SPACE TRAFFIC: A weekend of art events bringing together alternative art spaces from around the world to discuss, tackle and explore issues surrounding non-mainstream art and culture with a special focus on Asia Pacific.

Press release - updated September 25, 2001

Space Traffic
Symposium of International Artists' Spaces

Hong Kong Visual Art Centre
7A Kennedy Road, Central, Hong Kong
2-5pm, Dec 7, 2001
10am-1pm, 2-4pm, Dec 9, 2001

Documents Exhibition:
7.12.2001 - 22.12.2001 Para/Site Art Space
2 Po Yan Street (224 Hollywood Road), Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Gallery hours: 12-7pm (till 8pm on Thur), close on Mon & Tue

A collaborative project between art organizations from more than 10 cities around the world, Symposium of International Artists' Spaces will be held in the Hong Kong Visual Art Centre from December 7 to 9, 2001.

The name given to the Symposium, 'Space Traffic', is based on the email correspondence between the participants of the different artists' collectives, which began in March this year. The symposium will be separated into 3 sessions, focusing on the areas of artistic practice, strategy and management; cultural exchange and networking; and cultural geography. It will see over 15 presentations by artists and curators from different parts of the world.

Performances by participating artists will be held during these different sessions. A slide-screening marathon featuring over 100 artists represented by different organizations will be also presented together with an exhibition of documents at Para/Site Art Space from December 7 to 22, as resources and references for the symposium.

A special publication of Space Traffic will be co-published by Para/Site of Hong Kong and West Space of Melbourne after the symposium, as a record of the activities and exchange that have taken place during this week, and will be circulated in different cities to make others aware of the issues raised and to ensure that they continue and develop.

Symposium of International Artists' Spaces is supported by the Hong Kong Development Council and is coordinated by Para/Site Art Space with logistic support from the Hong Kong-based organizations, Asia Art Archive, Artist Commune and Videotage. The venue of the symposium is sponsored by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.

Inquiry: (Hong Kong +852) 2517-4620. Email:

About the participating organizations (representatives):

Artist Commune, Hong Kong (Tam Wai-ping)

Artist Commune was established in mid-1997, a non-profit making organization of local artists devoted to the development of visual art in Hong Kong. At the beginning, the Commune had only been able to find its humble workshops in industrial buildings and subsequently we settled down at the present site in the Cattle Depot Art Village in Tokwawan with a spacious 5,000 square-feet exhibition hall under a 30-feet-high tile roof of a unique architectural structure. To date, Artist Commune has fledged to become a diversified civic art organization providing not only exhibition venues for local visual artists but also a zealous promoter of various art forms and artistic collaborations. Artist Commune has in the past co-organized exhibitions with foreign art groups, hosted and participated in exchange programmes of various scales and natures. By the year 2000, Artist Commune has organized or hosted more than 280 activities, with more than 50 of them being exhibitions and including serial and thematic releases of work of art. In addition to the strengthening of interactive relationships with nearby regions, the establishment of an ever-growing regional network of artistic connections is another major endeavour in our development plan.

Baguio Artists Guild, Baguio (Santiago Bose, Sonny Balanga, Desiree Caluza)

The Baguio Arts Guild (BAG) was established in 1987, as a non-government organization that sought to actively involve itself in the country's cultural events. Starting out as a small group of Baguio-based artists, it has now expanded to cover the fields of fine arts, photography, crafts, film and video, installation, performance art, theater, music and literary arts.

Centre A, Vancouver (Hank Bull)

The Vancouver Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (Centre A) seeks to achieve international recognition as a centre for contemporary Asian art. Reflecting the culture of a city with a large Asian population, it presents the work of both local and international artists. Operating from a downtown gallery space, Centre A produces exhibitions, performances, conferences, residencies, and publications. Centre A partners with contemporary arts organizations, including artist-run centres, university art schools, festivals and museums. The organization functions as a non-profit society and registered charity controlled by a board of directors, professional staff and volunteers.

FADs art space, Tokyo (Yoshiaki Kaihatsu)

In August, 2000, FADs art space was established in Kunitachi-shi, Tokyo. We engage in various projects mainly on modern art. Because this space plays a role of a studio, before playing the role of a commercial art gallery, we offer it in non-profit basis for them to concentrate their expenses on their work production. Instead, we request the artists to be involved in the administration of space. The space opens only on Saturdays and Sundays as most young artists have a job on weekdays, however the exhibition session spans for one to two months to supplement the few opening days during the week and make their art work public as long as possible to the artists' satisfaction. In addition, a shop is attached to the space, in which artists could freely plan and design to sell their work and other merchandized goods. We currently deal not only with Japanese artists but also with foreign artists such as those from the United States and Hong Kong., Toronto (Jinhan Ko, Jenifer Papararo)

Ultimately, has a utopian vision. They have faith in people1s ideas and their earnest desire to communicate them. In coming together, they want to facilitate artist production as well as participate in it. They place all of our energies into the proliferation and dissemination of the visual artist. In keeping with contemporary culture sees the need to consistently reinvent themselves. This venture aims to grow into other areas of interest, such as new media and time-based work while also continuing to host events at a variety of locations in order to exhibit new work and champion the artist as producer.

IT Park, Taipei (Chen Hui Chiao)

Now in its' thirteenth year, IT Park is one of the few surviving alternative spaces presently in the Taipei metropolitan area. IT Park is a place where artists can exchange artistic experiences and a location where they can exhibit new work, allowing audiences to have regular access to fresh cultural experiences outside of the mainstream. Established in 1988 by photographer Liu Ching-Tang and several colleagues, IT Park initially provided a forum where artists could meet and discuss their ideas. By early 1990 it had also become an exhibition space where artists could display work without the financial and curatorial restrictions of more conservative or commercially orientated institutions. It has since reached out to an international audience through invitational shows and encouraged many leading Taiwanese contemporary artists to participate.

Konstakuten, Stockholm (Sofie Sweger)

Konstakuten (The Art Emergency Room) is a non-profit, artist-initiated organisation that strives to provide opportunities for artists to realise and present work. Konstakuten was founded in conjunction with its first exhibition in May 1995 . It has since presented a great number of exhibitions and projects in different venues in Stockholm. These include The drawing exhibition 'The Bible of Networking' (1998) which presented drawings by 147 artists from over 15 countries. The exhibition has since travelled to London Tokyo, and Korea where more artists have joined. In May 1999 Konstakuten arranged 'First European Seminar for Artist Run Spaces' (FESARS), which brought together over 70 representatives from 36 artist-run organisations from 13 countries. In February 2000 Konstakuten started the project 'Curatorial Mutiny' , which investigates new curatorial practises by inviting participating artists to be involved in the curatorial formulation of their exhibition.

United, Stockholm (Sofie Sweger)

Founded in 2001 by Sofie Sweger (former co-director of Konstakuten). 'United Net-works' is an international network of artist-run, independant, alternative organisations, spaces, and groups that has grown out of contacts, collaborations, research and experiences following the FESARS ('First European Seminar for Artist Run Spaces') seminar that Konstakuten arranged in Stockholm in May 1999. United Net-works has incorporated the international network and electronic mailing-list for artist-run, independant organisations and groups (FESARS) as well as the archive of artists documentation (KONSTBANKEN) that were formerly housed by Konstakuten.

Loft New Media Art Space, Beijing (Qiu Zhijie)

Founded in 2001 and located at the Loft Restaurant & Bar in downtown Beijing, the Loft New Media Art Space is the first of its kind in China. The design of this specially created space has been tailor-made to meet the needs of displaying and presenting all new media-based art. It is dedicated to exhibit and promote experimental art that employs various new media. The space will also be used as a focal point of exchange for innovative and challenging art concepts. The opening of the Loft New Media Art Space is timely. Within the context of an information society, where technology is remodeling people’s way of thinking, artistic creativity is heavily influenced by the interaction between all disciplines and art forms, and by the melding of elite ideology and mass culture. The Loft New Media Art Space provides a space in which both artists and audience can explore the effect of these changes.

Para/Site Art Space, Hong Kong (Tsang Tak-ping, Leung Chi-wo)

Founded by seven Hong Kong artists in 1996, Para/Site Art Space was originally a response to the limitation of conventional exhibition space in Hong Kong. In a derelict shop space in Kennedy Town, Para/Site had appeared shortly for a series of 3 site-specific exhibitions. In 1997, Para/Site 1996 was published as a conclusion of the first series of projects and also the beginning of a new space as Para/Site re-appeared in Sheung Wan. In 1998, its branch space, Para/Site Central was opened inside Hanart TZ Gallery in Central. However it is “hosted” by a commercial gallery, it is curated and managed independently by Para/Site.

Plastique Kinetic Worms, Singapore (Yvonne Lee, Juliana Yasin)

Plastique Kinetic Worms was formed in April 1998 and was registered as a non-profit art society on April 2000. Plastique Kinetic Worms is an artist initiative formed by a group of people comprising of artists, curators and professionals. This initiative was sparked by the idea from the desire to create an alternative art space to the commercial and institutional art scene. While the local art scene has focused mainly on the mainstream and established art, Plastique Kinetic Worms’ objective is to create awareness for the young contemporary artists. Plastique Kinetic Worms seeks to establish a contemporary art space dedicated to the fostering of contemporary art in Singapore. The society aims towards establishing a contemporary art space, which is able to create greater professionalism in the arts and establish Singapore contemporary art on the global art scene.

Project 304, Bangkok (Michael Shoawanasai)

Functioned as a non-profit art space, Project 304 was founded by a small group of Thai artists and art lovers in July 1996 to bridge the gap between art and society and to integrate art into the community. This visual arts organization is dedicated to providing exhibition space and promoting public access to the contemporary art. Project 304 focuses on nurturing artistic dialogue. Its goals are to use art as a means of uniting the contemporary arts community and bring greater awareness and appreciation of the arts to Thailand. Project 304 provides a forum for emerging local artists, as well as for well-established national and international ones. Artists will be able to develop and hone their skill, exchange information, execute collaborative projects, and exhibit their works in an interdisciplinary setting. While not shy away from aesthetics, exhibition will be concept-oriented, focusing on social, cultural and political issues. They will range from painting, sculpture, installations, prints, and photography.

Videotage, Hong Kong (Ellen Pau, Elaine Ng)

Founded in 1985, Videotage (the name composed of the words "Video" and "Montage") is an interdisciplinary artist collective that focuses on the development of new media in Hong Kong. Starting out as a facilitator for collaborative projects, Videotage has evolved into an operation dedicated to the production, development and study of film, video and other alternative time-based media arts.

West Space, Melbourne (Brett Jones)

West Space, established in 1993, has been centrally involved in Australian contemporary art as an independent organisation. West Space strives to provide the best possible support to artists, while managing a professional venue for the public to access their work. West Space
recognises and nurtures artists who have recently completed tertiary studies and those with established careers. West Space provides a meeting point for artists and the public, presenting over 35 exhibitions each year with work by more than 170 artists.

West Space is a not-for-profit incorpoarted association, governed by a committee of artists with support from legal and accounting professionals. An alternative venue to commercial galleries, it also actively provides channels for collaboration, exchange and hybrid practices through its Projects Program. West Space also provides special support for audio visual based work, and artist produced publications and recordings. Co-ordinated by Brett Jones, West Space sustains itself financially through fundraising, subscriptions, in-kind labour, and
funding from local, state, and federal government.

Western Front, Vancouver (Jonathon Middleton)

The Western Front was founded in 1973 by eight artists who wanted to create a space for the exploration and creation of new art and new art forms. It quickly became a focal point for poets, dancers, musicians and visual artists. As a focal point of experimental art practice through the 1970's and 80's, the Western Front, and other centres like it, played a major role in the development of the electronic art form. This includes video-art, sound-art, the use of

telecommunications to explore a global arts network, and the use of computer-interactive

technologies to explore the connection between the art-viewer and the art-space. From the outset, the Western Front has been linked to similar ventures in other countries. Over the years the organization has become the training ground and springboard for many young artists, especially those working outside the commercial art market. With a staff of ten people plus students and volunteers, the centre now produces over 100 events a year. It's artist-in-residence program invites artists from many different countries to produce new works in media/electronic art.

YYZ Artists’ Outlet, Toronto (SiSi Penaloza, Kelly McCray)

At its inception in 1979, YYZ was a collective of students from the Ontario College of Art who exhibited local work not shown in commercial galleries or institutions. Shortly thereafter, YYZ expanded program boundaries, presenting work by artists from outside the Toronto area and mounting large collaborative exhibitions (Monumenta, New City of Sculpture, the Interpretation of Architecture) with other artist-run centres and galleries. During the 1980s, single-channel video became one of the media of choice among artists for communicating new ideas about identity and narrative. YYZ was a leader in showcasing this work and in 1987, the organization moved to1087 Queen Street West, where the creation of a screening room allowed for a permanent time-based arts program - film, video and performance. In 1988, founded YYZ's publishing program, YYZ Books. YYZ Books has published fourteen titles by some of the most important writers on art and culture in Canada and has become a national and international forum for exploring issues in contemporary art. One of YYZ's three main program areas, YYZ Books now produces two to three books a year. In 1997, we moved to the heart of Toronto's Queen Street West's gallery and shopping district, where we successfully undertook a major capital campaign. Community and corporate support were an invaluable part of building the new gallery.

Logistic support
Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong (Claire Hsu)

The newly-founded Asia Art Archive is a non-profit organization and registered charity in Hong Kong dedicated to the research, promotion and intellectual exchange of Asian contemporary art. To ensure continued support for and raise the level of appreciation and understanding of, local and regional art, the Asia Art Archive believes that it is of the utmost importance that information in this area be systematically documented and made easily accessible. A record of the new and exciting creative impulses, amidst increasingly variable
political, social and economic conditions of this region, is vitally important for present and future generations. At the same time, the Asia Art Archive wishes to heighten the awareness of the remarkable innovations taking place in Asia through the organizations of symposiums, lectures and exhibitions and the development of an educational programme.