collaborative project that would dissect the anatomy of a protest. It would look more at the nuts and bolts of a demonstration, and dwell less on the ideological or political motivations. In this way we wanted to better understand the basic structures of social movements as contemporary phenomena.” – Kris Ercums on his curatorial process for “Prepared: Strategies for Activists,” A project by Chen Shaoxiong, William T. Kemper Foundation International Artist-in-Residence, 2012. (Source: Spencer Museum of Art)

Caption: Installation view of “Prepared: Strategies for Activits,” Spencer Museum of Art, The University of Kansas, April 11 – July 22, 2012. Image source.

Ceren ERDEM​​ (New York)

“We shared our food, built up our library, and seeded our new garden. We slept, cooked, and cleaned together. We were tear-gassed together. Local media, with only a few exceptions, either avoided the protest or preferred to show it as a menace to society. However, while Erdoğan turned the police into his own army, their disproportionate violence was met with disproportionate intelligence. Resistance took different forms, from reading books to the police to playing guitar in front of water cannons. Stencils and spray-painted texts of humorous political satire filled the walls. As people insisted on being peaceful and unarmed, facing with this unknown format of protests, the police, acting on Erdoğan’s behalf, got more violent. The stronger they attacked, the stronger our connections became.” – Geren Erdem on the Gezi Uprising and Beyond, July 17, 2013. (Source: Walker Art Center blog)

Caption: Installation detail: Stephanie Syjuco, FREE TEXTS: An Open Source Reading Room, 2001-ongoing, installation with tear-tab flyers, binders, furniture, in exhibition “Private Matters,” curated by Ceren Erdem, Jaime Schwartz, and Lisa Hayes Williams at apexart, NYC, January 16 - March 1, 2014. Image source.

Farah WARDANI​ (Jogjakarta)

“Nevertheless, being an ‘artist’ or art worker has remained more or less attached to having a certain position in society midway between elitism and cultural activism. ST Sunardi, an academic from Sanata Dharma University, Yogyakarta, describes the position of the artist as one that oscillates between ‘God’ and ‘Pariah (Untouchables)’, that is, artists occupy a position that lies outside the system of the lay public; they are often marginalized, yet at the same time privileged as creators or drivers of culture whose works are considered to possess a certain historical or symbolic value.” (Source: Farah Wardani Archive)

Also explore Farah Wardani's presentation on the Indonesian Visual Art Archive (IVAA) at the Speak, Memory symposium at Rawabet Theater, Cairo, 28 - 30 October 2010. (Source:

Craig YEE​ (Seattle & Beijing)

Caption: Installation view of “Zheng Chongbin: Impulse, Matter, Form” at Ink Studio, Beijing, May 26, 2013 – August 4, 2013. Image source.

Video: Craig Yee joins distinguished panelists for a discussion on "The New Ink" at the China Symposium, Armory Show, March 8-9, 2014.

Please stay tuned for upcoming series of posts and in-depth features on individual participants of the Field Meeting. More participating art professionals will also be announced. 

Asian Contemporary Art Week (ACAW)