Priyageetha Dia is an arts practitioner who experiments with time-based media, 3D animation and game engine software. Her practice addresses the transnational migration of ethnic communities and the intersections of the colonial production with land, labour and capital in Southeast Asia through speculative methods and counter-narratives. She has been invited to participate in several exhibitions including the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India (2022); 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). She was a recipient of the IMPART Art Award in 2019.
The migratory movements of her ancestral lineage from Southern India to Malaysia, and later to Singapore, sparked Priyageetha’s deep-seated engagement in South Asian diasporic histories, the labour relations that underlie plantation agriculture in Malaya and the vast terrain of colonial narratives. Interweaving these research threads in her multimedia practice, her works figure alternative histories that empower subaltern forms of existence.
During her residency at Jan Van Eyck Academie, the artist is interested in delving deeper into the emergence and expansion of agro-industrial plantation projects, the dispossession and displacement of lands and communities in Southeast Asia, and their relation to The Netherlands through archival research. Moreover, the residency will provide her with a supportive environment to articulate critical viewpoints and counter-narratives through her ongoing and self-led experiments with computer-generated imagery (CGI), animation technologies and game engine software while also allowing her to gain an understanding of issues related to contemporary transnational interactions within Southeast Asia and Europe.
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
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.
In encountering Balinese cultural artifacts brought to European museums during the colonial period and examining the cultural diplomacy politics enacted by the colonizers, she aims to excavate pre-colonial Balinese culture and understand how the perspectives and aesthetic criteria formed under colonial rule persist until today. The artist is interested in developing a critical reading of the journey of colonial legacies into the present and in understanding how they still inform contemporary cultural consciousness.
By providing her with direct access to historical archives and museum collections, the residency will allow Citra to deepen her understanding of the influence of Dutch colonial power onto the development of visual arts and culture in Bali.
Find out more about SEA AiR.
With a background in literature and physics, Citra Sasmita is a self-taught painter who turned to the visual arts after working as an illustrator at a local newspaper in Bali. By unravelling myths and misconceptions that persist in Balinese culture, her work imagines secular mythologies for a post-patriarchal future. She is deeply invested in the social empowerment of women and in questioning gender hierarchies and normative constructs. Her work is regularly exhibited within Indonesia and has been presented internationally at the Kathmandu Triennale, Nepal (2021–2022); and ParaSite Hong Kong (2020). In 2020, she received for the UOB Museum MACAN Children’s Art Space Commission and she is the Gold Award Winner of the UOB Painting of The Year 2017.
Hendrik Folkerts (b. 1984, Netherlands) is one of the curators of documenta 14. He studied Art History at the University of Amsterdam, specializing in contemporary art and theory, feminist practices and contemporary curatorial practices. From 2010 until 2015, he was Curator of Performance, Film & Discursive Programmes at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Folkerts curated the Public Programme of The Temporary Stedelijk at the Stedelijk Museum, a special interim program that was presented from August 2010 until October 2011, as well as Temporary Stedelijk 3: Stedelijk @ (TS3) from October 2011 until September 2012. Prior to his position at the Stedelijk Museum, Folkerts was co-ordinator of the Curatorial Programme at De Appel arts centre in Amsterdam from 2009 until 2011. He frequently publishes in journals and on platforms such as Artforum, The Exhibitionist, Metropolis M and for the Stedelijk Museum (Bureau) Amsterdam. Folkerts is (co)editor of Shadowfiles: Curatorial Education (Amsterdam: de Appel arts centre, 2013, ed. with Ann Demeester) and Facing Forward: Art & Theory from a Future Perspective (Amsterdam: AUP, 2015, ed. with Christoph Lindner and Margriet Schavemaker).
The practice of Isabel Carvalho (b. 1977, Portugal) seeks to establish meaningful relationships between contemporary art, economics, politics, feminism, and sexuality. As part of her experimental practice, some of her projects bring together visual arts and writing in order to explore alternative methods of writing, publishing, and distributing. She is founder and chief editor of LEONORANA, a research magazine dedicated to experimental thinking. Between 2010-2018, she ran Navio Vazio, a project space that provided a three-dimensional extension to her publishing programme. Her works have been exhibited widely across Europe, and she has received solo presentations in Portugal, Germany, and Spain.
The residency of Isabel Carvalho was scheduled for January – March 2021, but the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak rendered international travel impossible.In order to continue to support artistic research and foster collaborations beyond borders, the NTU CCA Residencies Programme initiated project that trailblazes new pathways to collaboration.
Trinh T. Minh-ha is Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies and of Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley, and an award-winning artist and filmmaker. She grew up in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War and pursued her education at the National Conservatory of Music and Theater in Ho Chi Minh City. In 1970, she migrated to the United States where she continued her studies in music composition, ethnomusicology, and French literature at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She embarked on a career as an educator and has taught in diverse disciplines which brought her to the National Conservatory of Music in Dakar, Senegal, where she shot her first film, Reassemblage. Trinh’s cinematic oeuvre has been featured in numerous exhibitions and film festivals. She has participated in biennales across the globe including Documenta11, Kassel (2002), and most recently at Manifesta 13, Marseille (2020). A prolific writer, she has authored nine books. She is the author of several books including Lovecidal: Walking with the Disappeared (2016), D-Passage: The Digital Way (2013), and Elsewhere, Within Here: Immigration, Refugeeism and the Boundary Event (2011). Her film Surname Viet Given Name Nam (1989) was presented as an installation within NTU CCA Singapore’s inaugural exhibition Paradise Lost (2014).
Amanda Heng has championed the representation of women within exhibitions in Singapore through examining notions of the female body through her performances, her work with WITAS (Women in the Arts Singapore) and through various artists’ initiatives in the early 1990s.Heng’s recent work is focused on the issues of history, memory, communication and human relationships in urban conditions.
“Speaking nearby” to the exhibition Trinh T. Minh-ha. Films., this research presentation showcases the Wattis Institute’s year-long research season on Trinh’s multifaceted practice as a filmmaker, writer and theorist. What does the promise of “speaking nearby” rather than “speaking about” look like today? What are the politics of hospitality? What are the problematics of “post-feminism,” and how do we challenge the West as the authoritative subject of feminist knowledge? Expanding the discursive orbit of these questions, the presentation features projects by artists Hồng-Ân Trương (US) and Genevieve Quick (US), and is accompanied by the online convening Mother Always Has a Mother, a result of the ongoing research collaboration between NTU CCA Singapore, Rockbund Art Museum (Shanghai), and the Wattis Institute.
Conceived by Kim Nguyen (Canada/United States), Curator and Head of Programs, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts (Wattis), San Francisco.
Trinh T. Minh-ha. Films. is the first institutional exhibition of filmmaker, music composer, writer, anthropologist, feminist and postcolonial theorist Trinh T. Minh-ha in Asia, presented in an exhibition format. Five of her films—Forgetting Vietnam (2015), Night Passage (2004), The Fourth Dimension (2001), A Tale of Love (1995) and Shoot for the Contents (1991), filmed over a quarter of a century, in different parts of Asia—are simultaneously on view in five small-scale movie theatres in The Exhibition Hall. As the viewer wanders from one theatre to the next, the proximity of the films enables their narratives to interrelate. This spatial configuration took its point of departure from Trinh’s exhibition at the Secession, Vienna, in 2001.
Forgetting Vietnam, framed by two ancient Vietnamese myths, was made in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam war, touching on the memory of trauma. Night Passage, inspired by Miyazawa Kenji’s novel Milky Way Railroad (1927), narrates the spiritual journey of a young female immigrant and her two companions, into a world of in-between realities. Shot in Japan, The Fourth Dimension is Trinh’s first digital film. Using special video effects to composite images and sound in multiple layers, this film is an exploration of time through rituals of religion and culture, new technology and everyday reality. A Tale of Love is a retelling of 19th-century Vietnamese poem The Tale of Kiều (1820), through a modern-day Vietnamese immigrant in the United States. In this film, Trinh experiments with various cinematic techniques and elements. Shoot for the Contents, an excursion into allegories, explores cultural and political shifts in China, as refracted by the June Fourth incident in Beijing.
Presented in the Centre’s Single Screen from 31 October 2020 is Trinh’s newest cinematic work, What about China? (Part I of II, 2020–21). Initiated by NTU CCA Singapore, and co-commissioned with Rockbund Art Museum (RAM), Shanghai, the film takes the notion of harmony in China as a site of creative manifestation, and draws from footage shot in 1993 and 1994, in Eastern and Southern China, specifically from provinces Anhui, Hubei, Zhejiang, Fujian and Guangxi—linked to the remote origins of Chinese civilisation.
Through Trinh T. Minh-ha. Writings., a display of Trinh’s books on reading platforms along the passageway connecting the five theatres in The Exhibition Hall, as well as Why are they so afraid of a lotus?, presented in The Lab by CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts (Wattis), San Francisco, that showcases its year-long research season on her multifaceted practice, viewers are able to encounter her extensive writing that is core to her practice.
Trinh’s early films, Surname Viet Given Name Nam (1989), Naked Spaces—Living is Round (1985), and Reassemblage (1982), are part of an online film programme, Speaking / Thinking Nearby. Other films selected echo strands of discussions in Trinh’s layered practice, ranging from ethics of representation, to aspects of migration, global socio-politics, and feminism.
Besides the film programme Speaking/ Thinking Nearby, other public programmes include Mother Always Has a Mother, an online convening presented by the Centre, Wattis, and RAM, and “There is no such thing as documentary”, a conference that brings together filmmakers, film historians, and curators to question the politics embedded in presentation and representation, perception, context, and the spatial.
This is NTU CCA Singapore’s final presentation in its current exhibition space, its opening coinciding with the Centre’s seventh anniversary. By the end of this exhibition, the Centre would have hosted 55 exhibitions since its inception in 2013, inaugurated by the show Paradise Lost (2014), featuring works by Trinh T. Minh-ha alongside those of Zarina Bhimji and Fiona Tan.
Trinh T. Minh-ha. Films. is curated by Ute Meta Bauer (Germany/Singapore), Founding Director, NTU CCA Singapore, and Professor, NTU ADM.
This project focuses on the multi-layered practice of Trinh T. Minh-ha as a filmmaker, writer, music composer and educator, generating a multi-year (2019–2022) research and programme partnership between NTU CCA Singapore, RAM, Wattis, and the Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart.