May 19, 2011

dia/projects one year


t's been over a year, and I suppose the good thing is that the activity in the space hasn't left me time to concentrate on the blog. And Facebook apparently still remains the main mode of mass communication despite the patchy issues with FB in Vietnam. Anyhow, I've prepared a little pdf to provide a glimpse of some of the activities over the past year, which you can download below.

+ Scribd. Dia/Projects.pdf
+ Facebook. Dia/Projects (new open group format)

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December 15, 2010

dia/projects is live

dia/projects is live

t's been almost a year since my last post. To be fair, it's a been a busy year. dia/projects has been running for almost as long as in our short time going we've engaged in a number of interesting projects and initiatives that has us finally on some solid ground. I've been using Facebook as the primary vehicle to communicate and the group page is located at:

Facebook: dia/projects

227 Street 9a, Level 4
Khu Trung Son, Binh Chanh District
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

dia/projects is a small space for culture and ideas, expanding a conversation about contemporary art in Southeast Asia and beyond. Self-described as a contemporary art experiment -- bringing together artists, designers, architects, theorists, urbanists, curators, historians, performers and general outsiders into fold. It's a discursive space for ideas and discussion, there's no regular programming. We have an library with over 1,200 titles spanning art, architecture, design, philosophy and theory, and special sections on cultures in Southeast Asia. We also have a small but growing contemporary arts archive divided by country and free wifi connectivity for visitors.

Currently, we have Mervin Espina from Manila as Researcher-in-Residence investigating micro-cinemas in Southeast Asia (in July, Vipash Purichanont of Bangkok and MFA student at the School of the Art Institute Chicago, was our first resident, looking at contemporary art practices in the Mekong subregion). Partnering with the International Centre for Art and New Technologies (CIANT) in Prague and the Trondheim Electronic Art Centre (TEKS), we conducted a series of workshops and events last summer spanning Vietnam, The Czech Republic and Norway in a project called New Technologies for Sustainable Development (NTSD).

Local architect Dang Ha Vi traveled to Japan as a part of the Japan Foundation's JENESYS 'East Asia Future Leaders Programme 2010' in connection with dia/projects' developing platform VUI (Vietnam Urban Issues).

Currently, we're planning new projects for 2011. Fingers crossed. Come by for a coffee and a chat. As a New Year's resolution, I'll try and be more diligent about posting.


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January 10, 2010

dia/projects: coming soon


all it the seven-year itch. In as many years in this city, I'm finally making a go at a dedicated space. DIA/PROJECTS will serve primarily as my studio, and be a semi-public contemporary arts space with a library and archive, and a planned framework for a series of personally selected and commissioned artworks by visiting artists produced in Ho Chi Minh City.

6 meters wide. 20 meters long. 3 meter high ceilings, sunshine-o-plenty and a nice breeze.

Curators will no longer have to bear looking at drying undergarments in my room. No more meetings in noisy coffee shops. Yessir! I'm going to have my very own studio, and if you're wondering, i can barely afford it. I'll be working on getting the space into shape during Tet and will hopefully be inviting guests over by March.

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October 7, 2009

SMU - ASEAN Artists Residency Programme


actile Text
Singapore Management University (SMU)
LKCSB Seminar Room 2.5 (Room 2012)
Friday, October 9, 2009
1 - 4:30 PM

Continuing on some of the experimental work being done for my Concept Development course at RMIT University Vietnam, I've decided to expand the visualizing information exercise into an arts workshop during my arts residency at the Singapore Management University.

Beginning with the poetry of Singaporean writer Cyril Wong, workshop participants will interrogate the text for information and inspiration that will carry on into the development of art projects. Given the short time frame of the workshop, it will be extremely condensed and I don't know what to expect. I suppose that we could develop prototypes and sketches for art works that might be realized later and/or devise scripts for performing the text.


On Saturday, I'll be giving a presentation on some recent projects including The Mekong at the Asia Pacific Triennial.

Welcome to the Jungle, Jim!
An artist talk by R. Streitmatter-Tran
Singapore Management University (SMU)
Seminar Room 3 (Room 3005)
School of Accountancy/School of Law
Saturday, October 10, 2009
1 - 2:30 PM

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August 31, 2009

Asia Pacific Triennial (APT6)

'APT6' Exhibition | Zhu Weibing, Ji Wenyu | People holding flowers (detail) 2007 | The Kenneth and Yasuko Myer Collection of Contemporary Asian Art. Purchased 2008 with funds from Michael Simcha Baevski through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

For the last year Queensland Art Gallery curator Russell Storer and I have been collaboratively developing a special platform for the latest Asia Pacific Triennial, it's 6th incarnation, launching this December in Brisbane, Australia. Simply called The Mekong, the project looks at connections among the Greater Mekong Subregion nations: Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar - some transnational, others culturally specific, and others imagined.

I'll be writing more on the Mekong project, but a quick description of the project can be found on the QAG website, and is pasted here below:

The Mekong
Artists: Bùi Công Khánh, Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba, Pich Sopheap, Manit Sriwanichpoom, Svay Ken, Tun Win Aung & Wah Nu, Vandy Rattana
Co-organised by Rich Streitmatter-Tran (Vietnam) and Russell Storer (Curator, Contemporary Asian art, Queensland Art Gallery)

The Mekong River is one of the longest rivers in Asia, running from its source in China, through the countries of Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Difficult to navigate, the Mekong has historically formed connections, as well as a border, between the peoples who live along its course. In recent years, with the growth of trade and investment, the development of roads and other communication networks and increased migration and exchanges of people, information and ideas, the region has become more integrated than ever before. The Mekong platform within APT6 presents a vivid, multi-layered view of a complex and rapidly transforming region, a place that is becoming increasingly prominent culturally, politically and economically. Key themes include changing societies and cultures, including tensions between tradition and modernity, and between Buddhist teachings and Western values. The shifting dynamics of nationhood and how this impacts on individuals and society is another concern for artists. The presentation will feature a range of media, including painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography and video.

Asia Pacific Triennial (APT6)
A general description of the Asia Pacific Triennial (also taken from the QAG site):

'The 6th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art' (APT6) will profile new commissions and recent work by more than 100 artists and filmmakers from over 25 countries across the region.

APT6 will include for the first time contemporary artists from North Korea (DPRK), Iran, Turkey, Tibet, Cambodia and Myanmar (Burma). Australian artists presented in APT6 are the Philippines-born, Brisbane-based husband-and-wife team Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan; the Melbourne collective DAMP; Raafat Ishak (Melbourne); and Tracey Moffatt, who lives and works in New York and on the Sunshine Coast.

APT6 will include three groundbreaking presentations: The Mansudae Art Studio project, co-curated with filmmaker Nicholas Bonner (UK/China), the first presentation in Australia of contemporary art from North Korea (DPRK); Pacific Reggae, co-curated with broadcaster Brent Clough (NZ/Australia), showcasing for the first time music and music video by reggae artists from Hawai'i, the Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Australia; and The Mekong, co-curated with artist Rich Streitmatter-Tran (Vietnam), featuring painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography and video from Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar (Burma).

Internationally acclaimed directors Ang Lee (Taiwan/USA), Rithy Panh (Cambodia/France) and Takeshi Kitano (Japan) are the filmmakers to be featured in the Australian Cinémathèque at the Gallery of Modern Art.

QAG: The Mekong
QAG: The Asia Pacific Triennial (APT6)

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June 1, 2009

Terrain of the Real Fake

Terrain of the Real Fake
y recent photo installation at the Singapore Art Museum, as a part of the TransportAsian exhibition.
Richard Streitmatter-Tran
The Jungle Book - The Terrain of the Real Fake
Photo installation, 2009

The pair of photographs contribute to an ongoing series of works called The Jungle Books. A long-term project, borrowing its name from Rudyard Kipling's famous collection of stories, is basically a conceptual framework for art works that speak to life in the Mekong sub-region. Each work will draw inspiration and information from diverse sources and issues such as early colonial travelogues and fiction, early anthropology, the natural sciences, popular culture and tabloid trash, current news, local beliefs and mythologies and politics.

In this series, we find the endangered Giant Mekong Catfish washed ashore and expired as the people come to term with the unexpected arrival of a big problem. In the other photograph, Vietnam's first ever satellite has returned home, smoldering as people gaze upon the symbol of national ambition from the safety of their homes.

While the series speaks to the fluidity between fact and fiction, the photographs are fictions themselves, composited using 3D models. No attempt is made to be convincing. The artifice is to be celebrated.
Also, Gilles Massot (LaSalle College of the Arts) and I delivered a short artist presentation titled "Constructed Images: Simulacra in Southeast Asia) on May 29th. He brought up an interesting point that if the ecological conservation of the Mekong is not taken seriously, the Giant Mekong Catfish, like the Tasmanian tiger, will soon be as much a fiction as the photograph, and people will be flocking to Mekong theme parks to take photos and buy stuffed animals of the catfish, then existing solely as a simulacrum.

Terrain of the Real Fake (Satellite)

Terrain of the Real Fake (Giant Mekong Catfish)

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May 26, 2009

Singapore Art Museum and Ifa Gallery, Shanghai

will be exhibiting work in the next days in the TransportAsian exhibition at the Singapore Art Museum and the Ifa Gallery in Shanghai, both opening on May 30th.


Artists: Nguyen Minh Phuoc, Nguyen Quang Huy, Nguyen Anh Tuan, Le Huy Hoang, Pham Ngoc Duong, Hoang Duong Cam, R. Streitmatter-Tran. Curated by Marie Terrieux

Title: A Snapshot of Contemporary Vietnamese Art
Venue: Ifa Gallery, Shanghai
Dates: 30 May - 20 July, 2009
Vernissage: 30 May 3-8pm


Artists: Shannon Castelman, Chun Kai Qun, Chua Chye Tec, John Clang, Xavi Comas, Mark R. Kauffmann, Dominic Khoo, Ko Aung, Tung Mai, Nge Lay, Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba, Rich Streitmatter-Tran, Samantha Tio, Francis Ng, Gilles Massot and students from Lasalle Faculty of Fine Arts. Curated by Patricia Levasseur.

Title: TransportAsian
Venue: Singapore Art Museum
Dates: 30 May - 11 August, 2009
Vernissage: 30 May 6pm

TransportAsian is a photography exhibition featuring works of artists from Southeast Asia.

The fusion of themes Transport and Asia presents a delightful array of works documenting the history of transportation. It also showcases each photographer's interpretation and metaphorical explorations of the theme. It is divided into four focuses in photography: Time, Space, Action and Fiction.

Vistors will be invited to experience a new perspective of photography that uses various surfaces, materials and even techniques. TransportAsian boasts works in media including prints, installations and multimedia.

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May 15, 2009

Time Ligaments, 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, HK

Time Ligaments

IME LIGAMENTS - Contemporary Vietnamese Artists
Exhibition dates: 14 May-16 August, 2009
Venue: 10 Chancery Lane Gallery ART PROJECTS and ANNEX
Chai Wan Industrial City Phase One, 6/F, 60 Wing Tai Road, Chai Wan, Hong Kong

Participating Artists:
Khanh Cong Bui, Tiffany Chung, Phu Nam Thuc Ha, Christine Nguyen, Thi Trinh Nguyen,
Tuan Andrew Nguyen, Tuan Thai Nguyen, Tu Duc Nguyen, Rich Streitmatter-Tran

Co-curated by Dinh Q. Lê and Zoe Butt in cooperation with San Art, Ho Chi Minh City

Circulating within our image-burdened world are creative wanderers that ponder the vestiges of mediated fact and control -- the crumbling layers of paint on government walls; the memory of a burning, martyred monk; the quasi-morphing of local habit with the experiential remnants of a 'European Elsewhere' -- these itinerant image makers of Vietnam contort such hidden shifts into concrete form in Time Ligaments.

In this exhibition nine perspectives grapple with the persisting memories of a country where the past stubbornly lingers in the literal and mental landscape of the everyday. Their stories traverse the experience of migration and return; the metamorphosis of popular foreign trend with local custom; the stymied struggle of resistance against historical ideas of social control; or the increasing urban dilettante whose material desires lay waste to their history and surroundings. Time is schizophrenically warped in the photographically paused moments of Tu Duc Nguyen, while Phu Nam Thuc Ha's lens captures the surfaces of crumbling government walls marveling at how time is the nascent agent of change. In Tuan Thai Nguyen's careful paintings, where working life holds hostage to ideas of individual social worth, a crouching headless figure dressed in office garb faces a corner of an empty room. Such psychological influence of a neo-liberal world is also of great import in the gouache rendered drawings of Khanh Cong Bui and the conceptual sculptures of Tuan Andrew Nguyen, where ideas of deterioration and control are given broader metaphorical context in examining how the tools of a game operate as political strategy in pacifying conflict and terror, not just in Vietnam.

This is but a brief glance of the layered complex narratives in this exhibition where nine provocative artists will be showcased through painting, video, photography, sculptural installation and works on paper.

Title: Lao Tzu Dreams of the LHC (2009)
Lao Tzu Dreams of the LHC
Sculpture. Stainless steel, copper, brass

The installation began with an observation of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest and most expensive scientific endeavor to date. The LHC is a particle accelerator whose mission is to replicate the conditions of the universe during the first fractions of a second of the Big Bang, and to validate our current models explaining the nature of reality. Particular components of the LHC appear strangely similar in form to the Ba Qua mirrors used in Feng Shui geomancy found throughout Asia that aim to properly align natural forces. Both the LHC and the Ba Qua mirrors aim to harness and understand the power of nature and yet are tools separated by thousands of years.

Some of most recent observations of the quantum world are also very close to descriptions found in the ancient texts, such as the I Ching (Book of Changes) and the Tao Te Ching, such as the fundamental nature of all things being movement and change. The number 8 has for long been considered lucky and primary to the Chinese as the trigrams represents all possible human and cosmic interactions. Eight has also become fundamental to our modern conditions, as the number has become the cornerstone of the binary code of our digital world (for example, 8, 32, 64-bit), and it has extended beyond into other areas of thought such as the 8-fold path in Buddhism.

This installation reconsiders the unique relationship between ancient texts and the most advanced cutting-edge frontiers of science and wonders if both are the same, as if Lao Tzu had once dreamed of such an experiment.

For a parallel to the lesson of atomic theory... [we must turn] to those kinds of epistemological problems with which thinkers like Buddha and Lao Tzu have been confronted, when trying to harmonize our position as spectators and actors in the great drama of existence. - Neils Bohr, Atomic Physics and Human Knowledge.

LHC and Ba Qua
Similarities in visual form: The LHC and the Ba Qua

Work in progress

LHC faces
Work in progress. Completion of the polygonal faces

Time Ligaments Opening
Opening night at the 10 Chancery Lane Gallery Annex

View through the LHC
A view through the sculpture

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April 17, 2009

CET & RST Education Tour

Massachusetts College of Art, Boston

ver the last months, Chaw Ei and I were able to meet students and share our work in several cities including Boston, New York, Chicago, Providence, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore. It has also been a good opportunity to catch up with old friends and to meet new ones and foremost to remind ourselves of the pleasure of learning. We even attended an evening mold making workshop in New York and in the span of an hour learned more than days scouring books. Below are some images of some of the locations and people we've engaged.

School of the Art Institute Chicago (SAIC)
Chaw Ei shares her work with the performance art department at SAIC
Chaw Ei speaks about her work and performance art in Burma

Nora Taylor and Chaw Ei
Professor Nora Taylor of SAIC and Chaw Ei moments before her presentation

Northern Illinois University, DeKalb
Art presentation at NIU
Art Students from NIU DeKalb

Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston

North Hall at MassArt
North Hall at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Chaw Ei and I at MassArt speaking to the Studio for Interrelated Media
Sharing work with the Studio for Interrelated Media at MassArt

New York City
Chaw Ei at OSI
Chaw Ei delivers an art presentation at the Open Society Institute in New York.

Providence, Rhode Island
Chaw Ei at Brown University
Chaw Ei speaks at the International Writers Project at Brown University

Tokyo, Japan
kandada lecture
L-R: Mitsunori Sakano (Command-N), me, Naoko Horiuchi (Arts Initiative Tokyo)

Presentation at Kandada, as a part of the Regional Code Asia program and my exhibition.

Hong Kong
Para/site art curatorial students
I had the pleasure in April to work with a unique group of students with the Para/site curatorial program. Students enrolled in the Para/Site curators program presented and defended the concepts for their exhibitions-in-progress. A select team of international curators based in Asia shared their experience, critique and insight through a special platform utilizing Facebook.

The curatorial student team (Nana Seo, Kathy Lam Hoi Sin, Iris Lo and Evangelo Costadimas) will present their final exhibition, Feigned Innocence, at the Osage Gallery Kwun Tong in Hong Kong on May 29, 2009.

International Curators' Talk Series
International Curators' Talk Series: Public Lecture
"Curatorial engagements in the Mekong Subregion of the Southeast Asia"

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April 11, 2009

Upcoming work at Para/Site Art Space, Hong Kong

ParaSite logo.jpg
'm looking forward to working with the Para/Site Art Space in Hong Kong in a couple of days. I've been organizing a workshop for student's of Para/Site's curatorial program and I'm quite excited about the experiment. Students have for the last weeks been finalizing their exhibitions-in-progress and we'll be conducting what I'm referring to as a curatorial defense. The online experiment will attempt to leverage the new communications technologies to create an environment, similar to a masters thesis defense. Students will be uploading text and images that best communicates their curatorial concepts and organization. I've assembled a team of fantastic Asia-based curators that will be critiquing their projects.

The curatorial critics:
+ Russell Storer. Curator, Contemporary Asian Art. Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art. Brisbane, Australia
+ Zoe M. Butt. Deputy Director, Long March Space, Beijing, China
+ Joselina Cruz. Independent Curator. Manila, The Philippines
+ Biljana Ciric. Independent Curator. Shanghai, China
+ Simon Soon. Independent Curator. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+ Naoko Horiuchi. Curator. Arts Initiative Tokyo (AIT). Tokyo, Japan
+ Online facilitator: R. Streitmatter-Tran

I'm also now preparing my presentation as a part of the International Curator's Talk Series: I've posted below information from the Para/Site press release.

Public Lecture
"Curatorial Engagements in the Mekong Subregion of Southeast Asia"
by R. Streitmatter-Tran

Date: Friday 17 April 2009
Time: 7:30 PM
Venue: Room C01, Hong Kong Art Development Council
14/F, East Warwick House, Taikoo Place
979 King's Road Hong Kong
Limited Seats: 60

Para/Site Art Space is honored to present a Public Lecture by Rich Streitmatter-Tran, Co-curator with the Asia Pacific Triennial (APT6)

Streitmatter-Tran is going to introduce some of the conditions in the Mekong sub-region that affect contemporary art practices with a particular stress on the curator-artist relationship. He will draw upon his previous research with the Mediating the Mekong project, which is a connection to his current curatorial research with the development of a Mekong-based platform for the Asia Pacific Triennial. He will attempt to provide some insight from the perspective of an artist working with curators and what an artist might consider a "good curator" as opposed to an art critic, institution, and the public at large.

More info
+ Para/Site Art Space
+ Curatorial Engagements in the Mekong Subregion. Press Release. (PDF)

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March 11, 2009

No Sleep til Brooklyn


t's the same every year. Before Chinese New Year, I've nothing planned for the rest of the year. No exhibitions. No schedule. and Bam! Right after Tet, I'm shoveling food down the hatch with both hands. So, here's what the spring schedule is shaping up as:

March 12-April 12

NEW YORK: I'll be flying in to help CET gain her bearings in New York City where she is an artist in residency at ISCP with the Asian Cultural Council. We'll be staying in Chelsea while her studio space is located in Brooklyn. Most of our time will be spent familiarizing ourselves with the New York art community, meeting curators and friends, visiting galleries and museums, and sweating out work in the studio.

BOSTON: We must make the obligatory trip to my home city, Boston. Nothing solid planned but most likely making rounds to some schools, namely MassArt, The Museum School, Harvard and MIT. Spaces might include ICA Boston and the MFA. Hoping mainly to meet up with friends and colleagues. We might try and catch the Transcultural Exchange happening in Boston in early April.

CHICAGO: Chaw Ei has been invited to speak about her work at the School of the Art Institute (SAIC) and Northern Illiinois University at DeKalb. We'll be meeting Nora Taylor and other great folks in the city.

CAPE COD: We'll be heading to the Cape for some relaxation and to visit my family.

April 14-18
If things work out, I'll touch base in Vietnam for two days before departing to Hong Kong to work with Para/Site to deliver a presentation and workshop to students in arts curatorial studies. I hope also to connect with the good folks at the Asia Art Archive.


BRISBANE (April 22-27) I'll be meeting Queensland Art Gallery curator Russell Storer to discuss the Mekong-based platform that we are developing for the upcoming Asia Pacific Triennial (APT6) launching in December 2009.

MELBOURNE (April 27-May 2)
Engaged in meetings for RMIT University related activities. Hopefully we will also have an opportunity to see some arts personalities and spaces in Melbourne. We're up for suggestions!

May 7-17, 2009
Will be installing new work at an exhibition conceived by curator Zoe Butt (of the Long March Foundation) and artist Dinh Q. Le, of San Art, at the 10 Chancery Lane Gallery.

May 21-31, 2009
Installing new work at the TransportAsian photography exhibition at the Singapore Art Museum, curated by Patricia Levasseur.

Scheduling as dense as this isn't the norm for me. I have a semester off from classes at the RMIT University Vietnam for winning a teaching award. So, it's something like a sabbatical and it's my aim to accomplish and see as much as possible during the span of the few short months. Hopefully I'll have good internet access wherever I am, so I'll be receiving and responding to emails, and checking Facebook. The evolving schedule will always be posted on my dopplr account.

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February 27, 2009

Where There Is Left, Let There Be Right

Chapter in the Jungle Book Project

Over the last three years, Artist Initiative CommandN has coordinated and run a series of exhibitions: KANDADA/Project Collective, introducing a variety of art projects from Japan and overseas, with an objective to actively research the possibilities of interaction between contemporary art and local society. In 2008 this activity developed into a broader research project on artist-driven, independent art projects within Asia.

Chosen from amongst a number of organizations visited in this Asian research project, Richard Streitmatter-Tran from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, has been invited to KANDADA as a guest artist. He will present his work for the first time in Japan, and also appear as a panelist in an associated symposium. Having spent his early years in the USA, Richard is able to observe objectively the contemporary art scene in Vietnam and the states of the Mekong subregion. His activities can be said to be firmly rooted in his unique position as someone with one foot in the West and one in the East, and in his experience of living in both contrasting social regimes.

'"The Jungle Book" is a series of long-term investigations into fact and fictions from the Mekong region of Southeast Asia. Combing research and production, art works ranging from installation, photogrpahy, video and performance will be arranged as Chapters and cover subject as varied as feral children, maritime piracy, early anthropology and science. Playing off Rudyard Kipling's collection of short fantastical stories, I will be presenting work in progress at Kandada, using the space as a planning and idea room for disparate ideas relating to this interesting region of Asia.' - Richard Streitmatter-Tran
Traditional Burmese, Vietnamese and Cambodian motifs and tropes parachuted into a converted publishing warehouse in concrete Tokyo: 'Where There Is Left, Let There Be Right' gives viewers a whiff of the Mekong even while using mostly reconstructed ready-to-hand materials. You peer into a small aperture carved out of a cardboard "listening tree" to watch video footage of Mekong residents sailing down waterways (a traditional gesture of receptivity to embedded myths and history inspired in part by Tony Leung's pilgrimage to a listening tree at the ruins of Angkor Wat in the final scene of Wong Kar Wai's In The Mood For Love). In spite of its scrappy, low-budget aesthetic, the experience is transportative, recreating a moment of communion with a distant culture. - Darryl Wee, Tokyo Art Beat

Project Space Kandada
1/F Seikosha 3 - 9 Kandanishikicho
Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo
101 0054 Japan
Tel: 03 3518 6176

When: 13/2/2009 - 7/3/2009
Where: Project Space Kandada, Tokyo
Region: Asia/East
Country: Japan

Images of the residency and exhibition on-> flickr


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February 11, 2009

Kandada Art Space - Studio

t was a lot of work packed in for the two weeks studio residency. We conceived and created 5 new works spanning sculpture, installation, architecture and video. Here's a short video taken by Masato Nakamura and Mitsunori Sakano during one our days in the studio.

I'll be uploading information on the exhibition over the next days.

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December 28, 2008

Design for the Real World

RMIT students present the work of Chaz Maviyane-Davies

n 2002, I made a decision to drop graphic design from my double major in college. It was an inevitable decision and one a long time in the making. I had become cynical about the relationship between design and greed. I was too much of an idealist then, writing design manifesto's for change within the curriculum. Of course, radical change would never happen and I decided to leave. I would focus on other passions in contemporary art. Yet the language of design, and the love for it, stayed with me. I had some fantastic guidance and over the last years having become a lecturer myself, I've tried to pass on some of that wisdom from my mentors.

Today, I thought about the special people then and the special people now, my students. And how sometimes it all comes together in an A-Team kind of way. Chaz Maviyane-Davies was my teacher for a very short time. He was coming to the Massachusetts College of Art at a point where I was already running from design. I guess his arrival only slowed the retreat since I lingered in the department another year, curious as to what the new guy had to say. I learned a lot about design and social responsibility from him. And that he was from Zimbabwe resonates with me more deeply now that my partner is also in exile from a country as terrible.

This week students presented their research on design, ethics and social responsibility. And I thought of Chaz again and how I felt as a student. Inspired but lost. I'm not sure whether my students fully understand the importance of ethical design or if they only reflected what they knew I wanted to see (or more precisely, what I once wanted to see in myself). I'm not sure I understood either when I was in their shoes. I hope someday, in their own time, they will.

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December 1, 2008

CET's Third Solo Exhibition


rtist Chaw Ei Thein will open her third solo exhibition, In This Dark and Closed Space, this week in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We invite our friends currently in Thailand (and those who can still get into Thailand given the shutdown of the airports by the PAD demonstrations) to come to see her most recent artwork. The inaugural exhibition will also launch the Balance Art Gallery in Chiang Mai.

Third solo exhibition

Opening: 6 December 2008; 7PM
Dates: 6 - 20 December 2008

De Sara Burmese Restaurant
3/1 Soi 1Ton Payom Road
T. Suthep Muang
Chiang Mai, THAILAND

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November 30, 2008

The Diacritic Archive


kay, it's not really an archive. It's just my obsession with books, which has just reached a new level of geekdom. I paid some pretty pennies for a bar scanner, which hooks into my linux netbook running a library application called Alexandria. I can scan the ISBN bar codes of the books into the program and it sucks thumbnails and info from databases such as Amazon. It's sweet. So sweet I spent six hours bar scanning the stacks. The collection focuses on art, design, architecture, some literature. Two days later, I invited students from my Concept Development class for a meeting at the house and officially launched my lifelong dream: to own a library.

If you have to ask, porn is filed under art...



And for the finishing touch, collection stickers are being printed. RFID tags when I become a millionaire...


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