Thank you for dropping by.
This blog features my relational and socially engaged art projects, as well as some of my individual art work that is made in conversation with the public work.
I decided to create this blog, as there are many projects and works that we’ve made but remain unavailable for public viewing. Blogging also offers a way to communicate ideas, thoughts and views that does not suit a website. The international Forum for InterMedia Art (iFIMA) website at http://www.ifima.net has served as our only website for many years, but due to Jay’s and my undertaking doctoral studies for the past 4 years (longer for Jay) it has grown a little unwieldy and in dire need of a revamp, which we have tried to do without success so far, but will keep trying. This blog is still in the making; I’m learning how to blog as I go along, so please bear with me as some things may not work or look as good as it can.
Here’s my profile for those who are interested:
Chu Yuan is a Malaysian visual artist, practice-led researcher and cultural producer. She has recently completed a PhD with Gray’s School of Art at the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland, (fully funded by IDEAS Research Institute UK) with a thesis titled ‘Negotiation as Active Knowing: an Approach Evolved from Relational Art Practice’ in which she develops a framework for participative learning within social situations.
After obtaining her B.A.(Hons) in English Literature from the University of Malaya, Malaysia, in 1988, she ventured into a variety of engagements and fields, which includes full-time feature writing, book editing, teaching, art management (fundraising, publicity and programming) and NGO work. In 1993, following a period of study at Lasalle-SIA College in Singapore, she became involved with the Artists Village and Fifth Passage, two artists-initiated collectives dating from the late 1980s in Singapore. From 1994 she began working with The Substation, Singapore’s first independent art space, under the late Kuo Pao Kun, and since then to the late 90s has been juggling art production with art management in Singapore.
From 2000, she has been Director for Projects with iFIMA (International Forum for Intermedia Art), an international art and cultural organization committed to encouraging resourcefulness and self-organization in art and cultural production and management. As a not-for-profit organization, iFIMA forges collaborations, knowledge-sharing and evolving new forms of social organization, carrying out projects in Burma, Mongolia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Republic of Ireland, China, Poland, Sweden, Finland, amongst others. In 2003, she co-founded NICA (Networking and Initiatives for Culture and the Arts) an arts and cultural resource development initiative in Rangoon, Burma, and in 2008, she co-founded 1948 Artspace in Seri Kembangan, Malaysia. Her work experiences have nurtured a diversity of skills and expertise, in project development/ management, fundraising, research, curating, teaching, writing, networking, advocacy/activism, intercommunications and human relations.
She has worked in collaboration with Singaporean born artist Jay Koh since 2000, adopting an ‘Artists in Multifaceted Practice’ approach, taking on diverse roles to negotiate with inter-relational, social-political structures on site and to conceive appropriate actions in response to each context. Their practice investigates the role of subjectivity, co-presence, reciprocal behavior, performance, imagination, visualization and conversations (intra and interpersonal) in creating new forms of association, collaboration, organisation and agency. Their practice have been discussed by collaborative art theorist Grant Kester in a few publications, most recently in The One and the Many: Contemporary Collaborative Art in a Global Context published by Duke University Press, 2011 and in Nora Taylor’s Contemporary Southeast Asian Art, Cornell University Press, 2012. Their work is used as teaching material by Kester in the Visual Arts course at University of California, San Diego and by Suzanne Lacy in the MFA Public Practices course at Otis College of Art and Design. Chu also maintains an individual practice, in which she uses soft sculptures, drawing, installation, performance, painting, photography and text to explore the performing body as a cultural subject and cultural practices as ‘scripts’ and ‘scores’.
In her PhD research titled ‘Negotiation-as-active-knowing: an approach evolved from relational art practice’, she argues that negotiation can be practiced as a form of active intersubjective and contextual learning that gradually builds a way forward in spite of insurmountable or irreconcilable difference. The conceptual framework of her methodology engages with the participative intercommunications theory of John Shotter, art collaborative theory of Grant Kester, and the ‘post-phenomenological’ theory of postcolonialist/feminist scholar Sara Ahmed and the human-as-organism ecological theory of anthropologist Tim Ingold.
Research/ artistic interests: Collaborative art, participative culture, interculturalism, ‘other’ and ‘othering’, alternative social organization, the performing body as subject
Teaching subjects: Public and Participative Art, Social Art, Visual Culture, Cultural Studies, Contemporary Art History, Research and Writing
Other skills/ expertise: Editing, curating