Reading Group

To Conjure Something Out of Nothing

To Conjure Something Out of Nothing
© Cecil Mariani

Thu, 26.08.2021 5:00 PM WIB



Language: English
Price: Free, No Registration Needed

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Kementerian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan Galeri Nasional Indonesia MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum Nationalgalerie Berlin Singapore Art Museum

Join us in discussing archives in visual art and film with Grace Samboh, Lisabona Rahman, Michelle Wong and Shabbir Hussain Mustafa.

12 PM Berlin
5 PM Jakarta & Bangkok
6 PM Singapore

Magic is not a word nor concept often mentioned, used, or even afloat in conversations on modern and contemporary art. Interestingly, in practice, many acts may actually qualify as magic. Think of the use of the word “creator" or “maker", for example, as synonyms for author or artist or any cultural practitioner for that matter. This conversation will try to express and articulate weavings between work, life, relationships, storytelling, and history-writing. It is a shared deliberation on the joys, fears, anxieties, and excitement that comes with documenting, archiving, storing, narrating, exhibiting, and presenting not only various forms of art, but also the particular environments in which the work happened, is remembered, and is somewhat kept alive.

In this reading group, Grace Samboh, Lisabona Rahman, Michelle Wong and Shabbir Hussain Mustafa will read and excerpt each other's archival works, stir some concerns, questions, as well as issues surrounding the desire to make archive accessible to a certain public, at a certain point in time, in particular spaces. What does it mean to digest an archive?


Grace Samboh
Grace Samboh is a researcher and curator. She co-founded the research group Hyphen (since 2011), the Project Director for RUBANAH Underground Hub, Jakarta (since 2019), a member of the curatorial team for “Jakarta Biennale 2021: ESOK”, and is undertaking a doctorate for Arts and Society Studies at Sanata Dharma University.

Lisabona Rahman
Lisabona Rahman is a moving image preservation and presentation consultant. She focuses on Indonesian film history and political economy, film restoration, and archival film presentation. She started her career as a film journalist and cinema programmer in the early 2000s. She is one of the founding members of Lab Laba Laban, an artist collective whose activity revolves around preserving and opening public access to films under the care of Perusahaan Film Negara (Indonesian National Film Company, PFN). In May 2013, she graduated from the MA program in Moving Image Professional at the University of Amsterdam. She then went on to work at the L'immagine Ritrovata film conservation and restoration laboratory in Bologna, Italy (2014-2016). Lisabona is also one of the founders of Sekolah Pemikiran Perempuan, an initiative that works to intervene with the knowledge production system that disregards women.

Michelle Wong
Michelle Wong is a Hong Kong-based researcher and curator. From 2012-2020, she was Researcher at Asia Art Archive, where she researched histories of exchange and circulation through exhibitions and periodicals as well as the personal archive of the late Hong Kong artist Ha Bik Chuen (1925-2009). She was Assistant Curator of 11th Gwangju Biennale (2016). She collaborates with artist Wei Leng Tay on the long-term collective project Sightlines. Since the Yokohama Triennale 2020, she has been working with curator Kabelo Malatsie and artist Lantian Xie, exploring how curatorial thinking expresses itself infrastructurally. She is currently a PhD student of Art History at The University of Hong Kong. Her writing has been published in Ambitious Alignments: New Histories of Southeast Asian Art, 1945–1990 (2018), the journal Southeast of Now (2019), Oncurating, Ocula Magazine, and SOUTH SOUTH. She is the curator for the exhibition Portals, Stories, and Other Journeys presented by Asia Art Archive at Tai Kwun Contemporary (2021).

Shabbir Hussain Mustafa
Shabbir Hussain Mustafa is Senior Curator at the National Gallery Singapore and Singapore Art Museum. At the Gallery, he leads the curatorial team overseeing Between Declarations and Dreams, a multi-year exhibition that surveys Southeast Asian perspectives from the 19th century to the present. His recent projects include Latiff Mohidin: Pago Pago, an exhibition that surveyed the painter-poet’s movements across Europe and Southeast Asia in the 1960s as he challenged the dominance of Western modernism; and Mohammad Din Mohammad: The Mistaken Ancestor, a project that builds perspectives on the artist’s life-world by surveying intersections between art, traditional healing, oral narratives, mystical objects, silat, and Sufism in the Malay world.

Live on

Galeri Nasional
Goethe-Institut Indonesien
Goethe-Institut Thailand
Goethe-Institut Singapore
Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin
MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum
Singapore Art Museum

Goethe-Institut Indonesia


Kementerian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan Galeri Nasional Indonesia MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum Nationalgalerie Berlin Singapore Art Museum