Edge of Elsewhere

Category: FX Harsono

Remembering and Forgetting the Name

by Macushla Robinson

In his recent work ‘Writing in the rain’, FX Harsono writes his Chinese name with a calligraphy brush repeatedly on a sheet of glass, until it is difficult to see the artist through the network of interlocking characters and drips of ink. After a while, water begins to splash against the glass and over the artist, washing away his name in a flood of black ink.

FX Harsono’s recent work deals with personal and political histories: the artist seeks to re-learn his Chinese name, which was changed by Indonesian Government mandate. This is an act that reclaims an ethnic identity and an a personal history.

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Edge of Elsewhere 2012

Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba, Breathing is Free: 12,756.3 – Ho Chi Minh City, 118.3 km (2007) single channel digital video, 19:10 courtesy the artist and Mizuma Art Gallery, Tokyo and Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York

Spanning from Campbelltown to Chinatown, and far beyond, Edge of Elsewhere is a three year long-term project engaging with the diverse cultural mix of suburban Sydney.

In its final year, Edge of Elsewhere showcases new commissions from a range of innovative and exciting contemporary artists from across Australia, Asia and the Pacific, developed in collaboration with a range of Sydney communities.

Presented across two venue, this landmark project positions a number of communities of Greater Sydney within a wider context of Asia-Pacific. Edge of Elsewhere is a bold commitment to artistic collaboration, community participation and the exploration of contemporary ideas in the suburban environment.

Artists: Brook Andrew, Arahmaiani, Richard Bell, Dacchi Dang, Newell Harry, FX Harsono, Shigeyuki Kihara, Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba, Lisa Reihana, Khaled Sabsabi, Phaptawan Suwannakudt, Michel Tuffery and YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES.

Maiden – A response to FX Harsono: In Memory of a Name

Maiden was written as part of the emerging critics workshop and curatorium, In Memory of a Name, by participant Elly Kent. Initiated by Indonesian artist FX Harsono, the project aims to provide emerging cultural practitioners with a unique professional development opportunity, to gain invaluable insight into a creative methodology for art making and thinking. The project invited a handful of individuals to research the socio-cultural implications of changing one’s name and what we can learn about representation and identity from this process.

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Photo Diary: In Memory of a Name Workshop

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art played host on 10 and 11 June 2011 to a lively coming together of artists, curators, local historian and critics for FX Harsono’s workshop for emerging cultural practitioners – In Memory of a Name. Over the course of two days, participants bonded over series of talks and discussion sessions.

The workshop began with FX Harsono’s presentation of his recent projects that have used social research as a methodology for his recent exploration on the history of the Chinese community in Indonesia.

We then had invited guest speaker Sue Ingham contextualising Harsono’s practice within Indonesian contemporary art, John von Sturmer expanding on the practice and value of naming in Indigenous culture and John Kirkman explaining the discursive possibilities of community-engagement art through a case study ‘Tracksuits for St. Mary’.

Participants divided themselves into two smaller groups on the second day and continued to devise suitable approaches and methodologies for the upcoming research. As they continue to develop individual case studies and prepare them for our blog, we want to first share with our readers some photos from the workshop. Enjoy!

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Watch – TESTIMONY by FX Harsono

There’s only one more week left until we welcome our team of emerging artists, curators and critics to FX Harsono’s In Memory of A Name workshop at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art!

As we busy ourselves in preparation for the event, we thought of sharing a bit of socio-historical background that has formed the basis of FX’s investigation into name-changing. Here’s a two part video made by the artist himself. Beautifully shot and produced, this documentary sheds light on how Chinese Indonesians are coming to terms with their identity as a diaspora community that have been culturally tested under Dutch colonialism and subsequently during the founding of Indonesia and the New Order regime.

In Memory of A Name: The Team

A big welcome and congratulations to all applicants who have been selected to participate in FX Harsono’s In Memory of A Name workshop. We thought there’s no better way to break the ice than to have them do a little bit of self-introduction. Here we present to you… the team!

Make sure you come back often to check on our progress. Stay tuned!

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Emerging Critics Workshop & Curatorium

2 Day Workshop: 27 – 28 May 2011 (Fri-Sat)
Research Phase: June – November 2011
Follow-up Workshop: End of November 2011
Project Presentation: Edge of Elsewhere (January 2012)

People change their names under different circumstances and in different places. Often there are historical reasons as well as sociocultural implications that underpin such motivation. What can we learn about representation and identity from this process? What are the complications when a person acquires a new name?

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is seeking emerging artists, curators, critics and other cultural practitioners (sociologists, writers, urban planners, architects, historians) to collaborate with FX Harsono’s project In Memory of a Name to develop new work for Edge of Elsewhere 2012.

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