Han Nefkens Foundation – Fundació Antoni Tàpies Video Art Production Award
Tekla Aslanishvili
A State in A State

11 Oct 2022, Tue – 6 Nov 2022, Sun
The Screening Room, Block 38 Malan Road, #01-06
12 pm – 7pm, every day except Monday
Film starts every hour

Premier Screening: Tuesday 11 October, 7:00pm-8:30pm
The screening will be followed by a conversation between the artist Tekla Aslanishvili, artistic-scientific collaborator Dr. Evelina Gambino and Assistant Professor Dr. Marc Gloede, School of Art, Design and Media, NTU, Singapore.
The welcome will be given by Ute Meta Bauer, Professor, School of Art, Design and Media, and Founding Director, NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore, and Dr. Karin Oen, Senior Lecturer and Head of Department, Art History, NTU School of Humanities.

A State in a State is the result of Aslanishvili winning the Han Nefkens Foundation – Fundació Antoni Tàpies Video Art Production Grant 2020, in collaboration with Jameel Art Centre, Dubai; the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design in Manila; NTU CCA Singapore and WIELS, Brussels. The Award appraises the work of emerging artists aged 40 and under, who live in West or Central Asia and have established a solid trajectory but not yet received recognition by international art institutions.

Aslanishvili was selected by an international jury, including NTU CCA Singapore’s Founding Director Ute Meta Bauer and former Deputy Director of Curatorial Programmes, Dr Karin Oen, for her body of meticulously researched work and her commitment to exploring a specific geopolitical context, whilst connecting to a wider discourse on the impact of extractivist economies on a planetary scale.

A State in a State is an experimental documentary following the construction, disruption, and fragmentation of railroads in the South Caucasus and Caspian regions. It examines railways as a technical materialisation of the fragile political borders that have re-emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Tekla Aslanishvili, A State in a state, 2022. colour, black and white, AVCHD Digital film; archival & found footage, sound, 47 min. video still. Commissioned by Han Nefkens Foundation – Fundació Antoni Tàpies Video Art Production Award. Image courtesy the Artist.

Revolving around the scenes of delay and waiting that constitute cargo mobility, the film reads the optimistic narratives about the New Silk Road against the grain. It observes how the iron foundation of connectivity can be used as a weapon of exclusion and geopolitical sabotage. Dotting the same lines, other forms of sabotage are deployed by workers to disrupt the political violence. Looking at historic and current practices of resistance, A State in a State explores the potential of railroads for building a different, infrastructural consciousness, and the lasting transnational kinship among the people who live and work around them

The film is developed in artistic-scientific collaboration with Dr. Evelina Gambino, Margaret Tyler Research Fellow in Geography at Girton College, University of Cambridge.



Research & Script: Tekla Aslanishvili / Evelina Gambino
Music: Ani Zakareishvili / Nika Pasuri
Cinematography: Nikoloz Tabukashvili / Tekla Aslanishvili
Typography: Dato Simonia

Editing: Tekla Aslanishvili
Sound: Viktor Bone / Irakli Shonia
Color: Sally Shamas

A State in a State will be also presented at the Fundació Antoni Tàpies in Barcelona  from October 8th till November 27th.

BIOGRAPHY

Tekla Aslanishvili (b. Tbilisi, 1988) is an artist, filmmaker and essayist based between Berlin and Tbilisi. Her works emerge at the intersection of infrastructural design, history and geopolitics. Tekla graduated from the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts in 2009 and she holds a MFA from the Berlin University of the Arts – the department of Experimental Film and New Media Art. Aslanishvili’s films have been screened and exhibited internationally at PACT Zollverein, Neue Berliner Kunstverein, Baltic Triennial, Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Kasseler Dokfest, Kunsthalle Münster, EMAF – European Media Art Festival, Videonale 18, Tbilisi Architecture Biennial. She is a 2018–2019 Digital Earth fellow, the nominee for Ars-Viva Art prize 2021 and the recipient of the Han Nefkens Foundation – Fundació Antoni Tàpies Video Art Production Award 2020.

Marc Glöde (PhD), is a curator, critic and film scholar. His work is focusing on the relation of images, technology, space, and the body, as well as the dynamics between fields such as art/architecture, art/film, and film/architecture. Since 2017 he is an Assistant Professor at NTU/ADM, Singapore and Co-Director of the MA in Museum Studies and Curatorial Practices.

About Han Nefkens Foundation
The Han Nefkens Foundation was established in 2009 with the aim of connecting people through art. In 2016, Han Nefkens decided to focus exclusively on supporting emerging and mid-career international video artists through Awards, Production Grants, and Mentorship Grants. The Foundation is not only involved in producing new works with the artists, but also finding international residencies, producing publications, purchasing working tools, finding technical support, and bringing artists into contact with art institutions and peers. With an extensive network in countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Korea, Ecuador, Peru, Spain, and the Netherlands, the Foundation is able to present artists to a diverse and global audience.

Judging Panel
The winner has been selected by a judging panel chaired by Han Nefkens, Founder of the Han Nefkens Foundation; Carles Guerra, representing the Fundació Antoni Tàpies; Ute Meta Bauer, Founding Director of the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art; Dirk Snauwaert, Director of WIELS; Joselina Cruz, Director/Curator at Museum of Contemporary Art and Design and Nora Razian, Head of Exhibitions at Jameel Arts Centre, in the presence of Hilde Teerlinck, Director of the Han Nefkens Foundation; Alessandra Biscaro, Coordinator of the Han Nefkens Foundation; Zoë Gray: Senior Curator of WIELS and Karin Oen, Deputy Director, Curatorial Programmes at NTU Centre for Contemporary Art.

Image Credits
Tekla Aslanishvili
A State in A State, 2022
Colour, black and white, AVCHD Digital film; archival & found footage, sound, 47 min.
video still
Commissioned by Han Nefkens Foundation – Fundació Antoni Tàpies Video Art Production Award
Courtesy the Artist

Through the wide-angle lens of her research-based methodology, the artist will traverse the symbolic mapping of this migrant diaspora’s socio-cultural realities emblazoned in official accounts. She will focus on issues of exploitation and gender exclusion and employ computer-generated imagery and postcolonial linguistics to devise new storytelling approaches that subvert the hegemony of colonial epistemologies and bring to the surface silenced narratives, particularly those of Tamizh women.

Starting off the second season of AiRCAST, we hand over the microphone to curator and writer Anca Rujoiu to interview our Artist-in-Residence Priyageetha Dia. Priyageetha and Anca are fresh out of a year-long collaboration that culminated in Forget Me, Forget Me Not (2022), Priyageetha’s solo exhibition curated by Anca which opened last May. In this conversation they share about the background research, interests, and aesthetic strategies behind the new body of work presented in the exhibition. They also expand upon the significance of colonial histories and marginalised communities, agency and empowerment, as well as media and materials in Priyageetha’s practice.

Spanning moving image, sculpture, as well as performance and installation, the practice of Priyageetha Dia (b. 1992, Singapore) addresses identity politics by questioning dominant narratives, material histories, and socio-spatial relations. In the past few years, she has been experimenting with world-making gestures that rehash stories of repression and envision alternative futures. Her works have been included in several group exhibitions including Attention Seeker, La Trobe Art Institute, Bendigo, Australia (2022); An Exercise of Meaning in a Glitch Season, National Gallery Singapore (2020); 2219: Futures Imagined, ArtScience Museum Singapore (2019).

Anca Rujoiu is a Romanian curator and editor who has been living and working in Singapore since 2013. Taking an artist-centred approach, she is committed to artistic practices beyond the West and to what falls through the cracks within its borders. She was a member of the founding team of NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore, as Curator of Exhibitions (2013–15) and Head of Publications (2016–18) and she has curated numerous exhibitions, public programs, and publishing projects.  Currently, she is a Ph.D. candidate at Monash University with a research focused on institution building, artists-led institutions, and transnational exchanges.

Contributors: Priyageetha Dia, Anca Rujoiu
Editor: Anna Lovecchio
Programme Manager: Nadia Amalina
Sound Engineer: Ashwin Menon
Intro & Outro Music: Yuen Chee Wai
Cover Image & Design: Arabelle Zhuang, Kristine Tan

CREDITS
03’03”: Audio excerpt from WE.REMAIN.IN.MULTIPLE.MOTIONS_MALAYA, 2022. Courtesy the artist.
17’17”: Audio excerpt from WE.REMAIN.IN.MULTIPLE.MOTIONS_MALAYA, 2022. Courtesy the artist.
19’10”: Audio excerpt from WE.REMAIN.IN.MULTIPLE.MOTIONS_MALAYA, 2022. Courtesy the artist.
32’07”: Audio excerpt from WE.REMAIN.IN.MULTIPLE.MOTIONS_MALAYA, 2022. Courtesy the artist.

[See Full Transcript]

Thinking in terms of borders and boundaries, either physical and symbolic, the artist intends to map out the lived experience of forced mobility and dispossession as well as its underlying power struggles and emotional trails. His research will revolve specifically on migrant songs, a cultural expression often characterized by melancholic melodies and sombre lyrics that speaks of longing, hard work, and perseverance. Conveying the experience of otherness and stirring emotions of communality, migrant songs haunts our times of unprecedented global mass migration and the contemporary debates surrounding exclusionary nationalist politics. Through participatory workshops aimed at lyric writing, music composition, and vocalisation, migrant songs will be created and disseminated in an effort to redraw boundaries of belonging.

In our third episode, we open up this platform for the first time to a guest interviewer. We invited artist and filmmaker Kent Chan to pick the brain of our Artist-in-Residence Yeo Siew Hua. Beyond being both filmmakers and artists, Siew Hua and Kent have been occasional collaborators in the past and, most importantly, they are also long-time friends. Hear them speak candidly about the intertwined cycles of art-making and fund-raising, the blurred line between cinema and visual arts, as well as the philosophical underpinnings and the importance of collaboration in Siew Hua’s practice.  

The practice of Yeo Siew Hua (b. 1985, Singapore) spans film directing and screenwriting. His films probe the darkest side of contemporary society through narratives layered with mysterious atmospheres, inscrutable characters, and mythological references, all steeped in arresting visuals and sounds. His last feature film A Land Imagined (2018) harnessed recognition around the world receiving the Golden Leopard at the 71st Locarno Film Festival and the Best Original Screenplay and Best Original Music Score Awards at the 56th Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival. 

After A Land Imagined, Siew Hua has created a number of short films, one of which, An Invocation to the Earth (2020), commissioned by the Singapore International Film Festival and TBA21, was co-produced with NTU CCA Singapore. An Invocation to the Earth can be viewed online at www.stage.tba21.org. During the residency, Siew Hua has been completing his next major production titled The Once and Future, an expanded cinema project which will premiere at the Singapore International Festival of Arts 2022. In 2021, he received the Young Artist Award, Singapore’s highest award for young arts practitioners.

Kent Chan (b. 1984, Singapore) is an artist, curator, and filmmaker currently based in Amsterdam. His practice weaves encounters between art, fiction, and cinema with a particular interest in the tropical imagination, colonialism, and the relation between heat and art. He has held solo presentations at Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht, Netherlands (2020-21), National University Singapore Museum (2019-21) and SCCA-Ljubljana, Centre for Contemporary Arts, Slovenia (2017). He was Artist-in-Residence at Jan van Eyck Academie (2019-20) and at NTU CCA Singapore (2017-2018). 

Contributors: Yeo Siew Hua, Kent Chan 
Conducted by: Anna Lovecchio 
Programme Manager: Kristine Tan 
Sound Engineer: Ashwin Menon (The Music Parlour)
Intro & Outro Music: Tini Aliman 
Cover Image & Design: Arabelle Zhuang, Kristine Tan

Credits:
06’42”: Audio excerpt from Yeo Siew Hua, A Land Imagined, 2018. Courtesy the artist.
11’46”: Audio excerpt from Yeo Siew Hua, The Obs: A Singapore Story, 2014. Courtesy the artist.
22’55”: Audio excerpt from Yeo Siew Hua, The Once and Future, 2022. Courtesy the artist.
40’49”: Audio excerpt from Yeo Siew Hua, The Lover, The Excess, The Ascetic and the Fool, 2021. Courtesy the artist.

[See Full Transcript]

Yeo Siew Hua’s (b. 1985, Singapore) practice spans film directing and screenwriting. His last feature film, A Land Imagined (2018) was awarded the Golden Leopard at the 71st Locarno Film Festival, Switzerland (2019) and selected as Singapore’s entry to the 92nd Academy Awards’ Best International Feature Film category, United States (2020). Extending beyond conventional cinema festivals and networks, Yeo’s films have also been shown at contemporary art venues including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, United States (2018), and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Taipei, Taiwan (both 2018). He is co-founder of 13 Little Pictures, a vanguard film collective which organises experimental film labs around Southeast Asia.

Tangled with her own experience of migration, cultural collision, and displacement, the works of Sung Tieu often elicit a variety of sensorial engagements. During the residency, the artist plans to explore the sonic environment of Singapore guided by the following questions: What is the soundscape of a financial capital that trades mostly in abstract exchange rather than in material production? Who occupies public space and in what acoustic proportion? How do aural economies affect the multi-species inhabitants of the city on physical, psychological, and emotional levels? How does sound convey different political and environmental climates? Her investigation on the sounds of contemporary Singapore will also encompass instances of oral communication that operate in a multicultural context characterised by a large linguistic diversity. For this long-term project, Tieu intends to explore the acoustic ecology of several urban soundscapes, extending her research in Vietnam and, possibly, other Southeast Asian countries.

Jompet Kuswidananto is an artist. His works examine issues of colonialism, politics, power and mass mobilisation, and the notion of the state of transition in the context of post-reformation Indonesia. Between December 2015 and February 2016, Kuswidananto was Artist-in-Residence at NTU CCA Singapore. During the Residencies: OPEN, he presented Noda (2016), a site-specific intervention in his studio, a physical translation of “historical leaks” in Indonesia’s recent history that are breaking public silence and becoming visible.

The period between 1948 and 1960 witnessed the forced exodus of over 35,000 Malayan leftists to Southern China, including the artist’s own grandfather. Expanding on her long-term research project which excavates overlooked and contested histories of the Malayan anti-colonial war and her own family histories, Sim Chi Yin intends to trace the trajectories of the Malayan deportees, excavating both their individual experiences and the institutional circumstances which lead to their disappearance from collective memory. With the ports of Singapore being both sites of transit and origins of deportation, during the residency Sim will further her investigation through archival research and oral history interviews working towards the development of a new work. Often evoking a sense of spatial haunting, her aesthetic approach consistently slips away from the documentary into the realm of the affective, the imaginary, and the spectral.

Photographer and artist Sim Chi Yin (b. 1978, Singapore/United Kingdom) combines rigorous research with intimate storytelling to explore issues relating to history, memory, conflict, and migration. Recent solo exhibitions include One Day We‚ll Understand, Landskrona Foto Festival, Sweden (2020), One Day We‚ll Understand, Hanart TZ Gallery, Hong Kong (2019) andMost People Were Silent, Institute of Contemporary Arts,LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore (2018). Her work has also been included in group shows such asMost People Were Silent, Aesthetica Art Prize, York Art Gallery, United Kingdom (2019);UnAuthorised Medium, Framer Framed, Amsterdam, The Netherlands;Relics, Jendela (Visual Arts Space) Gallery, Esplanade, Singapore (both 2018); and the 15thIstanbul Biennial, Turkey (2017). Sim was commissioned as the Nobel Peace Prize photographer in 2017, nominated for the Vera List Center‚ Jane Lombard Prize for Art and Social Justice 2020 and shortlisted as a finalist for theTim Hetherington TrustVisionary Award 2020.

As part of her residency, Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn will expand on The Archive as a Subject, a long-term project that positions photographs and other vernacular artefacts at the junction of the private and the public, as well as the personal and the political, raising complex global issues related to concepts of territory, migration, and identity. Looking at the traces of her own family’s history, she aims to explore the friction that is generated when such mundane items are appropriated by institutional narratives, especially when they are framed in different cultural contexts. While in Singapore, she intends to further her research looking specifically at the history of the refugee camp in Sembawang which housed Vietnamese refugees for twenty years.

Pelin Tan (b. 1974,Turkey) is a sociologist and art historian based in Mardin, Turkey. Assoc.Prof. at Architecture Faculty, Mardin Artuklu University and contributor of The Silent University (educational platform for/by refugees/migrants). Currently visiting Assoc.Prof. at School of Design, Hong Kong PolyU (2016). Fellow of ACT Program, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Tan is a member of Art1kisler video collective. She is the Turkey curator of Actopolis project (Goethe Inst. Athens, 2015 ‚ 2017). Lead author of Towards New Urban Society– IPSP (Edts.Saskia Sassen&Edgar Pieterse, 2015 ‚ 2017). Tan participated in Lisbon Architecture Triennial (2013), Montreal Biennial (2014), Istanbul Biennial (2007, 2015), Oslo Architecture Triennial (2016), Cyprus Pavilion, Venice Architecture Biennial (2016). Residencies: CCA Kitakyushu (2015), IASPIS (2008), GeoAir (2011).