Vectors: Connections and Interventions
In a recent archival project entitled Then, now, Gendai tracked the trajectories of its endeavours over the past 10 years. Then, now, examined the principals that shaped the identity of Gendai today: a non-profit, community based public art gallery that is “programmatically” oriented towards contemporary art production by East Asian artists in Canada and globally. Hence Gendai embraces the status of being peripheral. Out of this self-reflection a question emerges: How do we maximize the potential of the peripheral both as a thematic and as a mode of operation?
What if the identity of Gendai is not limited to the conventional parameters that define cultural institutions? What if there are other lines of inquiry and ways of organizing that can mobilize Gendai into a fluid network of potentials and opportunities? We understand these lines of flight that extend beyond the architectural and programmatic confines of a public gallery do not exist in advance. They have to be forged.
Vectors: Connections and Interventions is a new programming initiative. The heart of this initiative is an open archive that consists of three categories: video art, artist book/catalogue and artist-initiated projects by East Asian artists and artists of East Asian heritage. These materials are collected through in-house research and recommendation by other leaders in the field. Using the materials in the archive, Gendai intends to build networks and connections with other institutions and groups. Its methodology will not be limited to the conventional exhibition alone but will include dialogues, discussions, lectures, screening and exchanges, depending on the contexts. The format of the exploration can be a combination of screening and lecture but not limited to them. Gendai is primarily interested in exploring new, empowering strategies with its partners. It is a process of trust and creation.
Vectors is essentially an itinerant operation that seeks to construct creative and empowering strategies, situations and trajectories through the materials in the archive. While the implementation of Vectors is not pinned to fixed locations, Gendai will allocate a certain portion of its physical gallery space to display the materials in the archive. Towards this end, Gendai will commission Montreal artist Alexandre David to design and construct a mobile display, storage and seating unit. This unit can be also shipped with the materials to different destinations. At each stop, a precise action and a situation is enacted through connecting with the historical, socio-political and artistic of the local contexts. The mobile unit with its distinct architectural form can help to facilitate and “shape” this process.
Vectors: Connections and Interventions is conceived and organized by Gendai in collaboration with guest member Yam Lau. It signals Gendai's new approach to reinvent its infrastructure in order to cultivate alternative forms of creation and modes of organizing.