November 2015

Practicing Friendship: Respecting Time as a Curator | Zoe Butt

Asia Art Archive

Writer, curator, and 2011 AAA Mobile Library programme facilitator in Vietnam contributes a text on the integral role of friendship to the longevity of art infrastructures.

15 INVITATIONS for 15 Years
A special programme series featuring exhibitions, projects, written works, performances, a blog, and publication marking Asia Art Archive's 15-year anniversary. AAA extends 15 Invitations to creative practitioners to look within and beyond the organisation as an archive, a collection of material, a digital platform, and a node in a wider collective network. The 15 Invitations take various sizes,forms, and directions—literary, polemic, political, sonic, physical, and digital—and function as a series of 'drop pins' to alternatively navigate where AAA originated and where it may be going.
Practicing Friendship:               Respecting Time as a Curator
"It is about caring for the way memory is locally visualised and responsibly provoked; it's about interpreting, describing, and collecting the adhesive presence of time between memory and emotion, between form and its political legitimacy, between shadows opaque, liquid, and porous. Time that only those in friendship can truly critically understand. "                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           -   Zoe Butt
Zoe Butt
ZOE BUTT is Executive Director and Curator of Sàn Art, based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She is also the facilitator of AAA's 2011 Mobile Library programme in Vietnam, contributes a text looking at friendship. Citing this as a platform that is integral to the longevity of particular kinds of arts infrastructure, she invites others considered independent, 'alternative', and archival in spirit to speak among friends, while simultaneously investigating a method of working strategically under conditions with political or cultural restrictions.                                                                                                                                                                     Image: AAA Programme 'Open Edit:Mobile Library' at Sàn Art
"My work is referred to as 'curating', 
but to me it is about the dialogical intertextuality of engaging artists and their art to create encounters between aesthetics and politics "
"Every day I take a moment to quietly reaffirm my motivations for working in the arts, for I've got to be frank, I once nearly quit on my passion. Utterly.  
At a too-early point in my career, I had grown oh-so-tired of the way neoliberal systems of institutional approval were dictating how artistic innovation was allowed to take form and be interpreted—a stance touted to respect the inspiration of artists from far-flung locales with differing determinations of 'contemporaneity', but sadly felt more like a colonisation of their productive processes.       "                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           -   Zoe Butt                                                                                                                                                                    Image: Friends of Vu Dan Tan, Hanoi, Vietnam, 1986. Courtesy of Salon Natasha Archive.
Credits: Story

15 Invitations for 15 Years is supported by the S. H. Ho Foundation Limited, the C. K. & Kay Ho Foundation, and The Hong Kong Arts Development Council. The programme is part of the ADC 20th Anniversary Celebration Series. Special thanks to Hani Charaf, Kemistry Design; and Spring Workshop.

Credits: All media
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