The Californian curator and writer Samantha Culp, currently based in Shanghai, and the South-African researcher and writer Cher Potter, based in London, have been appointed as main curators of the Impakt Festival to highlight the characteristic elements from the image industry of the rapidly growing economies such as China, India and Brasil. The various elements of the programme will be shaped according to the ingredients of the main curators, complimented with contributions of correspondents, experts, curators and artists from all over the globe. Read more about the festival theme here.
NO MORE WESTERNS is not a survey or a thesis. Rather, it’s a speculative space, a dreamlike vantage point from which we might consider a new modernity, an altermodernity or plural modernities. A changed world is becoming increasingly clear in our imaginations, a world no longer dominated by the West, nor even by the familiar binaries of centre/periphery, Orient/Occident, Empire/subject, self/Other.
We hope to share some of the isolated charges and momentary signs we’ve noticed that indicate a new and imminent awareness – a set of cultural and social movements emerging from regions operating along alternative storylines to the west, in the spaces between pre-modernism and post-postmodernism. Through multi-directional cultural flows, hybrid languages, indigenous innovation, re-orientated futurisms and far-flung speculations on a south-south visual arts axis, we ponder what the world might look like when America is “just another country”. To paraphrase the prescient science fiction writer William Gibson when he defined a new vision of the future: “The post-Western world is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed.”
No More Westerns will showcase contributions from and collaborations with some of the most dynamic emerging artists from around the world, but also with non-traditional “authors”/creators (e.g. designers of pirated-DVD graphics). The already blurry line between artist, curator, and audience will hopefully be further blurred, to delve deeper into the connected issues of hybrid authorship and shifts of global perspective. Featured themes range from China’s “Grass Mud Horse” (草泥马) internet meme to an interactive printshop with non-Roman language typography designers, seeing through the lens of the Google Earth sublime, dispatches from neo-ruralist outposts and “Third World” hacker labs, pop culture trends of the new Sino-African Silk Road, a “Rest Remaking the West” cinematheque, and the groundbreaking legacy of Afrofuturism.
Samantha Culp is a California-born writer, curator and creative producer currently based in Shanghai. She has spent the past 8 years in greater China, first in Hong Kong, then in Beijing/Shanghai, with research and residency ties to Fujian, Bangkok, and Tokyo. Her writing has appeared in publications such as Artforum, Bidoun, TimeOut Hong Kong, and The South China Morning Post, and as a contributing editor of Chinese art magazine LEAP (艺术节). Samantha is the founder and director of New Territories, an experimental studio for research and production, which develops projects and events spanning art, cinema, and design. Recent works include “Short Stays”, a series of short films by indie filmmakers sponsored by a Beijing hotel, a year of cultural programming and consulting for creative agency Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai, and the inaugural edition of Tulou Open House, a site-specific creative experiment, residency, and conference at a traditional tulou in rural Fujian Province.
Cher Potter is a South African cultural researcher based in London. Her interest in the changing present and notions of The Future play out over a number of platforms – She is a Research Fellow at the Victoria & Albert museum working on ‘The Future: A History’, a major exhibition surveying failed/achieved design predictions of the recent century. As the organiser of the London-based design group Alterfutures, which proposes compelling alternatives to received expectations of the future, she is curating an exhibition at London’s Architecture Foundation called ‘Worlds in Progress’ to open early 2013. She is Senior Editor of Creative Direction at WGSN design forecasting agency, analysing the flow of aesthetic tendencies in arts, music, fashion, architecture and new media. She writes a regular column for the cultural magazine 032C on the expanding field of science fiction and recently contributed to the Arnolfini gallery’s ‘Africa in Science Fiction’ exhibition. She has also written for The Financial Times, Tank magazine, Arnolfini’s Concept Store magazine and Barbican’s ‘Future Beauty’ hardback publication on the subject of futures and design.