INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON PUBLIC ENGAGED ART
Co-organized by IFIMA (International Forum Intermedia Art) & The
March 1-5, 2002
The Guinness Theatre, The Substation
The "International Symposium on Public Engaged Art" brings together
artists and cultural activists from The Philippines, Malaysia,
Thailand, Japan, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Singapore, the US, and
the UK to share their experiences and knowledge gained in-the-field,
and to initiate engaged art activities within communities and
networks in Singapore and the region.
With the increasing emphasis on civil society in democratic and
pluralistic societies, there has been a corresponding shift in the
social function of art, whereby art plays a greater role in promoting
public action and facilitating social change. As art practices become
more socially and publicly oriented, there arises a need to theorize,
critique and advance forms of interdisciplinary engaged art
practices. While engaged art offers a constructive means for art to
be socially responsive, it also opens up many areas that need
critical examination. One of the most visible problems is that
engaged art has yet to formalize its strategies and methodologies of
production, engagement and evaluation, and to formalize its break
from existing institutional structures and ideologies. Its
transgression of disciplinary boundaries has generated responses such
as: "is this art?"; "is this an effective form of social
intervention?"; "how can this contribution and effectiveness be
evaluated?". Because engaged art has yet to find an autonomous
position outside of existing art funding structures, it still
ultimately speaks and reports to funding agencies, art agencies and
museum systems. Engaged art practices are sometimes accused of being
yet another self-serving trend in contemporary art.
The main focus of the symposium is on practice and practical issues,
while the supplementary focus is on the theoretical underpinnings of
practice. Various models and degrees of engagement will be examined,
as well as the structural problems and practical issues concerning
working with community, with different disciplines and with
institutions. The symposium aims to address such questions as: What
are the pressing issues of concern to art practitioners dealing with
active and direct engagement with the public or communities? What
positive action can be taken to address these issues? What can we
learn from each other's experiences?
Pre-registration is encouraged due to the limited seating capacity of
The Guinness Theatre and so that we can make an estimate for food to
be catered. Please RSVP to celine@s... or call Celine Yeo
at 337 7535 or fax at 337 2729. Please include your contact
__ I would like to attend the symposium opening on the evening of 1st March
__ I would like to attend the 1st day of symposium on 2nd March
__ I would like to attend the 2nd day of symposium on 3rd March
__ I would like to attend all of the above
International Symposium on Public Engaged Art The Guinness Theatre,
A) Friday, 1 March 2002
7.00pm Opening of Symposium & welcoming speeches by Jay Koh,
symposium initiator, and Lee Weng Choy & Audrey Wong, Artistic
Co-Directors, The Substation.
7.30pm Dinner and social gathering, informal tour of exhibits.
B) Saturday, 2 March 2002
10.45am Keynote Paper by Eileen C. Legaspi-Ramirez, President of
Pananaw Ng Sining Bayan, Inc., The Philippines. Topic: Critical
Issues in Public Engaged Art in The Philippines.
11.15am Presentation by Jay Koh and Chu ChuYuan, Former
Artists-in-Residence, The Substation, Singapore. Topic: Encounters
from Investigating Public Engaged Art, Singapore.
11.40am Open discussion moderated by Lee Weng Choy.
12.30 - 2.30pm Lunch (not catered)
2.30 - 4.30pm First panel discussion. Topic: Art as agency of
social engagement and change-Examining methodologies of public
Moderator:Nisar Keshvani, journalist and educator.
Presenters: Lea Kantonen, artist, Finland; Grant Kester, Asst. Prof.
University of California San Diego, USA; Lee Weng Choy, Artistic
Co-director, The Substation, Singapore.
Respondents: Eva Ursprung, Women Art Support, Graz, Austria; Arun
Mahizhnan, Institute of Policy Studies, Singapore; Tan Tarn How,
playwright and journalist, Singapore.
4.30pm Tea (catered)
C) Sunday, 3 March 2002
10.00 - 11.30am Brunch (catered) & registration
11.30 - 2.00pm Second panel discussion. Topic: Empowerment through
civil society, media, and art activities-How to enlarge the spaces
and processes for empowerment.
Moderator: Lucy Davis, artist, curator, writer
Presenters: Janet Pillai, theatre activist, ARTS-ED, Penang,
Malaysia; Tan Chong Kee, civil society activist and chair of the
board of The Necessary Stage, Singapore.
Respondents: Barbara Steveni, Co-Director of Organisation +
Imagination, London, UK; Pekka Kantonen, artist, Finland;
Representative from the National Arts Council, Singapore (to be
2.00 - 2.45pm Tea (catered)
2.45-4.30pm Art in Society: Case Presentations 1
Presenters: Organisation + Imagination, London; Barbara Steveni will
present works by O+I, the pioneer of the art strategy "Art in Social
Context", and argues for "The Repositioning of Art in the
decision-making Processes of Society".
Woman Art Support (WAS), Eva & Co.,"Baodo", Graz Eva Ursprung will
present the work of WAS and Eva & Co., as well as a project titled
"Baodo" (with African and Afghanistan immigrants).
Respondents: Miho Shimizu, artist, Japan; Kirsten Dufour, artist, Denmark.
D) Tuesday, 5 March 2002 Note change of venue to Classroom
7.00 - 9.30pm
Art in Society: Case Presentations 2
Presenters: Y.N.B.Cultural Bureau, Copenhagen, Denmark. Kirsten
Dufour will present the work of Y.N.B.Cultural Bureau, Copenhagen,
which grew out of a project initiated in spring 2001 in which a new
group of artists living in Nørrebro, a local area in Copenhagen, made
daily observations in the neighbourhood for several years. The
project aimed to find and introduce cultural resources in the
neighbourhood, to create co-operation between artists and different
alternative invisible cultural groups (social, ethnic, religious,
gender etc.); to create/develop trust with the local communities; to
introduce new models of sociality/ communication and develop other
'meeting' spaces within public space.
Lea and Pekka Kantonen, artists, Finland. Lea and Pekka will discuss
their work which combines everyday life with art, as seen from the
Tent project, that is based on their experiences living as a family
among different indigenous communities, and a video diary that is
based on shots filmed every day since March 1990. They will also talk
about their role in facilitating young people in the process of
self-representation, which they felt has raised many questions that
are without definite answers.
Respondents: Jay Koh and Chu Chuyuan, artists, IFIMA
Exhibition and Video Screenings
There will be exhibits, video screenings and case presentations of
engaged art projects from various countries shown in The Substation.
Artists and arts groups whose works will be exhibited and presented
Amanda Heng, Singapore
Barbara Steveni & John Latham, Co-Directors of Organisation +
Imagination (O+I), London, UK
Eva Ursprung and Veronika Dreier, Woman Art Support, Graz, Austria
Ho Soon Yeen, Singapore
Project Environment/ Littoral, UK
Kirsten Dufour, Copenhagen, Denmark
Lea & Pekka Kantonen, Helsinki, Finland
Miho Shimuzu, Japan
Pananaw Ng Sining Bayan, Inc., The Philippines
Video Screening 1 & 2 March, 7.00 - 10.00pm Classroom, The Substation
Exhibition 2 & 3 March, 10.00am to 6.00pm Foyer, The Substation
National Arts Council, Singapore
LEE Foundation, Singapore
Sponsored and Supported by:
University of Art and Design Helsinki
Arts Council of Finland
The British Council
The Substation, Singapore
Projekt Herzgehirn e.V., Cologne
Bundesministerium fuer auswaertige Angelegenheiten, Austria
KUNST bundeskanzleramt, Austria
Mitsubishi Electric Asia Pte Ltd
45 Armenian Street
tel 337 7535
fax 337 2729