On wonder and not knowing: Together Again (Wood:Cut) 2008 – ongoing

Davis, L. (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesConference presentation

Description

In this presentation I will talk about one of our Migrant Ecologies’ projects which, in the context of ‘connoisseurship’ becomes perhaps about the ongoing possibilities of not-knowing.
A series of different collaborators and I have spent ten years, slowly working through a political-ecological-material tangle of genetic, poetic, art historic and intersectional stories, all related to one particular object, a 1930’s teak bed that was found in a karang guni junk store in Singapore.
The most well-known ‘story of wood’ evolving from this process concerns attempts to trace the DNA of this teak bed back to a possible island plantation in Southeast Sulawesi where the original tree might have grown, in collaboration with a Singapore startup called Double Helix Tracking Technologies.
A second, equally-important, parallel quest was art historical and emerged from an ongoing interest in the politics and poetics of the mid twentieth century, Malayan Modern Woodcut Movement by artists of the migrant Chinese Left. When I started this process I was looking for ways that one might critically-work through the micro gestures, materiality and macro ambitions of this movement in a contemporary ecological context of 'cuttings of wood' (regional deforestation).
The cumulative revelations that emerge from working from multiple perspectives and for a rather long time on this one thing, make for story-telling possibilities that perhaps complicate the definitive, ‘journey to the source’ business of DNA tracking.
Period30 Nov 2018
Event titleConnoisseurship in Contemporary Art Research: null
Event typeConference
LocationHelsinki, Finland