2015 Para Site International Conference

Oct 06 – Oct 08, 2015

Sunbeam Theatre/ 新光戲院大劇場
423 King's Road
North Point

Para Site is proud to present the 2015 edition of its International Conference, a major three-day gathering in Hong Kong of practitioners from around the world, discussing developments in contemporary art exhibition making and the roles and responsibilities these formats have imagined for themselves in the context of today's world. Together with this year's conference, Para Site is launching a new educational programme, a week-long series of workshops conceived for a group of emerging professionals from across the region and the world.

Speakers at the conference include: Magali Arriola (art critic and independent curator, Mexico City), Osei Bonsu (independent curator and writer, London), Clara Cheung (curator and artist, co-founder of C&G Artpartment, Hong Kong), Freya Chou (Curator of Education and Public Programmes at Para Site), Cosmin Costinas (Executive Director/Curator at Para Site), Diedrich Diederichsen (author, music journalist, and cultural critic, Berlin), Iris Dressler (Co-director of the Wuerttembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart), Hendrik Folkerts (Curator of documenta 14, Kassel), Mariam Ghani (artist, filmmaker, writer, and teacher, New York), Chitti Kasemkitvatana (artist and independent curator, Bangkok), Abdellah Karroum (Director at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha), Vasif Kortun (Director of Research and Programs at SALT, Istanbul), Anders Kreuger (Curator at M HKA, the Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp), Brian Kuan Wood (writer and editor of e-flux journal, New York), Christina Li (curator and writer, Director at Spring Workshop, Hong Kong/Amsterdam), Raimundas Malašauskas (writer and curator, member of the faculty of 2016 Liverpool Biennial, Brussels), Simon Soon (writer and curator, Kuala Lumpur), Vuth Lyno (artist, curator, researcher, and artistic director for Sa Sa Art Projects, Phnom Penh), Xiaoyu Weng (The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Associate Curator of Chinese Art at the Solomon. R. Guggenheim Museum, New York), Chantal Wong (Head of Strategy and Special Projects at Asia Art Archive and co-founder of Things That Can Happen, Hong Kong), and Yeung Yang (curator, writer, and founder and executive director of soundpocket, Hong Kong).
Building on the tradition of Para Site's annual international conferences as a space for debating issues of relevance for our field and its artistic and intellectual tools for engagement with the world, this year's edition asks some fundamental questions about current positions taken by exhibitions. It looks at the various roles that exhibitions are ascribed, proposing four distinct, though sometimes overlapping, modes of conceiving exhibitions, each giving the title to a section in the conference. "Exhibitions as part of the economy of artistic production" looks at exhibitions primarily as necessary steps in the economy of the contemporary art system, as sites that help bring to life artistic production in a post-studio practice economy. This understanding emphasizes curatorial practice as a supporting and accompanying position to the artist. The section "exhibitions as autonomous fictional realms" describes those curatorial undertakings that create spaces of fiction, legislating their own conventions within their time and space coordinates and instituting an original contract with the audience about the rules of that space. A separation between reality and the realm invented by the exhibition is clearly marked. This mode of exhibition-making has often employed terms like poetics in recent times, and abstraction in previous ones to describe its strategy. "Exhibitions as tools for writing history" see themselves as generators of narratives to be circulated in the wider public world, as producers of historiographies that include and expand beyond the history of art into the various fields that art has been laying a claim of interpretation, in a process that has often been called knowledge production. Lastly, "exhibitions as sites for direct political action" see their political role as a more or less defined objective, to be achieved through affecting relations of power within the exhibition itself, within the institution hosting it, or within the political sphere it is able to engage with, or even more directly by shaping narratives and actions of consequence in the broadest of all public arenas. Curators, artists, and scholars are invited to debate these scenarios departing from exhibitions or curatorial practices by third parties which they consider crucial in one way or another.

The workshops for emerging professionals taking place between October 5–11 mark the beginning of a new educational commitment by Para Site. The inaugural group of participants was selected from an outstanding international pool of applicants. The programme is designed to provide learning opportunities mediated by speakers from Para Site's conference as well as by art practitioners from across Hong Kong's diverse institutional landscape. Working with the topics covered in conference, the programme provides a laboratory for experimentation, posing fundamental questions and ideas that challenge various models of curatorial practice.

The participants of the 2015 Workshops for Emerging Professionals include Leo Li Chen (Hong Kong/Shenzhen), Beatrice Grenier (New York), Nicole Yuen Lai (Hong Kong), Sipei Liu (Leicester/Guangzhou), Shona Mei Findlay (Singapore), Sara Pereira da Silva (Washington DC), Chang Qu (Shenzhen), Carlos Quijon, Jr. (Manila), Judha Su (Bangkok), Xue Tan (Hong Kong), Eunice Tsang (Hong Kong), and Binghao Wong (Singapore).

The 2015 edition of Para Site International Conference is hosted by the legendary Sunbeam Theatre/新光戲院大劇場, the main venue for Cantonese opera in Hong Kong and an institution that has been at the heart of the city's culture and politics in the past half a century. 

The conference is free of charge to the public.

Live streaming is available during the Conference, and video documentation will be published online after the event.

Please visit Para Site's Website at www.para-site.org.hk.

Simultaneous translation to Cantonese will be provided on site.

Conference program:

Tuesday, October 6, 14–19.30h
"Exhibitions as part of the economy of artistic production"
Anders Kreuger, Weng Xiaoyu, Chantal Wong, Abdellah Karroum
Moderated by Freya Chou

"Exhibitions as autonomous fictional realms"
Magali Arriola, Chitti Kasemkitvatana, Brian Kuan Wood, Raimundas Malašauskas
Moderated by Christina Li

Wednesday, October 7, 14–19.30h
"Exhibitions as tools for writing history"
Iris Dressler, Simon Soon, Osei Bonsu, Mariam Ghani
Moderated by Cosmin Costinas

"Exhibitions as sites for direct political action"
Vuth Lyno, Clara Cheung, Hendrik Folkerts, Vasif Kortun
Moderated by Yeung Yang

Thursday, October 8, 14–19.30h
Plenary sessions
Lecture by Diedrich Diederichsen (18h)

Sponsored by Asian Art Hong Kong and supported by the Consulate General of Sweden, Hong Kong.
Special thanks to Spring Workshop and Goethe-Institut Hong Kong.

Para Site is Hong Kong's leading contemporary art centre and one of the oldest and most active independent art institutions in Asia. It produces exhibitions, publications, and discursive projects aimed at forging a critical understanding of local and international phenomena in art and society.

Para Site fully supports the democratic aspirations of the people of Hong Kong.

Para Site is financially supported by the Springboard Grant under the Arts Capacity Development Funding Scheme of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

The content of this activity does not reflect the views of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.


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Response from the audience

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Plenary Sessions

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Plenary Sessions

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Plenary Sessions

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Participants of the Workshop for Emerging Professionals present their exhibition proposals 

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The Workshop for Emerging Professionals visiting Things That Can Happen

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Workshop participants at 100FT. PARK 

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Workshop session at C&G Artpartment

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Visit and workshop session at Asia Art Archive

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Visit and workshop session at Asia Art Archive

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Visiting Videostage and Frog King's Studio in Cattle Depot

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Visiting the Central Police Station

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Workshop led by Anders Kreuger