Note from the Editors: ARTERI Re-Blog
Photo : Kok Yew Puah, Cyclist, 1995, Acrylic on canvas, 163 x 163 cm
Cyclist, by Kok Yew Puah, is a painting that speaks to me on many levels. There is a self assured sense of confidence in their poses, reminding me of my own halcyon childhood where parents have not yet developed into paranoid custodians who lock their kids within the compound of one’s private property in the belief that it is safer inside than out there. The cyclists stare at us, the viewers, as if they are stopping to pose for a camera. They seem to embody the youthful spirit of the country, and it is perhaps this is where they derive their sureness. But they too will eventually turn back and face the road, a roundabout to be exact. It forks out in different directions, as the signboard indicates, the endless possibilities of adventure they could face. In this painting, lurking underneath that veneer confidence is also, uncertainty.
Nine months down the road, ARTERI remains that open, quirky, shifting platform that changes by the day, inflected by the moods and whims of the editors who, at that one particular moment, manage to devote more time towards the upkeep and content development of the site. As most of you probably know, to this day, we remain very much an ad hoc voluntary project, driven by personal interests in developing new ways of writing about art as much as trying we are also trying to develop a wider and more informed audience for contemporary art and culture.
Thus far, as many of you have known, there are many hits and misses. The downside of not professionalising the blog means that despite having three heads managing the blog, we’re not able to work on it full time. This is reflected often in the content, which is at this point, still primarily driven by the editors, often colouring the ‘flavour’ of the week on ARTERI with our own preferences, tastes and quirks. It’s not hard to see by now who’s interested in what. But we continue to try to be inclusive. And of course, 10 months down the road, juggling ARTERI with jobs that pay our rent, is no easy feat. We do however want to state that we are interested in conversations and are doing the best of our ability to go out and meet people and hopefully create a sustainable relationship that will translate into achievable community building objectives we all have for ARTERI.
Whoever said that we’ve a small art community got to be kidding! Speaking to an art collector the other day, we came to an agreement that one sign of the growing maturity in the Malaysian art scene is the fact that there is now space for everyone. This breathing space, this space for working, for recognition and growth increases by the day. The moment we acknowledge that there’s enough elbow room for a growing creative community, we are also accepting the fact that our community building and networking efforts on ARTERI is not one that is based on the ideal of creating a unified, functional and cohesive community. Rather being busy body dilettantes, we want to find out the exciting events that happen in (different) communities. We want the uncertainty in art just as much as we expect it in life.
I once asked a friend who resides in London whether she is ever overwhelmed by the cultural life in her city. Whether there’s such thing as the fear of having too much to do. She responded saying it would in fact frighten or bore her if she could keep up with everything that’s going on. I think we thrive as beings who live in uncertainty. It is something we learn and perhaps embrace as we grow up.
For ARTERI to acknowledge this means that we never want see ourselves as an authoritative voice for art and culture. We are hardly representative of anything by any stretch of the imagination. As a blogging initiative, we want to ensure that ARTERI remains what we always wanted it to be right from the very beginning, a playground for art geeks who maintain an omnivorous appetite for art practice, thinking, writing and everything else that goes into it. The love for learning, reading, experiencing art and the long conversations we have with artists are the things that make running ARTERI worthwhile. Why else would we do it? What else would we share?
We like to believe that there are many more kindred souls out there who are interested in joining our blogging collective and we would like to take this opportunity to extend an invitation to everyone. If you’re unsure how you can help, drop by our office in PJ, hang out with us, talk to us, peruse our library – sooner or later, the role you might play in shaping the future of ARTERI will reveal itself.
Write to us arteri DOT malaysia AT gmail DOT com
This article was first posted on the original Arteri site on 31 October 2009.