Pacific Crossings
On Attachments and Unknowns: On Sharing Unstable Space

@ 7:00pm

Talk by Erin Gleeson
Luxe Hall

A guest of the Pacific Crossings series, curator Erin Gleeson will speak about affinitive artistic and curatorial strategies at work in the 2017 exhibition On Attachments and Unknowns. Taking place in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, this group exhibition was held within a research residency FIELDS (2017), hosted by SA SA BASSAC, a non-profit contemporary art space in Phnom Penh (2011-2018). Thirteen artists’ works were convened in part to consider practices of imaging personalized counter-visions to statecraft ideologies and methods in their respective contexts. On Attachments and Unknowns looked to the space of the ‘How’ to let an exhibition be an unstable space that follows artist’s intentions to resist immediacy of message. With each artist and work located in Southeast Asia, and all but one artist identifying as female, a reflection on the exhibition proposes a series of questions: What can a regionalist and gendered framing of an exhibition offer? How can one curatorially rhyme with the methods by which artists conceive of power within their primarily authoritarian environments? How can an exhibition resist the habit to communicate artist’s resolve, action or agency within political and social movements?

Presented as part of Pacific Crossings, in collaboration with Artspeak and the Richmond Art Gallery


Erin Gleeson is an independent curator, researcher and writer. Her work is rooted in knowledge and practices in and related to Southeast Asia, with current focuses on indigeneity and contemporary art in the region, and exhibition histories of Cambodia. Erin was the co-founding director and curator of SA SA BASSAC, a non-profit exhibition space, reading room and resource center in Phnom Penh (2011-2018) and is the founding curator of the biennale exhibition and symposium Elevations Laos (2018-).


As a space that connects but is not determined by any one people or place, the Pacific Ocean is a fluid region. Our engagement through it imagines the alliances, meeting points or crossing of paths that can take place and where mutual influence, responsibility and care come to build and sustain a shared body of work and practices. Pacific Crossings is an ongoing conversation and public presentation series that draws participants from various regions across the ocean. This collaborative project works to bring together perspectives in an evolving and dynamic exchange, instigating events and activities that can increase public awareness of the multitude of traditions, histories, and practices, offering potential routes for intersection to take place. Thinking both metaphorically and ecologically, the series will address the care and consideration that must emerge for long-term healthy exchange, and the sharing in responsibility as much as resources.

Pacific Crossings takes place on the unceded Territories of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations. It is an ongoing series of events conceived of by Makiko Hara, Bopha Chhay (Artspeak), Allison Collins (Western Front), and Shaun Dacey (Richmond Art Gallery).


Other Events in the Pacific Crossings Series:

Nozomu Ogawa
Talk: Alternative Tokyo Art Scene – What’s going on? 
Saturday January 12, 2pm at Richmond Art Gallery

Ogawa will present the Tokyo alternative art scene and various unique art practices by the young and emerging artists. He will discuss Art Center Ongoing, the alternative art space/cafe in Kichijyoji, Tokyo that runs independent of public funding, hosting international artist in residence, bi-weekly exhibitions with public talks, workshops and live performances. He will also share TERATOTERA a year round public art project developed in collaboration with City of Tokyo and Art Council Tokyo.

Discussion: Alternative Asian Art Network – How do we survive? 
Tuesday January 15, 6pm at Artspeak
Sharing his experience of a recent three months intensive research trip to 83 art spaces in 9 countries in South East Asia, Ogawa will discuss the “collective” activities shared among many artists in South East Asia, where organic communities share resources and networking as pragmatic survival strategies within complex socio-political situations, lacking funding for the arts. Following the trip, Ogawa founded “Ongoing Collective”, with his colleague artists, curators, musicians for seeking a new economy and strategy for being alternative.

Screening: Shen Xin, Warm Spell
Sunday February 17, 2pm at Western Front
Shot on the Thai island of Ko Yao Yai and set amidst the environmental change caused by global warming, Warm Spell explores the economic and cultural challenges the island faces as it shifts from a predominantly farming community to one dependent on tourism. The work constructs a ghostly presence, weaving it through the traces of disparity in climate change amongst high and low emission countries, and the experiences of tourism based on racial representations.