The purpose of the award is to encourage recent graduates of NTU ADM’s research-oriented MA and PhD programmes and the MA in Museum Studies and Curatorial Practices (MSCP, co-chaired by NTU CCA Singapore) to engage in practical projects utilising the SGD$5000 award to investigate the topic of Spaces of the Curatorial as an extension of their research and coursework. Now in its third year, the 2022 award goes to Thomas Ragnar, a 2021 graduate of the MA in Museum Studies and Curatorial Practices, for Endless Return Pack v.1, a compilation album featuring artists working within expanded and experimental dance music genres from Singapore and Southeast Asia. The project is co-curated with Sher Chew (aka XUE), founder of the series Endless Return.
The selection committee included Prof Ute Meta Bauer and two invited jurors: Ms Siddharta Perez, Curator at NUS Museum, and Dr Adele Tan, Senior Curator at National Gallery Singapore.
The album will be released in 2022. Ragnar describes Endless Return as “a regenerative rave experiment.” Upon the announcement of the award, he commented: “Since August 2020, Endless Return have hosted several online events programmed with music, dance, and video projects by artists across Southeast Asia who work with rave culture, energy, history and aesthetics. The Platform Projects Curatorial Award will support the migration offline of Endless Return in 2022 through publishing initiatives, music and video releases, and live events developed by XUE and myself together with Endless Return‘s larger artistic community.”
“The Platform Projects Curatorial Award is a rare opportunity for emerging curators to realise a project and is a necessary initiative especially during a time when arts funding is contracting globally” says Ute Meta Bauer, Founding Director, NTU CCA Singapore, and Professor, NTU School of Art, Design and Media.
Ragnar adds that: “The MA programme offered jointly by ADM and NTU CCA Singapore boldly champions curatorial approaches and positions that make a conscious effort to take risks and depart from the often delimiting contexts of contemporary art, and of its hyper-specialised conditions. I am honoured to realise these positions and approaches with my collaborator XUE with the support of the Platform Projects grant. Both XUE and I are grateful to be enabled to support and advance the forward-thinking underground and regenerative spirit of Endless Return‘s artistic communities.”
The Award’s Pilot Programme supported <!DOCTYPE work>, a collaborative curatorial effort conceived by 2019 MA MSCP graduates Tian Lim, Shireen Marican, and Leon Tan, presented in The Lab at NTU CCA Singapore from 22 August – 18 October 2020. The next edition of the award went to Of Limits Collective, a group of five 2020 MA MSCP alumni comprising: Sneha Chaudhury, Weiqin Chay, Ace Lê, Jason Leung, and Beatrice Morel. They realized their exhibition Of Limits in March 2021 at the Stamford Arts Centre, featuring work by six artists from Southeast Asia, with most artworks having been produced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the occasion of the Pilot Programme, launched in 2020, Savita Apte from Platform Projects commented on behalf of her former co-directors Shareen Khattar and Christine Pilsbury: “We are all of one mind and delighted that Platform Projects can still be significant for a younger generation of curators.”