To what extent does location, nationality and geography play a role in the production, direction and dissemination of contemporary art? For ATM08, Castlefield Gallery has invited two artist groups from the islands of Taiwan and Singapore to present new site-specific work in the island of Great Britain. Channel_A (Hongjohn Lin and Ella Raidel) from Taiwan and p-10 (represented by Woon Tien Wei, Jennifer Teo working with collaborators Jeremy Chu and Kai Lam) from Singapore have both developed work which engages with the cultural, political and social climates they operate through different avenues of enquiry.
Channel_A has developed work responding to the 17th Century born George Psalmanaazaar, a bogus Taiwanese who was welcomed into the high society of London and lauded for his book An Historical and Geographic Description of Formosa which depicted the country as a fanciful wonderland generating elaborate myths around every facet of life, from the costumes, to religious traditions to their cannibalistic diet. Based on his life and the book by Psalmanaazaar, Channel_A have reinvented Psalmanaazaar's identity in the world of real-estate to explore the notion of property and fantasy in present day Manchester and Taiwan in an attempt to continue one of Psalmanaazaar's unfulfilled asks.
p-10 has developed a Symposium of Local around the idea of 'localness' within a framework of interpersonal dialogue. Through a series of investigative meetings they aim to unpack the loaded term of 'the local' and the implicit meanings it holds within the context of the international art Triennial / Biennial. The symposium will bring together British based artists and groups who produce work in response to their local context and explore different notions of their 'localities' thus offering a comparative study of creative strategies employed by these artists and their engagement with their local communities.
In addition to the new work by Channel_A and p-10, Castlefield Gallery will host the teahouse hub in the Upper Gallery in which visitors will be able to drink tea brought to Manchester by the artists showing at ATM08 venues across Manchester. Teas will represent the participating ATM08 countries of Mainland China, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan. There will also be a travelling teahouse located throughout Greater Manchester, a network of temporary sites that will host a range of talks, panel discussions, performances, workshops and events commonly linked under the teahouse idea. Please see the ATM08 website for updates.
More on the artists:
Channel_A, initiated by Hongjohn Lin (Taiwan) and Ella Raidel (Austria) in 2004, is a collective of different participants. Channel_A provides a program on emerging socio-cultural issues by adopting the language of media, and in turn, to channel our everyday life from perception, interaction, and henceforth imagination. Channel_A have shown at Maintrend Gallery Taipei, Tainan National University of Arts Taiwan, Doland Museum, Shanghai, Galerie Momentum, Vienna and at the National Palace Museum, Taipei.
p-10 is independent artist/curatorial team with a project space. Working mainly in the area of contemporary visual art, it has worked with a large number of local and international artists, curators and art spaces. P-10's specific areas of interest include networking, dialogue and interaction between artists, art practitioners and audiences. In 2007, p-10 opened a new independent cultural space called Post-Museum. Located in the historic Little India district of Singapore, Post-Museum seeks to examine contemporary life, promote the arts and connect people. The space aims also to respond to its location and community as well as serve as the hub for local and international cultures. Projects include solo exhibitions of Cultural Medallion winners Lee Wen (2004) and Chng Seok Tin (2005), an exhibition in the Singapore History Museum (now National Museum of Singapore) to celebrate National Day (2005), working with Singapore Biennale as one of their host venues (2006) and guest-curating an exhibition of Singapore art for notthatbalai held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2007).
The UK's first Asian Art Triennial opens 5 April -1 June 2008 and is conceived by Shisha, the UK's premier international agency for contemporary South Asian crafts and visual arts, in partnership with Castlefield Gallery, Cornerhouse, Chinese Arts Centre, The International 3, Manchester Art Gallery and Manchester Metropolitan University (through MIRIAD and the Faculty of Art & Design).
Asia Triennial Manchester 08 will show fresh and innovative work that represents the best of contemporary visual art and craft practice from Asia: a festival of visual culture that not only celebrates Manchester's diverse communities but also explores cultural, artistic and political debates of the 21st century. The international programme features stunning venue-based exhibitions, surprising site-specific new commissions, innovative residencies and extraordinary publicly sited work by artists from China, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan. None of the work featured has been seen in the UK before and for some of the artists ATM08 will be their UK debut.