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‘Pollination’ is initiated by The Factory, a program driven by the need to create critically active and supportive artist-curator-community networks within South East Asia. The inaugural edition is co-developed and co-sponsored, with SAM Fund for Arts and Ecology (Indonesia). Selected Indonesian curator Grace Samboh will be conducting a one-month residency at The Factory in March and June 2018, to  research alongside Vietnamese curator Bill Nguyễn towards the realization of two exhibitions at The Factory in December this year.

Why did The Factory initiate this program?

In Southeast Asia we possess a dynamic independent landscape of artistic initiatives, the majority of contemporary art activity occurring outside of state-sponsored cultural institutions. Also within our region, the role and understanding of ‘curatorial’ work is varied and often misrepresented (e.g. most state institutions are yet to employ curatorial staff and there are few tertiary programs that offer any study of curatorial practice). Since the late 1990s, curatorial practices and exhibition-making in the region have mostly developed outside traditional institutional museum frameworks. Contributions from artist-cum-curators, as well as artist-run initiatives, have been central in this particular development, in addition to the emergence of a new generation of curators resulting from different projects offering internship, as well as one-on-one mentorships.

On the one hand, the particularity of the art world’s infrastructure in Southeast Asia has diversified curatorial methodology in the region with unique individual practices. On the other, ‘curating’ remains largely misunderstood as the majority of general audiences have insufficient exposure and understanding of the differences and complexities of contemporary art in the region. Over the last decade there have been numerous attempts by foreign art and diplomatic institutions to better ‘network’ emerging curators from Southeast Asia. While these have been productive in introducing these players to one another’s work, there has been little further practical and physically realizable collaborations between them. ‘Pollination’, a residency and project-driven program for emerging curators and artists of Southeast Asia, attempts to address this lack of opportunity, in providing organizational collaborative platforms with which emerging curators of the region can continue to network and produce.

Aiming to set up a regional community of producers linking talent to network, space and opportunity, ’Pollination’ seeks to nurture artistic practice via curatorial enquiry, with the view that deeper connections between artists and curators enable critical reflection, writing and dialog – a discourse greatly needed as an intra-regional comparable accessible resource. ‘Pollination’ is envisaged as a long-term, collaborative exercise between different infrastructures within Southeast Asia, each year endeavoring to secure an additional program partner to its network (one advisor, one funder). As one of the first private/non-governmental initiatives engaging such skills, ‘Pollination’ hopes to develop, nurture and sustain the skills and relationships between emerging artists and curators interested in (re)working ‘institutional’ structures of display in this region.

The Factory wishes to thank Agung Hujatnikajennong, Natasha Sidharta and RUJAK for their support in co-developing the inaugural ‘Pollination’.

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