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NTU CCA Singapore Exhibitions is focused on contemporary artistic production that provides a critical platform for reflection and discussion. The exhibition programme embraces artistic production in all its diverse media with a commitment to current debates in visual culture. NTU CCA Singapore presents up to four exhibitions a year ranging in format from group to solo shows giving voice to a diversity of international artists. Each exhibition is accompanied by an extensive public programme of tours, talks and workshops that foster reflections on the exhibition from various perspectives and disciplines.

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Joan Jonas: They Come to Us without a Word

22 January 2016 — 3 April 2016

The NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore is honoured to present They Come to Us without a Word, video and performance pioneer Joan Jonas’ first large-scale exhibition in Singapore and Southeast Asia. They Come to Us without a Word was organised for the U.S. Pavilion of the 56th Venice Biennale by the MIT List Visual Arts Center and co-curated by Paul C. Ha, Director of the MIT List Visual Arts Center and Ute Meta Bauer, Founding Director of the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore. With this exhibition Jonas evokes the fragility of nature, using her own poetic language to address the irreversible impact of human interference on the environmental equilibrium of our planet.

Acknowledgements

They Come to Us without a Word was organised for the U.S. Pavilion of the 56th Venice Biennale by the MIT List Visual Arts Center and co-curated by Paul C. Ha, Director of the MIT List Visual Arts Center and Ute Meta Bauer, Founding Director of the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore. The exhibition was generously supported by U.S. Department of State, Cynthia and John Reed, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Additional major support was provided by the Council for the Arts at MIT, Toby Devan Lewis, VIA Art Fund, Agnes Gund, Lambent Foundation.

The exhibition in Singapore is organised by the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore, Nanyang Technological University with support by the Economic Development Board, Singapore. Additional support has also been provided by the U.S. Embassy Singapore.

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Public programmes

In Conversation with Joan Jonas, artist (United States) together with Ute Meta Bauer, Founding Director, NTU CCA Singapore (Germany/Singapore), and Anna Daneri, curator and Founding Co-Director of Peep-Hole (Italy)
15 Jan 2016, Fri 7:30pm - 9:00pm
15 Jan 2016, Fri 7:30pm - 9:00pm

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Performance and video pioneer Joan Jonas will discuss the process of creating the exhibition They Come to Us without a Word with co-curator Ute Meta Bauer and production manager Anna Daneri.

This conversation is part of the Education and Public Programme of Joan Jonas: They Come to Us without a Word.

Behind the Scenes with Jan Kroeze, lighting designer (United States)
19 Jan 2016, Tue 1:00pm - 3:00pm
19 Jan 2016, Tue 1:00pm - 3:00pm

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A world-renowned lighting designer and director of photography, Jan Kroeze works across the lighting spectrum in fashion, music, performance art, theatre, and television. Focusing on Joan Jonas’ site-specific installation, he will talk about the way light influences our experience and perception as well as our emotional relationship to what we see. Kroeze will elaborate on the lights he created exclusively for They Come to Us without a Word.

This Behind the Scenes is part of the Education and Public Programme of Joan Jonas: They Come to Us without a Word.

Jan Kroeze is a lighting designer and director of photography. He conceived and created custom lighting for They Come to Us without a Word during the 56th Venice Biennale. Kroeze has worked previously with Joan Jonas for Volcano Saga (1989), and designed the lighting for Philippe Parreno’s Anywhere, Anywhere Out of the World, Palais de Tokyo (2013) and Merce Cunningham’s Locale (1978), as well as numerous theatre productions on and off Broadway. Artists with whom Kroeze has collaborated include Laurie Anderson, Philip Glass, Red Grooms, Marc Jacobs, Joan Jonas, Christian Lacroix, Karl Lagerfeld, Nam Jun Paik, Judy Pfaff, Kanye West, and Robert Wilson.

Curatorial Tour with Anna Daneri, curator (Italy)
23 Jan 2016, Sat 11:00am - 1:00pm
23 Jan 2016, Sat 11:00am - 1:00pm

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Anna Daneri has worked with Joan Jonas on several occasions, and was the production manager for the presentation of They Come to Us without a Word at the US Pavilion during the 56th Venice Biennale. Her tour will provide a deeper understanding of Jonas’ way of working and share insights into how the artist developed the different elements of her exhibition.

This curatorial tour is part of the Education and Public Programme of Joan Jonas: They Come to Us without a Word.

Anna Daneri is co-founder and adjunct curator of Peep-Hole, collaborator with Fondazione Meru (for which she initiated the Meru Art*Science Award), and editor of Peep-Hole Sheet. In 2015 she was the production manager for They Come to Us without a Word by Joan Jonas for the US Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale. She has worked on international exhibitions including Food (Geneva, 2012), The Mediterranean Approach (Venice/Marseille/Sao Paolo, 2011), The Inadequate (project by Dora Garcìa for the 54th Venice Biennale), Collateral (Milan/Sao Paolo, 2008), Joan Jonas – My Theater (Trento, 2007). She collaborated with Art for the World (1996-2013) and with Fondazione Antonio Ratti (1995-2010), and was professor of Contemporary Art Phenomenology at the Accademia Carrara di Belle Arti in Bergamo (2003-2007).

Workshop for Teachers and Educators with Kelly Reedy, artist and educator (Singapore)
30 Jan 2016, Sat 10:00am - 1:00pm
30 Jan 2016, Sat 10:00am - 1:00pm

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This workshop was developed in collaboration with Kelly Reedy, a former lecturer at the National Institute of Education, who specialises in teaching how museums and galleries can be used to enhance student learning through visual arts. It was created to engage educators in contemporary art and artistic practices, highlighting the educational aspects of each section of this exhibition in order to better prepare for visits with their classes.

To sign up for this workshop, please email to: NTUCCAeducation@ntu.edu.sg

This workshop is part of the Education and Public Programme of Joan Jonas: They Come to Us without a Word.

Exhibition (de)Tour with Filipa Ramos, NTU CCA Singapore Curator-in-Residence and curator (United Kingdom)
10 Feb 2016, Wed 7:30pm - 9:00pm
10 Feb 2016, Wed 7:30pm - 9:00pm

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Joan Jonas’ work is inhabited by a multitude of human and non-human creatures, which traverse her drawings, videos, and performances in a plurality of gestures and configurations. Assembled in idiosyncratic, non-narrative manners, these animal selves propose new temporal conventions and ways of being in the world. Filipa Ramos(de)Tour will be a journey across the creatures Joan Jonas summons and collaborates with through her work.

This Exhibition (de)Tour is part of the Education and Public Programme of Joan Jonas: They Come to Us without a Word.

Filipa Ramos is Editor in Chief of art-agenda and a lecturer in the Experimental Film M.A. programme of Kingston University, and in the M.Res. Art: Moving Image of Central Saint Martins, both in London. Ramos is co-curator of Vdrome, a programme of screenings of films by visual artists and filmmakers. In the past she was Associate Editor of Manifesta Journal, curator of the Research Section of dOCUMENTA (13), and coordinator of The Most Beautiful Kunsthalle in the World project at the Antonio Ratti Foundation. She is the co-author of the book Lost and Found – Crisis of Memory (2009) and is working on a reader on writings on animals to be published in fall 2016.

Screening of Night Fishing by Park Chan-kyong & Park Chan-wook and Manshin: Ten Thousand Spirits by Park Chan-Kyong (South Korea)
12 Feb 2016, Fri 7:30pm - 10:00pm
12 Feb 2016, Fri 7:30pm - 10:00pm

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Night Fishing, 2011, 33 min, Korean with English subtitles
In Night Fishing a man casually sets up for a fishing trip at the water’s edge. Evening comes and a tug on his line presents him with the body of a woman. While he tries to disentangle himself from the fishing lines, she comes alive. The scene changes and the woman is now a shaman priestess in a funeral ritual for a man who drowned in a river. He speaks through her to his relatives, asking for forgiveness.

Manshin: Ten Thousand Spirits
2013, 104 min, Korean with English subtitles
Manshin: Ten Thousand Spirits is a documentary telling the story of a woman who — shunned for being possessed by spirits as a girl and oppressed for following superstitions as an adult — grew up to be Korea’s greatest shaman, and is now honoured as a national treasure.

This screening is part of the Education and Public Programme of Joan Jonas: They Come to Us without a Word.

Workshop and Screening of selected films by Park Chan-kyong (South Korea)
13 Feb 2016, Sat 1:00pm - 4:00pm
13 Feb 2016, Sat 1:00pm - 4:00pm

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Selected works are chosen and discussed by artist and filmmaker Park Chan-kyong which engage with topics of the spiritual aspects of nature.

This workshop and screening is part of the Education and Public Programme of Joan Jonas: They Come to Us without a Word.

Park Chan-kyong is an artist and filmmaker based in Seoul, South Korea. His subjects have extended from the Cold War to traditional Korean religious culture, from “media-oriented memory” to “regional utopian imaginations.” He has produced media based works such as Manshin (2013), Night Fishing (2011, co-directed with Park Chan-wook), Anyang Paradise City (2011), Radiance (2010), Sindoan (2008), Flying (2005), Power Passage (2004), and Sets (2000). He has won various prizes including Hermès Korea Misulsang (2004), Golden Bear Prize for short films at the Berlin International Film Festival (2011) and Best Korean Film of the Jeonju International Film Festival (2011).

Exhibition (de)Tour with Yasser Mattar, behavioural scientist and paranormalist (Singapore)
17 Feb 2016, Wed 7:30pm - 10:00pm
17 Feb 2016, Wed 7:30pm - 10:00pm

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Take a journey through Singapore’s paranormal activity with an interactive seminar illustrating the scientific logic and methodology that paranormal investigators use in their research. The night concludes with a spooky tour followed by a live paranormal investigation.

The evening starts at NTU CCA Singapore, Block 43 Malan Road. Please wear comfortable walking shoes and bring insect repellent.

This Exhibition (de)Tour is part of the Education and Public Programme of Joan Jonas: They Come to Us without a Word.

Yasser Mattar is a paranormalist and behavioural scientist and as such he has recently authored Workplace Warfare: How to Survive Incompetent Colleagues, Horrible Bosses & Organizational Theatrics, a book on commonplace, but nonetheless nasty, office politics. As a paranormalist, with the Singapore Paranormal Investigators, he has investigated many paranormal phenomena, including Thai black magic, parallel dimensions, and abandoned buildings. He conducted numerous talks and tours for organisations including Kaplan, NUS, and SOTA.

Screening of More than Honey by Markus Imhoof, artist and filmmaker (Switzerland)
26 Feb 2016, Fri 7:30pm - 9:00pm
26 Feb 2016, Fri 7:30pm - 9:00pm

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In Markus Imhoof‘s documentary, beekeepers, scientists, and others discuss the world’s declining bee population and what it may mean for modern society. Fifty years ago, Einstein had already insisted on the symbiotic relationship binding these pollen gathers to mankind: “If bees were to disappear from the globe,” he predicted, “mankind would only have four years left to live.”

This screening is part of the Education and Public Programme of Joan Jonas: They Come to Us without a Word.

Exhibition (de)Tour with John Ascher, Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Science, National University of Singapore (United States/Singapore)
2 Mar 2016, Wed 7:30pm - 9:00pm
2 Mar 2016, Wed 7:30pm - 9:00pm

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John Ascher will explore the mysterious world of bees, from cloak-and-dagger cuckoos, night raptors, and origami masons, to flesh-eating vultures. This talk will introduce a spectacular range of unfamiliar morphologies and behaviours as well as bee pollinators and explain how discoveries from research expeditions reveal their secrets. Specimens of many of these incredible bees will be available for viewing.

This Exhibition (de)Tour is part of the Education and Public Programme of Joan Jonas: They Come to Us without a Word.

John Ascher is an assistant professor at the Department of Biological Sciences of the National University of Singapore whose research focuses on the taxonomy, distribution, ecology, and conservation of bees and wasps. He is also a Research Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Museum of Biodiversity Research and of the American Museum of Natural History. He received his Ph.D. in Entomology from Cornell University in 2004. In 2005, he initiated digitisation of label data for bee specimens using web-based software, a project later expanded to include more than ten collections.

Screening of selected films by Mark Nash, curator, writer, Visiting Associate Professor at NTU CCA Singapore and the School of Art, Design and Media Nanyang Technological University (United Kingdom/Singapore)
18 Mar 2016, Fri 7:30pm - 10:00pm
18 Mar 2016, Fri 7:30pm - 10:00pm

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Lives of Performers by Yvonne Rainer, USA, 1972, 90 min, English
Lives of Performers, the first feature film by the choreographer and co-founder of the Judson Dance Theater Yvonne Rainer, explores the overlapping and at times, disjunctive languages of cinema and performance. Developed from a dance performance choreographed by Rainer, it plays with generic conventions of melodrama to explore the dilemmas of women struggling to define themselves in relation to masculinist scripts.

Wind, Joan Jonas, USA, 1968, 5.37 min, Silent
Wind is a 1968 performance film. Cutting between snowy fields and a raw seashore, Jonas focuses on a group of performers moving through a windswept landscape. The 16mm film — silent, black and white, jerky, and sped-up — evokes early cinema, while its content locates it in the spare minimalism of the late 1960s.

Duet, Joan Jonas, USA, 1968, 4.25 min. English
Duet is a classic early video performance. In this seminal exploration of the phenomenology of video as a mirror and as “reality,” Jonas, face-to-face with her own recorded image, performs a duet with herself.

This screening is part of the Education and Public Programme of Joan Jonas: They Come to Us without a Word.

Mark Nash is an independent curator and writer, and, until recently, Professor and Head of Department, Curating Contemporary Art at the Royal College of Art, London. Currently he is at NTU CCA Singapore and the School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University as Visiting Associate Professor. Nash was Director of Fine Art Research at Central Saint Martins and has been a senior lecturer in Film History and Theory at the University of East London, and visiting lecturer at the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program and the MA in Film Curating at Birkbeck University of London.

Image credit: Yvonne Rainer, still from Lives of Performers, 1972

Workshop and Screening of selected films by Mark Nash
19 Mar 2016, Sat 1:00pm - 4:00pm
19 Mar 2016, Sat 1:00pm - 4:00pm

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Mark Nash will discuss selected works chosen from a period of intense experimentation with the new medium of video art. In their early works Richard Foreman, Terry Fox, and Martha Rosler explore quasi-didactic scenarios similar to those Jonas has employed in works including They Come to Us without a Word. They all share a minimalist aesthetic dictated by the limitations of the technology, in camera edits or rough mixes being the only ways of transition within the standard 30 minute recording tape.

This workshop and screening is part of the Education and Public Programme of Joan Jonas: They Come to Us without a Word.

Mark Nash is an independent curator and writer, and, until recently, Professor and Head of Department, Curating Contemporary Art at the Royal College of Art, London. Currently he is at NTU CCA Singapore and the School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University as Visiting Associate Professor. Nash was Director of Fine Art Research at Central Saint Martins and has been a senior lecturer in Film History and Theory at the University of East London, and visiting lecturer at the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program and the MA in Film Curating at Birkbeck University of London.

Image credit: Joan Jonas, Production still from Mirage, 1976. Courtesy of the artist.

Exhibition (de)Tour with Kenneth Dean, Head of Chinese Studies Department, National University of Singapore (United States/Singapore)
30 Mar 2016, Wed 7:30pm - 9:00pm
30 Mar 2016, Wed 7:30pm - 9:00pm

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Kenneth Dean will confront questions like “What happens in the afterlife?” “Do ghosts get bored and lonely?” and “Can we plan what happens to our spirits when we die?” In the course of the (de)Tour, Dean will elaborate on how Chinese religion deals with ghosts through rituals and traditions.

This Exhibition (de)Tour is part of the Education and Public Programme of Joan Jonas: They Come to Us without a Word.

Kenneth Dean is currently Head of Chinese Studies Department at the National University of Singapore. His research interests include Chinese religions, temples, and Daoist studies. He received his B.A in Chinese Studies from Brown University and Ph.D. in Asian Studies from Stanford University and has taught at McGill University, where he was Director of the Centre for East Asian Research. Dean has been published widely and is the author of numerous books on Daoism and Chinese religions. He has produced a documentary, Bored in Heaven (2010), about ritual celebrations around Chinese New Year in Southeast China.

Image credit: A fashi-led ceremony, 2012