Patrick D. Flores

The Ethical and the Geopoetic: 2019 Singapore Biennale

The talk will introduce the framework of the 2019 Singapore Biennale (November 2019-March 2020), focusing on its main impulses of proposing ways to transform a world that needs to be remapped through art. The title of the biennale, Every Step in the Right Direction, comes from Salud Algabre, a woman peasant revolutionary from the Philippines in the 1930s, sustained by the performative practice of the Singaporean artist Amanda Heng, and supported by notions of successive efforts, intervals, and delays in the persistent making of the contemporary.

Singapore Biennale 2019 emerges from one of the most exciting regions in the world, Southeast Asia. From this location, it extends across the world, but only through Southeast Asia. How the region enlivens the world is a distinction that the biennale can harness and enhance. It is not only a survey of what is new in the present; it is an interrogation and an intervention, a possible proposition of a method, and not just a source of information. It evokes the place in which the event happens, the city-state of Singapore which is commemorating the bicentennial of its colonization in 2019, and yet it does not settle in one site; rather, it consists of nodes in a network, or knots in a meshwork, of sites. It invites the audience to explore this geography and make a step in different directions to experience the biennale.

Patrick D. Flores is Professor of Art Studies at the Department of Art Studies at the University of the Philippines, which he chaired from 1997 to 2003, and Curator of the Vargas Museum in Manila. He was one of the curators of Under Construction: New Dimensions in Asian Art in 2000 and the Gwangju Biennale (Position Papers) in 2008. He curated an exhibition of contemporary art from Southeast Asia and Southeast Europe titled South by Southeast and the Philippine Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2015. He is the Artistic Director of Singapore Biennale 2019.


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