Project Glocal is a social experiment that involves artists from four different cities—Bangkok, HongKong, Manila and Singapore. The idea is to subject these artists in situations or circumstances where they are to interact with and in their respective cities and participating cities with other Project Glocal artists. Interactions were in form of conversations (dubbed in this project as Small Talk, which connotes that in this conversation the agenda is to dissect “small” issues of artists in and with cities and not to create grand narratives), exhibit that featured existing works that correlate to other Project Glocal artists’ work or create new collaborative works, and a publication that catalogues experiences in engaging in and with arts, artists, cities, people, and all three of them together or separately. The main agenda is for the city artists to find interest in each other, to nurture sense of kinship and to encourage them to form a lasting bond beyond their geo-political boundaries.
Project Glocal was conceptualized and spearheaded in 2011 by independent curator DayangYraola. The first public project, entitled Conversation of Cities, was launched in 2012 through a small talk and exhibit at Tin-Aw Gallery in Manila. Two other small talks and exhibits were held in Manila in 2012—HabitForming at Artinformal in May; and Cityzening at U.P. Vargas Museum in October, which was also the major activity for Project Glocal 2012, where 21/29 of the Project Glocal artists were present. A string of small talk and art walks were held in HongKong (Baptist University of HongKong in March and September) and Bangkok (Silpakorn University and Artery Gallery in Bangkok in February and July). Final activity, titledDezipcoding, was another small talk and exhibit featuring collaborative works and on-going projects by Project Glocal artists, held at the Singapore Art Museum 8Q in November.
Artists who participated in the 2012 run of Project Glocal were (names arranged in no particular order):
Anton del Castillo, Urich Lau, Black Baroque Committee, Mark Salvatus, Jason Wee, Song Ming Ang, Riel Hilario, Luke Ching, Vichaya Mukdamanee, Wantanee Siripattanuntakul, Warawut Tourawong, Rutheirat Kumsrichan, Esther Yip Lai Man, Tang Kwok Hin, Mimi Tecson, Tang Ling Nah, Irma Lacorte, Mark Salvatus, Jittagarn Kaewtinkoy, Thosapol Boribon, Preeyachanok Ketsuwan, Mideo Cruz, Wesley Valenzuela, Jaffa Lam, Michael Lee, Joo Choon Lin, Tam Wai Ping, Ho Siu Kee, Francis Yu.
Some materials can be found on: projectglocal2012.blogspot.com
Project Glocal 2014
What’s new? For 2014 there will be 3 changes in Project Glocal:
1) The format will be residency called Transi(en)t. It is a lightning, which means the residency will be shorter than usual residencies, and a nomad residency, which means residency will go to different cities.
2) It will try to form a new roster to include new artists from previously participating cities and expand participation to other cities, with priorities for Taipei, Bandung and Penang;
3) Activities will be partnered with existing organizations in every city, which could be an artist run-space, arts initiatives, foundations, non-profit organization and other formats as long (not institutions).
During the last artist talk for Project Glocal 2012, an artist suggested that the next best step for the project is to have the artists make the work in the city that they are visiting. That suggestion was coming from what the artist observed as an oscillating development in Project Glocal. From hauling-in finished works for exhibition (either actually the work or the idea for site-specific work,), the project, on its last-leg, braved to present collaborative works done by participating artists while they were in their respective cities and remotely located from their collaborators. It was a good exercise that allowed the artists to become more intimate. The artists though, in the latter creative exercise, still carried with them issues of their own city. A sort of residency format was then suggested.
2013 is the year we write the book for Project Glocal. It is ideal because this is the year between the first public run of the project and the year that we drastically change the format. The book is intended to come out in December 2014. It will have the benefit of hindsight for the activities in 2012 and the anticipation for the activities in 2014.
This project proposal for Project Glocal 2014 is a short-term residency. A number of artists from the Project Glocal artists (old and new) will be sent to a city for 10 days to 1 month. They are tasked to: 1 get to know the artists in that city; 2 find those whose practice suits theirs; 3 create an artwork with them. Preference is on the ephemeral non-sellable art, as this would create the causal feeling of connectedness and then longing. By this it is hypothesized that the artists who would collaborate will continue to seek each other as partners in their creative endeavors, hence strengthening ties.
The lead curator will serve as moderator between Project Glocal artists and local artists to set the tone for the collaborative exercise, whether to create an incubator for an actual project or to complete a project within the timeframe. A co-curator, who is a local of the city, will assist in directing the team finding possible collaborator communities/individuals in the city, finding resources, spaces/location, materials, etc. The co-curator may also be assigned to see-through the collaborative process.
Participants of the residencies are expected to have public presentations -- exhibit, performance, workshop or open studio. At the beginning of the residency, they may present their respective creative agenda and portfolio as part of introducing themselves to the local creative community. At the end of the residency there will be another presentation (live or recorded), wherein they could do another public talk. Particularly, the theme for the latter talk is about the experience of visiting and local artists and possibilities of developing the work or research that they started during residency. So the residency will serve as research and an incubator at the same time.
The whole program will end (by end of 2014 or early 2015) in a group show or another forum wherein all artists and curators involved will share to the art public their experience and insights on this “social experiment”.
Project Glocal 2014 is important for several reasons.
First, I have planned to conclude Project Glocal in 2014. To conclude the project does not mean I will end working with artists in the region. It only means that I would like to focus the future in finding out answers for questions beyond the global-local city. In the years of Project Glocal run, one of my most valuable learning is that the HUMAN is a complex dynamics. Human is not only the physical corpus. It is a character. It is a condition. It is a choice. It is a cosmos of metaphysics. It is a technology. And human has more relational nodes than the CITY (which was the subject of Project Glocal). By doing so, I would be diverting a bit from the art highways to a more sociologic and anthropologic direction; although still on the creative sphere. Since, Project Glocal was introduced as an art project, it would be misleading to continue to carry-on with it. Alas, it is on this occasion that we will launch the Project Glocal catalogue of experience, titled STAMPED with editor/curator Yang Yeung (soundpocket, HK).
Second, this is when we try to go beyond the Southeast Asian region by including Japanese artists. In 2012 and 2013, I had the chance to work with Japanese artists and to work with them in Tiapei, Bandung, Penang and Manila. These made me realize their commitment for involvement. In the on-set, it may look like they are just there to exhibit extravagance of technology. However, a closer relationship with them allowed me to appreciate how their work as are response, impression, question, an attempt to answer matters that arises from their environment. In the same breath, the countries involved for this project are those who have and who always had active relationship with the Philippines –HongKong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. Therefore, the interest is not only to present their art projects, but more to find out how they are able to manifest creatively their impression of Filipino heritage as a memorial that thrives with the contemporary times.
Third, last year, I have tried to relate ethnic tradition and contemporary art. It proved to be a difficult challenge, but somehow was successful as the audience paid more attention to an otherwise specialized subject—even just out of curiosity. This year, through this project, I would like to attempt to relate colonial heritage with contemporary art. This is something that is being done abroad. Bringing this platform home is something of a curatorial challenge as much as it would be a logistic/technical challenge, but I feel that somebody has to start doing it, so that others would not think of it as impossible.