In four hours, I'm meeting Thu downstairs and we're setting off for the airport. Big mess of feelings. The heart = the way the head feels in aeroplanes: both heavy and light.
We had a big proper roundtable over at La Fenetre at 4ish. Everyone recapping, summarising, distilling their thoughts. Lotsa mushy stuff.
KS made me and the other documenters start. I said something like, I feel I have been a very bad documenter. I have spent all this time documenting the details of the official events of the FCP program, when the most important work has gone on between and beyond the schedule: late-night drinks and truant tourism. The casual bonds artists make with each other. The FCP programme is only a bamboo lattice and we are snakes and creepers among it.
(KS, incidentally, still wants me to redevelop the bits on Singapore Superintense and our first two days in Vietnam. Grrrrr. :P)
Other things that were said:
KS: I must say, I’m glad that we’re leaving. I must say I’m glad that it’s finished. Because I feel I need the time to unpack it. I’m glad that I’m going straight on to making new work, because I know that it’ll be used for research."
Ka Fai: It’s almost like an art concentration camp. For me the interesting thing is you become friends first, before you see each others’ work.
Meg: Very intensive. Very overloaded. This question of presentation – you always have to think, what space do you mean? There was a sense of curiosity, in the act of listening, a sense of play - and no sense of pressure, because normally in work I have a lot of pressure to create.
Marc: It is so important not to have any curator: not inviting curators who could BUY it.
Caden: It’s a phantom economy of ideas. There’s no real economy to it, but it’s something that we’re all taking with us.
Koosil-Ja: For me, I will always think about the gathering of TiTan café that morning. That particular mood, that particular experience I had, was just interesting just so… new to me. There's a difference to the gathering from anything I experienced.
Katarina: To me, it’s right now, to stand in the middle of a kaleidescope. It’s very special fragments of work we’ve been doing – it’s overwhelming. And in Vietnam, to see all this tension, the complexity, it’s enormous. In many ways, this is kind of unfinished business. I have no idea how this will come out. I am sure I will meet several of you in different situations. I will stay here for another two weeks, and I have no plans – I will try to keep this kaleidescope going.
Tadasu: I’m wondering what I should do now. I’m thinking the apocalypse, the end of the world will come now. And this opportunity, meeting here, is very interesting in terms of n order to think how we stop our life. What we have to miss to think about stopping. Instead of make more stuff. More important. Production, so this is very good because we don’t have to make some have the opportunity given to think. And also we all come from different countries, this issue isn’t whether you are social - if you die, everybody dies.
Naeem: E-mail gives this idea of proximity. Bt all you can do over e-mail is talk about work.
Julie: I’m actually excited to see how this is going to diffuse. Because everyone in my community is like, oh wow, Vietnam, oh wow, Singapore. But now I can now tell really great stories about all the great artists I’ve met and set you up with gigs, be a matchmaker. Close-knit communities? That’s cool. But I’m really eager to let it turn into gossip.
Naeem: The ultimate privilege is not money, but passports. The ability to travel. Mobility is power and access.
Marc: For me as an Italian, I noticed there were a few days people were trying to contact me by telephone and e-mail. And I told them I’m sorry I’m in Vietnam, I’m in Singapore, can we talk later. And as a one, they would tell me, oh sorry for disturbing you, have a good holiday. Because for them, Asia doesn’t exist for work. Could you do something like this in Brussels?
On the Role of the Artist
Rachid: Here in this group I feel I have a kind of immunity, an artistic passport. I can do whatever I want. It does question me a lot.
David: It's often boring for people to present in the country of art. Perhaps we take the passport of art. It's interesting, thinking of responsibility.
Tadasu: It's time to rethink the meaning of success.
KS: I thought Melati was very strong here. What is our responsibility here? What is our role here? The very act of shifting the site means becoming more aware of ourselves and our audience.
Trung Lung: One thing is, we should have brought you to a rural area near Saigon. As it is, we have to explore our city with each two years.
Julie: Singapore is so open, trying to create its new identity; Vietnam is culture police, cyberpolice, on-the-dance-floor police. They could be here right now. That’s how we constantly feel all the time - people who still feel that paranoia. That’s a reflex.
Naeem: When the Vietnamese artists presented, they always opened by apologising that they couldn’t speak English. But we never opened by apologising that we couldn’t speak Vietnamese.
Julie: I feel because of the translation. It just makes me think about how vulnerable language is.
We broke late and headed over to Cafe 44 for Wonderful Evening, organised by the French/Viet collective Wonderful District - experimental club music, video art, quiche and gratinated croque monsieurs, and complimentary two drinks on Theatreworks's tab. I popped off early to go semi-gay clubbing at Lush with Thu and Arlette (only mixed clubs in HCMC), and ended up bumping into Vietnamese video artist Tu and his friends. He gave me a T-shirt. :)
Loads more to upload... more pictures, and a few interviews coming soon. But the 100 perfect hours are over. Now comes the age of imperfection.