Being Present: Performative responses to Speech Acts in Manchester

6 March 2019, from 6pm till late

Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley St, Manchester M2 3JL

Being Present is a curatorial and artistic response to the exhibition, Speech Acts: Reflection-Imagination-Repetition, co-curated by Hammad Nasar and Kate Jesson, currently presented at the Manchester Art Gallery. On the occasion of the symposium “The LYC Museum and Art Gallery and the Museum as Practice,” Being Present asks the question – what does it mean to ‘be present’ as an artist  – in a space, in a moment, in relation to each other – does being present invoke a certain scrutiny? Does presence leave a trace? 

Drawing from the research of the younger generation Asian diaspora artists Bettina Fung, Ada Xiaoyu Hao and Nicholas Tee (from Asia-Art-Activism) in response to the different sections of the exhibition, ‘Reflection,’ ‘Imagination,’ and ‘Repetition,’ the performance programme also considers the significance of the embodied presence of the individual and collective artistic body/bodies in the institutional space.

Reflecting on the tensions between transience and memory, the programme draws inspiration from the works and themes in Speech Acts around performativity, traces and repetitions, and extends on Asia-Art-Activism’s enquiries around the visibility and inclusion of artists of colour in British art history and public discourse. Curated by Annie Jael Kwan.

Towards All & Nothing
Bettina Fung
This performance is a tribute to Li Yuan Chia. Drawing from his life, his concept of the point as the origin and end of creation, this drawing performance contemplates on legacy and disappearance, the significance of holding onto and letting go, what endures and what is lost. Inspired by Li’s All & Nothing Show, a proposed performance that was cancelled but meant to be held at Hyde Park’s Speaker’s Corner in 1967 before his departure for Cumbria, the artist repetitively draws and erases large circles around her, with each circle marking a year of Li’s life in Cumbria, where he remained until his death in 1994. The repetitive action enables a kind of remembering, remembering Li Yuan Chia and connecting to him in another point in time.

London based artist Bettina Fung | 馮允珊 creates two dimensional, performative and site-specific works. Her practice centres on drawing and focuses on its performative aspect. She draws live at exhibitions, sharing her process and allowing her work to unfold overtime. She is drawn to the liminal space between nothing and existence that is potent with possibilities.  Bettina’s background is in computer animation, where she gained her degree in Bournemouth University (NCCA) in 2005. She has exhibited nationally and abroad. She was the recipient of awards such as the a-n Artist Information Company’s New Collaborations Bursary in 2014 and Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts award in 2018. Bettina is currently taking part in Syllabus IV, an alternative peer-led artist development and learning programme, and is an Associate Member of the Asia-Art-Activism Research Network.

Bettina Fung, Receipt Walk (2018). Image: Reggy Liu

Sound of other spaces with the speculative others
Ada Xiaoyu Hao

Using speech, sound, and poetry as performative tactics, and dependant on the noise of “others” to appropriate her presence, Ada Hao will present a performative intervention following the welcome and introduction from Natasha Howes, and the tour of the exhibition led by curators Hammad Nasar and Kate Jesson. Ada will present a text in the honour of Zoe Meng, a university professor and lecturer at Shanghai University, where she was also previously the founding director of the Center for Post-human Studies (1990-2000); editor-in-chief for the Shifting Heteropia Magazine (2012- now); professor in Gender Studies (1988-1995).

Zoe Meng lo res

Born in Kazakhstan, raised in the United States, Meng received her B.A. (Honours) at the College of William and Mary and was awarded the University exceptional talent in gender studies in 1978. She received her PhD from University of Communication, Beijing, In 1981 She was a Fulbright scholar and a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton in 1993-5. She became Honorary Fellow of the Chinese Academy of Humanities (CAHA) in 2009 and a Member of the Asian Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) in 2014. Since 2008 she has been an elected board member of the Society of Humanities Centres and Institutes (SHCI). She was awarded Honorary Degrees from the University of Helsinki in 2007 and the University of HongKong in 2011. Zoe’s publications include The Nonhuman, Pulitzer Press, 2013; Shifting Heterotopia, The portable Zoe, Colombia Press, 2011; Pi Nang: LiWaiBuShiRen, XinHuan Press, 2003; Changing Nautology, Daikong Press, 2000; Photographic Organism, ShangNing Press, 1998;  Mirrored Body, Dolphin Press, 1991.

Ada Xiaoyu Hao is a performance artist, currently doing practice-based PhD research in performance at the University of Brighton. Ada’s art practice and research focus on identity and the speculative self, desire and the abject, bodies as nomadic subjects, and the search for heterotopia (Foucault) in contemporary art practice negotiated with live performance, fiction, moving image, the poetics, and soundscape creation.

Ada’s body is the material and archive, a nomad with its own autonomy and subjectivity. Ada’s interdisciplinary practice and research encompass curatorial modes of practice, performance, sound, writing, body movement, contact improvisation, and alternative photography processes, with echoes of seminal performances of the late 60s and 80s. Ada also explores these strategies to signify cultural resistance, social ignorance and pedagogy of obedience from/towards narratives and communities of cultural and political dominance within Asian Diaspora. Simulating fantasy scenarios from subcultural/social references, Ada’s work often uses humour, heteronymity, and metaphor to transfer the imagination and illusion for the possibility of alternative reality.

Yellow Peril
Nicholas Tee

nicholas tee is a bloody immigrant
nicholas tee is alive
nicholas tee is breathing
nicholas tee is bleeding
nicholas tee will take space
nicholas tee will be magnified
nicholas tee will challenge your gaze
nicholas tee does not hang on a gallery wall
nicholas tee does not care for paintings of dead white men
fuck them

Nicholas Tee is an artist from Singapore based in London. His practice uses live art and performance as a space to question the cultural politics of his existence within contemporary society. His body performs as a site for these investigations to take place while the aesthetic of his work is constructed intuitively through a combination of critical theory, visual imagery and material exploration. Inspired by his work with performance artist Martin O’Brien, Nicholas’ current research involves using the popular cultural figure of the zombie as a metaphor for investigating ideas of race, immigration and identity. Having graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Performance Arts with distinction from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, where he wrote his final dissertation on political live art practices in Southeast Asia, he is currently undertaking the MA in Live Art at Queen Mary University of London.

Nicholas Tee, The Rising (2018)

With the generous support of: