“Spectral Evidence” at 1A Space, Hong Kong

14 Jul 2010 – 05 Sep 2010

1A Space
Unit 14, Cattle Depot Artist Village, 63 Ma Tau Kok Road,
To Kwa Wan, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Curator: Steven Lam
Artists: Sreshta Rit Premnath, Simon Leung, Lin + Lam
Opening reception: 14 July 2010, 7pm
Exhibition period: 15 July 2010 – 5 Sept 2010


Spectral Evidence, a group exhibition curated by New York-based artist and curator Steven Lam, features projects by US-based artists Sreshta Rit Premnath, Simon Leung, and Lin + Lam. Works in video, photography, and installation examine how the present contains an accumulation of traces that are often hidden or omitted by violent and oppressive forces.

As a historic term, ‘spectral evidence’ was first legally recognized during the Salem Witch Trials in Salem Town, Massachusetts, in the 17th century. In these proceedings, accusers testified that witches possessed and terrorized them in their sleep. U.S. Chief Justice William Stoughton, known at that time more for his witch-hunting than for his juridical duties, expanded the law to admit hearsay, unofficial stories, and gossip as proper material evidence. The artists in Spectral Evidenceexpand on these ideas, reimagining the haunted subject and its role in social and political life. Works that address the residual violence of war, colonialism, and globalization rupture conventional notions of temporality. By exploring narrative, speculation, and abstraction, as spectral witnesses to the past, projects in Spectral Evidence complicate what the present holds as self-evident.

The ghost, as the theorist Avery Gordon has eloquently written, is not merely an absent figure outside the reality of empirical certitude. Its presence suggests other forms of knowing, sensing, and seeing. “Being haunted,” Gordon writes, “draws us affectively, sometimes against our will into the structure of feeling of a reality we come to experience, not as cold knowledge, but as transformative recognition.”

Steven Lam is a curator, artist, educator, and the Associate Dean of The Cooper Union School of Art in New York City, the United States. He has an MFA from the University of California, Irvine and currently teaches performance and sound theory in the Art History and Theory Department at the School of Visual Arts, NYC. Lam has developed exhibitions primarily for non-profit institutions and universities, often prioritizing his experience working in such pedagogical programs. Lam was a Helena Rubinstein Curatorial Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program as well as a Lori Ledis Curatorial Fellow at Rotunda Gallery, Brooklyn, and was a research curator for the Third Guangzhou Triennial (2008) with Gao Shiming, Sarat Maharaj, and Chang Tsong-zung. Recent curatorial works and collaborations include “…in a most dangerous manner” with Sarah Ross at SPACES Gallery, Cleveland, OH (2010); ‘Tainted Love’ with critic Virginia Solomon at La MaMa La Galleria, NYC (2009); ‘Free as Air and Water’ with Dean Saskia Bos, The Cooper Union (2009); and ‘For Reasons of State’ with Angelique Campens and Erica Cooke at The Kitchen, NYC (2008).

Seminar
The Absence of Ruins: A Conversation with Sreshta Rit Premnath and Lin + Lam

Panelists: Sreshta Rit Premnath, Lin + Lam, and Ms. Mirana May Szeto,   Assistant Professor in Comparative Literature at the University of Hong Kong 
Moderator: Steven Lam

Date: Thursday, 15 July 2010
Time: 6 – 8pm
Venue: Central Courtyard, Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre (JCCAC)
30 Pak Tin Street, Shek Kip Mei, Kowloon

The seminar will consider how historical memory is constructed through the development of place. By investigating how sites of heritage and commemoration are often coupled with trauma and conflict the panel suggests that artistic practice has a voice in offering alternative narratives and contestations.

Lecture/Performance
Proposal for Squatting Project / Hong Kong by Simon Leung

Host/Performer: Simon Leung
Date: Sat, 17 July 2010
Time: 3 – 5pm 
Venue: Osage Kwun Tong
6/F, Kian Dai Industrial Building, 73 – 75 Hung To Road, Kwun Tong, Kowloon

Between 1994-2008, Simon Leung created five ‘Squatting Projects’ in five cities: Berlin (1994), New York (1995), Chicago (1997), Vienna (1998), and Guangzhou (2008), each taking a specific form (public poster, video installation, sculpture, etc) to address the issues and concerns generated by the contexts and conditions of the site. ‘Proposal for Squatting Project / Hong Kong’ is a demonstration performance in the form of a lecture/performance/conversation/workshop, designed to investigate possibilities of making a new squatting project for Hong Kong. Audience members are invited to join the performance by participating in a workshop for the new work after the formal presentation.