Irma Lacorte, 2010
Esther Yip Lai Man, 2010
Small Talk: Conversation of Cities is not just a themed exhibition with participating artists from Bangkok, Hongkong, Singapore and Manila, it is first and foremost an inquiry: How does contemporary urban life compare from one city to another? What aspects of the contemporary do we re-cognize in each city? The target artists therefore must have experience in transcience and mobility, a symptom of the contemporary Asian artist’s practice.
The goal of the project goes beyond a catalogue of comparison to create groundwork for critical stances on contemporary life and culture in the region. It is to create a field of creative thought where urban blight in Manila can be fully understood as the filter of its blood-red sunsets; or where the cosmopolitan edge of Singapore is but the vessel of its openness to all denizens; or where HongKong is seen as an example of contemporary urbanity that keeps in touch with heritage and where Bangkok is discovered as a region of plenitude, and as a nexus for travellers that does not exhaust the senses nor the travel fund. Or it can be a venue to air out grievances and bad memories: of lousy accommodations and cheating taxicab drivers; of lost luggage and bad bargains; of horrid humidity and fretful thunderstorms; of deadlock traffic jams and late-night revelry and its attendant hang-over; greasy bar tops, dark alleyways and difficult concierge services, connecting flights...
Whatever the subject, a conversation in this structure can go on as long as the beer holds its dew. Small Talk is but an entry point to a promising variety of dialogue, where the works are equally provocative to other trajectories of thought. Like an urban traffic of creative projections, we revel: the smell of diesel fumes on our clothes, wafts of roast, chilli and curry, to the saccharine textures of a stretch of highways, the cold concrete greys of our alleyways and the circus primaries of our local politics. We swap stories of our everyday lives. riel hilario