VIOLENCE, VISUALITY, AND POTENTIAL ARCHIVES. A panel discussion with Hera Chan, Edwin Nasr and Eugene Yiu Nam Cheung, June 2021
A FIRE IN MY BELLY, on view at JSC Berlin, is an exhibition that grapples with different arcs of systemic violence, and how artists transform their own experiences of violence to sublimate the world, find modes of release, call for revolution or, indeed, all of the above.
Violence, Visuality, and Potential Archives is a panel discussion which extends from the exhibition’s premise, thinking through the entanglements between violence and visuality within contexts of uprising in Hong Kong and Lebanon. More specifically, this panel looks at how images of social uprising can be read beyond the easy categories of “witnessing” or “falsifying” history. In other words, what is the relationship between visuality and the narration of history, and how can images of social unrest affect the archiving of histories and people located in states of supposed collapse? How legible are images of uprising on both a symbolic and archival register? What kinds of fiction can emerge from images of uprising, and when can they be productive? John Berger wrote that “mass demonstrations are rehearsals for revolution” which begs the question: How long must we endure the dress rehearsal of revolution before we enact its performance?
HERA CHAN lives in Amsterdam by way of Kowloon. She is a current participant of de Appel’s Curatorial Programme as well as Adjunct Curator of Greater China, supported by the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation at Tate. In Hong Kong, she was associate curator of public programmes at Tai Kwun Contemporary and director/curator of Videotage. In addition to curating moving images, she has worked as a photojournalist for The Argentina Independent and community media outlets in Canada.
EDWIN NASR is based between Amsterdam and Beirut. He is currently completing the De Appel Curatorial Programme and is the Assistant to the Director at Ashkal Alwan, a non-profit arts organization, where he is involved in the curatorial development of programs, exhibitions, and publications. Nasr has worked on several editorial projects, including Beirut Art Center’s The Derivative and the Sharjah Architecture Triennial’s Rights of Future Generations, and sits on the editorial board of Journal Safar, Beirut’s biannual visual and design culture magazine. His writings recently appeared in Afterall Journal, n+1, The Funambulist, and Bidoun.
EUGENE YIU NAM CHEUNG is a writer, critic, and founding editor of institutional critique platform Decolonial Hacker. He won First Prize in the Seventh International Awards for Art Criticism (IAAC) and holds degrees in art history, gender studies, and law from the University of Sydney. He is the curatorial assistant of the Julia Stoschek Collection.