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.

The making of each film transforms the way I see myself and the world. Once I start engaging in the process of making a film or in any artistic excursion, I am also embarking upon a journey whose point of arrival is unknown to me.”

—Trinh T. Minh-ha

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.

Trinh T. MInh-ha, Forgetting Vietnam, 2015. Courtesy the artist.

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.

Trinh T. Minh-ha, What about China? (Part I of II), 2020–21, film still. Courtesy Moongift Films.

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.

Trinh T. Minh-ha. Films public programmes
Conference: There is no such thing as documentary

Amanda Heng is an artist. With an interest in the clash of Eastern and Western values, traditions, and gender roles in the context of a multicultural and fast-changing society of Singapore, her work embraces different media including performance. Between April and September 2015, Heng was Artist-in-Residence at NTU CCA Singapore. During her residency, she developed the series Exchange of Everyday Rituals (Forms of Engagement), which included Contact Improvisation with dancer Eng Kai Er and Tea and Sounds with NTU CCA Singapore’s curator Vera Mey, and the studio intervention The Body, Wall Space, and a Smile.

The rich visual language of Dana Awartani’s (b. 1987, Saudi Arabia) paintings, sculptures, and textile installations incorporate traditional Islamic art forms into contemporary aesthetics. Engaging with the relationship between geometry and nature, she harnesses the timeless and enduring relevance of forms in order to deconstruct contemporary issues such as gender, faith, loss, and cultural destruction. Past solo exhibitions include The Silence Between Us, Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (2018) and Detroit Affinities: Dana Awartani, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, United States (2017). She has participated in numerous group shows and biennales such as Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016, Kochi, India and the 1st Yinchuan Biennale, Museum of Contemporary Art, Yinchuan, China (both 2016), among others.

The artist was scheduled to be in-residence from July – Sept 2020. Due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak and international travel restrictions, the artist was unable to participate in the residency programme physically.

Mierle Laderman Ukeles is an influential pioneer of maintenance art. Her work also revolves around feminist art. She is best known for her Manifesto for Maintenance Art 1969! Proposal for an Exhibition “CARE” (1969), a proposal for an exhibition to display maintenance work as contemporary art. Since 1977, she has been an unsalaried artist-in-residence at the New York City Department of Sanitation where she creates art that deals with urban waste flows, recycling, ecology, urban sustainability, and our power to transform degraded land and water into healthy inhabitable public places.

Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez is an independent curator, editor, and writer based in Paris whose research interest spans situated curatorial practices, empathy, transnational feminism, slow institutions, degrowth, and performative practices in the former Eastern Europe.She is the curator of the Contour Biennale 9 (Mechelen, Belgium, 2019). She is developing, with Giovanna Zapperi, the first comprehensive exhibition of the videos of French actress and feminist activist Delphine Seyrig (1932-1990). She co-founded, with Elisabeth Lebovici and Patricia Falguières,Something You Should Know, a seminar series held at the School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS) and she is a member of the research group Travelling Féministe at the Centre audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir, both in Paris.

Her previous exhibitions include: Let’s Talk about the Weather. Art and Ecology in a Time of Crisis (curated with Nora Razian), Sursock Museum (Beirut, Lebanon, 2016); Becoming Earthlings. Blackmarket for Useful Knowledge and Non-Knowledge #18 (curated with Alexander Klose, Council, and Mobile Academy), Musée de l’Homme (Paris, France, 2015); Tales of Empathy, Jeu de Paume (Paris, France, 2014), and Resilience, Triennial of Contemporary Art, Museum of Contemporary Art (Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2013) amongst others. Petrešin-Bachelez was chief editor of L’Internationale Online (2014-2017) and of the Manifesta Journal (2012-2014); co-director of Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers (2010-2012), and co-founder of Cluster, an European network of small-scale art institutions. She has contributed texts to numerous publications and magazines such e-flux journalBidounSarai Reader, SpringerinParkett Magazine.