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Speakers: Martha Atienza (Artist), Jiandyin (Artist/curator duo) and Lê Giang (Visual artist)
Zoe Butt (Artistic Director, The Factory)
Date & Time: January 30 ,2021 | 11 AM (Saigon)/ 3 PM (Sydney)
Language: English

An online conversation with Martha Atienza (Bantayan Islands), Jiandyin (Ratchaburi) and Lê Giang (Hanoi), moderated by Zoe Butt (Ho Chi Minh City)

Organized by The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre, in collaboration with 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, supported by Campbelltown Arts Centre, as part of the ‘Curatorial Associate Program’ of the Australia Council for the Arts.

Artists Martha Atienza, Jiandyin and Lê Giang investigate contemporary art as a tool through which human habit and desire can be scrutinized; via community action, collaborative research and particular visual strategies of display. Committed to their local contexts, deeply aware of the political limits of the disenfranchised, these artists reveal the social repercussion of resource extraction, prompting critical questions concerning the right to sovereignty; the exploitative limits of the human body; and the role of luxury in cultural superstition (to name but a few).

Humans have always dug, cut, burned or relocated the resources of our Earth. As once nomadic hunters and gatherers, we sought sustenance and remedy from the plants, animals and minerals that surround us. Our need of such material was in aid of our everyday habits, in nurture of our physical health – we understood particular plants were seasonal, we respected that animals needed particular food to live. We also once lived with awe of particular animals and their special powers, according to differing belief. But human society, long before the onset of colonial violence (think the monarchical/dynastic expansion of faith across the Christian world since the Roman Empire), began organizing its political imagination in near god-like fashion, seeking to expand and control land and goods, to their own benefit. ‘Need’ became a righteous claim, dangerously confused with ‘desire’. Such attitude today drives our globalizing capitalism, disguised as corporate growth for the betterment of national economies. We continue to consume without heed of the scale of damage in our desire for material wealth, without heed of the interdependent environment we are robbing. In this conversation, the impact of our classification, division and control of ‘territory’; our expending of plastic packaging; our treasuring of gem-stone – is under investigation. Linking desire with repercussion, this conversation goes on to ask: Is it possible to change human behaviour – our beliefs, our assumptions, our frameworks of survival – so as to curb the destruction of our desire? What role do artists play in revealing such struggle? What research methods and aesthetic techniques of display are utilized/considered?

‘.. Artists and activists, as well as communities set on doing politics differently, are restoring and inventing alternative forms of life and creative modes of ethical being-in-common. They are drawing on existing wisdoms, and proposing new knowledges, remaking the world as we know it in imagination, representation, and practice’. (T.J. Demos ‘Beyond the World’s End: Arts of Living at the Crossing’, pg. 65).

This conversation is organized in association with the project ‘Re-Aligning the Cosmos’: an initiative of The Factory Contemporary Art Centre in Ho Chi Minh City. This Fellowship program seeks to examine the role, presence and meaning of the five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal and water) in contemporary life, examining how they are used in human superstition/spirituality, reflecting on their consumption (or neglect) that are, in turn, of impact on the human and non-human world. 

This online talk series is the first of four, as part of the Australia Council for the Arts ‘Curatorial Associates Program’, in partnership with The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre and 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Please join us online on April 10, 2021 with Curatorial Associate, Adam Porter, for its second session!

*Image: Several gemstone sculptures at a store in Lục Yên (Yên Bái Province). Image courtesy of Lê Giang.

About the speakers:

Martha Atienza (Lives in Bantayan Islands, The Philippines)
Martha’s artistic practice is sociological in nature, her varied sculptural and video installations often utilizing technology in the form of mechanical systems. ‘Her work tends to be collaborative in nature, working with people from different backgrounds and expertise as well as residents of Bantayan Island, where her family is from, whose narratives are intricately woven into issues such as environmental change, displacement, cultural loss, governance and socio-economic disparities’. See Silverlens for more information: https://www.silverlensgalleries.com/artists/martha-atienza and http://www.marthaatienza.com/

Jiandyin (Artist/curator duo: Jiradej Meemalai and Pornpilai Meemalai, lives in Ratchaburi, Thailand)
Jiandyin’s research is interdisciplinary in nature, produced in collaborative spirit and driven by social forms of inquiry. Collecting data and analyzing its social repercussions, their visual practice is conceptual in form, delivering statistics and summary of human calamity/impoverishment within sculptural installations that beg a re-assessment of political hegemony, economic corruption and spiritual advancement. They are co-founders of Baan Noorg Collaborative Arts and Culture, a not-for-profit artist education initiative in Ratchaburi. https://www.jiandyin.com/

Lê Giang (Lives in Hanoi, Vietnam)
Giang’s predominant drawing and sculptural practice questions the systematization of human memory and habit via the study of archive and interdisciplinary collaborative research. Compelled by the violence of erasure in the process of categorizing History and its human and non-human worlds, Giang’s exploration of particular media – eg. coal, plaster, stone – reveals the symbolic weight of materiality, begging a re-assessment of often near hidden colonial imprimata, cultural superstition or social stigma. Le Giang is co-founder of Six Space, an artist-run space in Hanoi. https://www.legiangle.com/

Zoe Butt (Lives in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)
Zoe Butt is a curator and writer. Her curatorial practice centres on building critical thinking and historically conscious artistic communities, fostering dialogue among cultures of the globalizing souths. Currently she is Artistic Director of The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre in Ho Chi Minh City; formerly  directorial/curatorial roles with San Art (Ho Chi Minh City), Long March Project (Beijing); Queensland Art Gallery (Brisbane). Co-curator of Sharjah Biennial 14, her work has been published by Hatje Cantz, ArtReview, Art Asia Pacific, JRP-Ringier, Routledge, Sternberg Press, amongst others. https://factoryartscentre.com/en/about/staff/

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This event is free admission. Please click HERE to register!
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Please contact our hotline +84(0)28 3744 2589 or send a direct message to our Facebook page for any inquiry on the event.

*Participants of the event allow The Factory and co-organizer (if applicable) to use their images and statements as a documentary for the program, for non-commercial purposes such as archive, press, media, promotion on our website, Facebook etc.