Expert workshops focusing on the evaluation criteria for art in social contexts with a focus on how to evaluate best practices.

Talk #4

Holding Space for Uncertainty

Chair: Alex Tam Hok Nang

23 February 2019

3pm – 6pm

Boötes Limited, 8/F, Si Toi Commercial Building, 62-63 Connaught Road West, Sheung Wan Hong Kong

The Workshop

In this Art & Society talk, Alex Tam from the Academy of Visual Arts will start conversations about how we make space for uncertainty while moving the project/organisation forward in the continuously changing requirements.

An artist’s commission sets a framework in which artists are hired for a certain period to achieve the objective of a particular project. Depending on varying conditions, an artist might be invited directly to make a proposal in response to that brief, and others may put out an open call. But the scope of the project is often largely pre-determined in terms of funding, timescales, agendas, and expectations.

One of the potential problems of this commonly used contractual model for commissioning artists is that while funding and reporting agendas require evidence of certainty, artists must embrace fluid and chance encounters as it is fundamental to the creative process.

The talk will focus on the tension that takes place in relation to these seemingly mutually exclusive positions - what should we consider while dealing with them? It will also touch on insights Alex gained from his research project on a number of commissioned and self-determined works by artists, which reflect the different ways to bear with it. Each of these is an example of artistic approaches in public art that are conducive to the reviving heritage sites and promoting active civic engagement. The problem of dealing with uncertainty becomes more eminent as they are more process-oriented as well as more participatory forms of engagement.

Alex Tam Hok Nang

Alex Tam is the Centre Executive of the Centre for Research and Development in Visual Arts, which was established in 2013 by the Academy of Visual Arts, HKBU. The Centre’s vision is to promote the advancement of visual arts development in Hong Kong and neighbouring regions. Alex’s main area of interest is on art projects that engage with issues connected to the notion of history, memory, and place-making. In 2016, he co-founded Play Depot, a community art playground that explores creativity through play, encourages social interaction, and enhances social engagement among the Play Depot participants and with the public realm at large.