KUA 跨 crossing beyond
Curatorial Writing Fellow,
I'm Yu'an Huang, the Asymmetry Curatorial Writing Fellow at Chisenhale Gallery. My research project, KUA 跨 crossing beyond, is a cross-medium publication composed of six parts, investigating the human condition through the lens of transnational experiences. The publication will include image essays, research papers, artworks, oral interviews and a short fictional story written by myself. Bringing the many elements of this project together is a multi-layered process and one that is greatly influenced by communication and writing. In this journal entry, I examine how different forms of written, verbal and visual communication are shaping my self-published project and the collaborative work I have done in the Fellowship so far.
In 2016, by chance, I picked up Reveries of a Solitary Walker (Rousseau, 1782), I resonated deeply with his words and his experience as an exile who transcended time, space and different cultures. Rosseau inspired me to focus my curatorial interests on non-academic writing and fictional short stories. This led me to discover How Your Story Sets You Free by Heather Box and Julian Mocine-McQueen, this short motivational book on storytelling is a text that I want to give to collaborators to encourage them to read and bring their own narratives to the project.
An integral part of my research process is making checklists, listing questions, and ideas, I wish to address throughout the process. Here I’d like to share some checklists I made as means to navigate the different stages of my written and communicative research.
Questions for interviewing, personal stories and building transnational connections:
1. Given the wide variety of backgrounds, how can I create a common ground where one person’s story doesn’t dominate the narrative or override the other voices in the book?
2. How does one act as a ‘host’ and ‘guest’ simultaneously? Both within this project as well as within a cultural context.
3. Am I forcing someone to identify with a particular narrative or identity? These can be challenging circumstances when someone comes from a cross-cultural or migratory background.
4. Am I utilising experience that I do not have ownership of? How do I give back creative capital?
The Fellowship has allowed me time and space to go through a pile of different references and reading lists I’ve accumulated. Here are some texts I’m studying at the moment:
1. Faber, M. 2020.D (A Tale of Two Worlds). New York; Doubleday.
2. Blank, G; Brand, V; Phillpot, C. 2009. In Numbers: Serial Publications by Artists Since 1955. Zurich; JRP|Ringier.
3. Chuang, CM, 張君玫. 2009. The Postcolonial Feminine Situation: Language, Translation and Desire. Socio Publishing.
4. Jianan, Q, 錢佳楠. 2018. The Moon Is Beautiful Tonight: On East-Asian Narratives. The Millions.
5. Conway, J. 2007. “Geographies of Transnational Feminisms: The Politics of Place and Scale in the World March of Women” in Social Politics. Oxford; Oxford University Press.
I’ve also started taking part in a creative writing course to open my eyes to new ways of writing, reframing, and forming stories. The course is led by creative writing tutor Alison Chandler and will allow me to try out new methods of composing and writing short stories, skills I hope to channel into my publication.
An important aspect of my project is working with people, so I’ve been brainstorming about how I approach collaborative management in my work. Here is a checklist of points I made for myself when starting new working relationships, these will act as an important guide for KUA 跨 crossing beyond, and the ways in which I present my ideas to others on this diversely layered project.
1. How do I encourage collaborators to claim the space within my project, sensitively?
2. How can I enable the ideas and theories produced by this project to go beyond simply the bounds of the publication?
3. How can I make the medium of this collaborative project more expansive?
4. Familiarise myself with each participant’s field of work and their practice while respecting my own capacity.
Here is a brainstorming session I did with identity designer Marwan Kaabour. We connected over a remote call between Berlin and Beirut, instigating a remote working relationship.
EXHIBITIONS ON COMMUNICATION
I recently visited a few exhibitions and events in London that inspired me, one that stood out was the solo exhibition Ópera de Balcón by Peruvian artist Bryan Giuseppi Rodriguez Cambana at Cell Project Space. The exhibition featured a ballad written by Rodriguez Cambana, that hinged upon the complications in romance, timing and distance, forcing viewers to decode and convert messages shared between structures of communication, personal entanglements, and the political framings of migration. The transitory nature of communities and their fictions in the show made me reflect on my own project, and the events I potentially would like to stage in the run-up to my project outcome.
Yu’an will launch the issue of her six-part cross-medium publication KUA 跨 crossing beyond, as part of her final project outcome for the Curatorial Fellowship at Chisenhale Gallery in May 2022.