East Contemporary

Clare Butcher “Trade Routes was a Beginning” talk at Para Site / Asia Art Archive

 (1/8/2014) G/F, 4 Po Yan Street, Sheung Wan, http://www.para-site.org.hk

Clare Butcher was a curator-in-residence at Para Site Art Space. Her project: Researching on the 1997 2nd – and last – Johannesburg Biennale of Contemporary Art. One section of the Biennale titled “Hong Kong etc…” curated by Hou Hanru brought her to Hong Kong. Clare Butcher presented in a light and engaging way. I realized that the most important thing to take away from the talk was the ease at which stories are made and remade. It does not really matter what we talk about, as long as it is presented in an engaging way. Clair worked with limited documentation available, and was simply using her archival-archeological finds to construct a meta-history of what happened. Given the patchy information, this was to a big extend a creative act of inventing and telling an engaging story. To a large extent, Clare Butcher succeeded. But back to the ‘what’ – in Clare Butchers case, the point of origin was not completely irrelevant, as one could say that she used the Biennale as a vehicle to re-tell a period in history of South Africa, in a quite skillful way. During the end of the talk she introduced a few of her projects related to the research topic, but at this point she started to speed up a bit and the few images on the screen started to become a bit blurry. The impression that stayed with me was Clare Butchers story of the 1997 Johannesburg Biennale, well told.

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