turbulence: third auckland triennial 2007

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i visited a couple of galleries in auckland which hosts the third triennal-2007. my pick is the ‘long march’ project which i found of particular relevance to the current transformations taking place in auckland, most notably the expansion of a dynamic chinese community and the use of space at the heart of the city. it is also a very distinct work as it debates the nature of chinese immigration, a hot topic in national agendas in asia-pacific and beyond. [ an extract from the triennial’s site below]

No Chinatown

For the 2007 Auckland Triennial, the Long March – Chinatown will be brought to Auckland in a collaborative project with artists Kah Bee Chow and Daniel Malone entitled No Chinatown. The project takes a public minded approach by utilising public spaces not just as exhibitions sites, but also involving the contributions of many other individuals, communities and collectives as a vital part of the work. The metaphor of ‘Chinatown’ will be used to engage with the Triennial’s curatorial theme of turbulence, and the subsequent dynamics of immigration, tourism and cultural diaspora raised in the process of globalisation. Within this framework Chinatown serves not as an illustration of identity politics or post colonial discourse, but rather, as a metaphorical site to explore general notions of performed and constructed identity, as well as focusing on the local context of Auckland, a city, which has been deemed a ‘high-immigration’ city.

No Chinatownwn will engage with the ambivalent social atmosphere, at times ambiguously, at times provocatively, around the relationship between Auckland and its Chinatown(s). Should Auckland have a Chinatown? Does Auckland in fact already have Chinatown(s)? What indeed constitutes a Chinatown or any (self) determined cultural identification with place? No Chinatown will raise these questions and the discursive space for any number of simultaneous answers, sometimes contradictory, acting as a catalyst to precipitate the emotional state of Auckland; at times lamenting a lack, or proposing an action, at others giving voice to confusion or resisting over-determination. It will engage in the Triennial’s broad discourse around multiculturalism, as well as the unique context of Aotearoa New Zealand’s bicultural geo-politic and the notion of Maori as Tangata Whenua (people of the land).

– Long March Project, Kah Bee Chow and Daniel Malone

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