Using“Sa Sa Art Projects” in Phnom Penh and the Lostgens’ Art Space in Kuala Lumpur as examples, this paper attempts to explore the social practice and knowledge production in South-eastern Asian contemporary art from the perspective of “curating topography”.
The conception of “curating topography” appropriates the cognitive mapping proposed by Fredric Jameson. It tries to endow individual subjectivity by intensifying new sense of place in a global system, and creates new model of representation with complex representational dialectics, in order to enhance the self-positioning accuracy, prove the ability of understanding the world, and represent the imaginative relationship between oneself and the real situation.
Cognitive mapping is related to self-positioning and understanding the world, and “place”is also a way of seeing, knowing and understand the world. If we regard the world as a composition of different places, we can see different matters. Just like what David Harvey has said, “The preservation or construction of a sense of place is then an active moment in the passage from memory to hope, from past to future.” The place is regarded as the foundation of resistance of politics and an important force to fight capitalist commodity f low and monetization. It activates the environment and society by combining local characteristics and recovering collective memories.
Basing on the concept of “curating topography,” the social practice and knowledge production emphasize the “situated knowledge” which is expected to focus on the geographical and cultural specificity instead of universal knowledge; regard audiences as active participants rather than passive viewers; and transform places into becoming artistic fields.