Media Art Continuing Migration: the shifting lens to look through

Sat, 05.10.2019 -
Thu, 31.10.2019

Goethe-Gallery, Goethe-Institut Hongkong

Works by Enoch Cheng, Julia Sarisetiati and Ming Wong, curated by Enoch Cheng

As accompanying programmes of the exhibition, a lecture performance by artist Jun Yang on October 4 and a SKYPE interview with Ming Wong on October 24 have taken place respectively at the Goethe-Library. Both events were recorded and are available here (bottom of page).

In our time, the notion of migration is constantly shifting. Different modes of migration entail different situations that one has to encounter. Through the eyes of artists, this exhibition seeks various approaches to the understanding of “migration”. Under the socio-economic-political regimes promoted by government, the three artists (Enoch Cheng, Julia Sarisetiati, and Ming Wong) position themselves in the specific scenarios that citizens from diverse backgrounds experience while in the state of transit. Instead of providing an absolute definition of “migration”, the artists borrow the lens of others, in order to develop a methodology for thinking through the complexity of “defining”.

Berlin based Singaporean artist Ming Wong is disguised as a “cultural ambassador” on a visit to Senegal, the first West African country to join the Belt and Road Initiative, to reflect on the Chinese government’s global development strategy that has influenced many African people to move to China – or vice versa.

Hong Kong artist Enoch Cheng adopts the fictional role of a pseudo-social scientist to observe how the urban city impacts the way migrants must improvise their roles in order to participate in the construction for the future.

Indonesian artist Julia Sarisetiati assumes the role of an app-developer to collaborate with a team comprising a designer, IT developer, visual artist, copywriter, video makers, and researchers, to invent an online platform for knowledge sharing between Indonesian migrant workers who are currently abroad and those who have returned home.


Ming Wong, Hand In Hand, 2019, video installation

This new work by artist Ming Wong is a video-poem resulting from his observations during a two weeks stay earlier this year in Dakar, the capital city of Senegal. Senegal was the first West African country to join the One Belt One Road initiative and was the first stop for President Xi Jinping’s tour of Africa in 2018. The Chinese government has recently sponsored the building of iconic cultural infrastructures such as the Museum of Black Civilisations - a powerful symbol of decoloniality which was first proposed 53 years ago as a vision for a post-colonial Africa by Senegal’s first president, the poet Leopold Sedar Senghor. As an ethnic Chinese artist filmmaker capturing a collage of moving images and sounds in the Senegalese capital, the artist presents himself as a cultural ambassador, playing on the legacy and the role of the ethnographic filmmaker as well as questioning the future of Chinese soft power on the African continent.
Enoch Cheng, Cocktail, 2019, video installation
Cocktail is Enoch Cheng’s new work, which was created after he was invited to Beijing. By adopting the lens of a fictional quasi-human visitor with the vision of a social scientist, we observe the memory network founded upon the speculative reality of the changing society. The film installation rides on the shifting consciousness among the various states of mind, while the overlapping images and sounds conjure different readings of migration. This work evolves around the multiple stages of a migrant’s life, aiming to envision and question the possible futures.

Julia Sarisetiati, PULANG-PERGI (ROUND TRIP) (work-in-progress), Graphic Design, Videos and Merchandising
PULANG-PERGI is Julia Sarisetiati’s new project in progress, in collaboration with Teguh Safarizal (designer), Riza Syahrial (IT Developer), Ube Dwi Suryasumirat (visual artist), Deasy Elsara (copywriter), Ary Sendy, Nissal Nur Afryansah, Liemena Sapriya Putra (team of video maker) also Budi Mulia and Gusti Enda Pratama (researchers). This installation will show the project as an online platform in development. This platform articulates previously un-codified knowledge with the aim to have it accumulated and distributed. Hence, such knowledge would be transferable, initiating an endless dialogue among those Indonesian migrant workers who currently are abroad with those who have returned. The focus is on the variety of bottom-up economic reintegration practice possibilities. These bottom-up knowledges are particular and often difficult to formalise as it depends on each specific geographical, environmental, social, and political context. The platform is also an attempt to answer the question whether it is possible or not to codify tacit knowledge (so that it would be transferable/be translated).


Enoch Cheng

Enoch Cheng © Enoch Cheng
Enoch Cheng is an independent artist. His practice spans moving image, installation, curating, dance, events, theatre, and performance. Concerned with the everyday subtleties in contemporary urban lives, his works explore recurrent themes of place, travel, fiction, memory, time, migration and extinction. His recent film installation trilogy on mythology, different species in nature, and identity, which has been shown in France, Germany, Hong Kong and USA, has been developed into a performance which was recently presented at the Taipei Arts Festival. He received his MA in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, London, and BA in English Literature and Art History at the University of Hong Kong. He has also lectured at Hong Kong Art School. He is the recipient of the Award for Young Artist at the Hong Kong Arts Development Awards. He was an artist fellow at Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, and artist-in-residence at Zagreb Center for Independent Culture and Youth in Zagreb; Cité internationale des arts in Paris; and Stiftung Insel Hombroich in Neuss.

Julia Sarisetiati

   Julia Sarisetiati (b. 1981, Jakarta) graduated from the photography major of Arts and Design Faculty, Trisakti University. She is a part of ruangrupa (est. 2000, Jakarta), an artist collective that now co-runs Gudskul – an informal educational platform for arts practitioners. The subject that Sari teaches in this new school is titled “Collective Sustainability”. Likewise, a big part of her artistic practice focuses on the sustainability and ecosystems of Indonesian migrant workforces. Some of her recent exhibitions include “TACTICS" Jakarta Biennale, Indonesia (2013); “Hacking Urban Reality Series”, Copenhagen (2016); 11th Gwangju Biennale, Korea (2016); “We’re in this, together”, The Factory Contemporary Art Space, Saigon (2018); “Choreographed Knowledges”, Cemeti Institute for Art and Society, Yogyakarta (2019). In 2017, she became a curator for the media art festival OK.Video, where she exhibited works on the theme of “pangan” (food), developing ideas into laboratory-based research projects to demonstrate and explore economic and social sustainability. Currently, as a curator, she is working towards “RETURNS: Migration Narratives in Southeast and East Asia” with the Goethe Institute.

Ming Wong

   Ming Wong builds layers of cinematic language, social structure, identity and introspection through his re-telling of world cinema and popular culture in his videos, installations, and performances. With imperfect translations and reenactments, he casts an actor (often himself) as every character in a story. Wong attempts to unravel ideas of ‘authenticity’, ‘originality’, and the ‘other’, with reference to the act of human performativity. He looks at how culture, gender and identity are constructed, reproduced, and circulated, as well as how it all feeds into the politics of representation. Though untrained as an actor, he has embarked on an artistic practice that is at once highly influenced by cinema and is in constant dialogue with measures of performativity, gender, and difference. Recent projects have become more interdisciplinary, incorporating performance and installation to flesh out his exploration of cultural artefacts from around the world.

His work has been shown most recently at Busan Biennale, South Korea; Dakar Biennale, Senegal; Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh; Para/Site, Hong Kong; SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin; Centre National de la Danse, Paris (all 2018). He has had solo exhibitions at leading institutions worldwide, including UCCA, Beijing; Shiseido Gallery, Tokyo; REDCAT, Los Angeles. He has participated in Sydney Biennale (2016 & 2010); Asia Pacific Triennial (2015); Shanghai Biennale (2014); Lyon Biennale (2013); Liverpool Biennial (2012); Gwangju Biennale (2010); Performa 11, New York (2010). He represented Singapore at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009 with the solo presentation “Life of Imitation”, which was awarded a special mention.

Jun Yang

   Jun Yang is an artist based in Vienna (Austria), Yokohama (Japan) and Taipei (Taiwan). His works encompass various mediums – including film, installation, performance, and projects in public spaces, while addressing his issues to institutions, societies, and audiences. Having grown up and lived in various cultural contexts, in his artistic work Jun Yang examines the influence of clichés and media images on identity politics. He has participated in various Biennales including Gwangju Biennale (2012); Taipei Biennale (2008); the Lofoten International Art Festival (Norway, 2008); Liverpool Biennial (2006); 51st Venice Biennial (2005); Manifesta 4 (Frankfurt, 2002). He has shown at Parsons The New School (New York, 2013); Sharjah Art Foundation (2012); Hiroshima City Museum of Art (2012); Artsonje Center (Seoul, 2012); Hayward Gallery (London, 2008), amongst others.

Emeka Ogboh

   Emeka Ogboh connects to places with his senses of hearing and taste. Through his audio installations and gastronomic works, Ogboh explores how private, public, collective memories, and histories are translated, transformed, and encoded into sound and food. These works contemplate how auditory and gustatory experiences capture existential relationships, frame our understanding of the world and provide a context in which to ask critical questions on immigration, globalization, and post-colonialism. Ogboh has participated in numerous international exhibitions including documenta 14 (2017), Athens and Kassel; Skulptur Projekte Münster (2017); the 56th edition of La Biennale di Venezia, Italy (2015); Dakar Biennale (2014). In 2016 Ogboh was awarded Prize of the Bottcherstraße in Bremen, and in 2018 was shortlisted for the Hugo Boss Prize. Ogboh and Otobong Nkanga were awarded the Sharjah Biennial 14 Prize for their project “Aging Ruins Dreaming Only to Recall the Hard Chisel from the Past” (2019).

The exhibition "Perceiving Migration: the artistic methodologies" is part of the Regional Project of the Goethe-Institut in East Asia.