Extended Social Art as Practice for Artist and Museums

Myanmar based artist to work on issues of Swedish society.

Khin Thethtar Latt aka Nora has been selected for AiRSSkovde Art Museums international residency program for Social Art. Noras participation in AiRS concludes a five year mapping process conducted by Thomas Oldrell, director of Skovde Art Museum, Sweden and independant artist and curator Anna Viola Hallberg. The project consists of mapping the stie and selecting an artist. As part of this the regional art museum gets a possibillity to assess art scenes in a first hand approach connecting to different agents locallay and not predetermined by an existing international canon. The sites/arists have been: Saint Petersburg/Anastasia Vepreva, Havana/Susana Pilar Delahante Matienzo, Cape Town/Lhola Amira, Lisbon/Rui Mourão and Yangon/Khin Thethtar Lat.

In the mapping process the AiRS team met with curators, activists, Swedish Embassies, galleries and museums. The core for the on location vistit was to make studio visits with around 10 artists who had applied for the residency. Prior to departing from onlocation they did the selection and had a second sit down with the artist prepairing for the curatorial dialogue prior to the eight week on site residency in Skovde, Sweden. AiRS has from an institutional development perspective this holds among many things the empowering of the staff at the museum. By gaining knowledge about a specific segment that not even the institutions in the major cities would have.

AiRS has established a permanent studio and apartment, made connection to local art scen, worked with civil society, local artists and Skovde University. Skovde Art Museum has produced exhibitions with other artists the AiRS team met with during the studio talks. As part of an extended reach the AiRS program and the museum now have well established nodes globall. Consisting of curators and artist at the specific sites who can with their networks assist AiRS in the future with calls to AiRS and direct links into possible artists to exhibit. AiRS took on another path than consulting manuals on how to start a residency one can say that AiRS have taken on to develop the museum based residency as a Social Art project for Extended Social Art. A practice being interested in how social art can be brought back into the institution as visual arts. More about AiRS on RESARTIS

Segments from a longer conversation between Anna Viola Hallberg and Nora:

AV: You have participated in the international art context in for example a performance program at Karin Weber Gallery in Hongkong and exhibited with ION Art Gallery in Singapore.  You have worked as an art educator as well as curator and organiser for projects such as The Gender UNDER REFLECTIONS South East Asia Female Art Exchange Program, Law Ka Net Gallery in Yangon, Myanmar. You have a background in litterature then moving over to performance and video. How would you introduce your practice?

Nora: I was born in dictatorship, Myanmar. That is starvation from dreams, hopes and freedom. I was hungry to express myself as a youth growing up under that pressure. The more I tired to get freedom the more I know we don’t have freedom. When I express myself using art, I realise that there are a lot of blockage inside me. Caused of culture, gender different, political situation and the way we suffer in phycological pattern. Using performance art, photo art, filmmaking and installation, my work explore my personal feeling. I try to critique the political situation in my country.

My early art practice, 2009 - 2010, I mostly focused on performance art. At the same time, I started explore camera as a a creative medium. I experimented some video work and became a filmmaker. Being a filmmaker I got a chance meeting different level of people in society. It can extend my knowledge in contemporary art practice. Now I used different medium for my art practice. My upbringing is perhaps the reason why I feel it is important to give back to young people. I have done so at summer school at New Zero Art Space but also in other contexts such as Turning Table Myanmar and folded into how I think about my artistic practice. I was born in Dawei and graduated from Dagon University majoring in Myanmar Literature. I entered the arts by studying New Zero Art in 2009.

AV: You approached us with a project called ”Distorted Dialogue”. How would you introduce the concept?

Nora: Todays world consists of materialisation drive people, to find more money and buy more things. People are busy with consuming. And then they live their life. They called that is development. People are living in this circle. Most of the people forget to listen the voice of our soul the reason why we become human. The connection between our body and soul is lost. There is no dialog between our body and soul. “ Distorted Dialogue" project is trying to grasp the connection between the two.

/SAM, Dec 2018
View film by Nora, That’s the way I am >>>
The AiRS Team of 2014-2019 will as part of their final work co-produce a conference at fcsh/nova in Lisbon in October, 2019. From 2019 AiRS is handed over to in-house curators.

Extended Social Art as Practice for Artist and Museums