Kee Hong Low | Curating Futures

What would curating ‘live’ performance look like if we cannot physically assemble? What does ‘live’ performance look like in this context? In coping with the urgencies and emergencies of a COVID-19 world, many artists, curators and institutions have relied on the digital space as an approximation to gathering and the continued engagement with ‘live’ performance. At present, the digital as we know it presents limits to the experience of the ‘live’. What if we pushed the bounds of the digital into expanded virtualities that include dreams, game worlds and technologies old, current, new and yet to be imagined or to come? What if this means we can exist in multiple spaces at the same time? How then can we dislocate and translocate ourselves across sites, realms and realities? What if the futures of ‘live’ performance present as multiples, where despite political, pandemic or other social restrictions, we can always keep going? This thematic lab is about speculative futures and exploring what can be possible for ‘live’ performance. The proposal is to create and curate an avatar institution in Hong Kong to reimagine assembly and expand the discourse on ‘live’ performance. This avatar will co-exist with an actual performing arts centre that is currently fully operational.

LOW KEE HONG is Director of Programs (Theatre) at West Kowloon Cultural District Hong Kong. He is responsible for formulating the district’s artistic direction for Contemporary Performance and Theatre. In this role, he created Hong Kong’s first International Workshop Festival of Theatre, an ongoing series on Scenography, a program on dramaturgy, international residencies with Scotland, New Zealand and Australia, new commissions with the Manchester International Festival and GREC Festival Barcelona. Since 2018, he is the co-curator of the Hong Kong International Black Box Festival with Hong Kong Rep. He was Artistic Director of the Singapore Arts Festival (2010-2012) and General Manager for the Singapore Biennale (2005-2010). From the Summer of 2022 at Freespace West Kowloon, Low Kee Hong will co-curate, together with Silvia Bottiroli and three associated artists, a new platform built around Queering - a practice inspired by theories that re-examine and dismantle accepted frameworks of identity, power and privilege – as a political field and as a methodology: what does it mean to queer our practices? How can we operate within the artistic and cultural field as if it were possible not to be reactionary towards existing positions and protocols? How can curation participate in the creation of our common futures, responding to the needs of the many and supporting the multitudes that are active within civic society? How can we appropriate artistic institutions and transform them into the tools that are needed for a democratic participation in designing the cultural and social dimensions of the arts of the present time? The platform proposes many speculative futures and an understanding of curation as one of the attempts we can make to rehearse and trial the world that we would like to live in.