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Note from the Editors: Home is where the ARTERI is

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Vincent Leong, Run Malaysia Run, 2007, Rotating Single Channel Video Projection, 5 mins, Photo Courtesy of the Artist

In the next three posts each of the ARTERI Editors take stock, as well as reveal the hopes and the realties of running the blog.

I often say in my art writing that visual practice has the possibility to reflect and allow viewers a platform to question where we have been, where we are and where we are going. Some people think that’s bollocks, but I am an idealist when it comes to art. Anyway, the ‘We’ that I speak of is normally Malaysian art audiences. That’s you, yes you, reading this right now. And the rest of you, and of course myself. And all the Glocal audiences that curators and artists go on about too.

But now that ‘We’, is not you, (sorry) it’s Simon, Sharon and me. It’s not of the Royal variety but the people who manage ARTERI. Although the questions are the same: the past, the present and the future. Recently, we have been thinking a lot about the blog, about how to create something that is sustainable for us to produce, as well as generate content that is diverse, critical, well written AND figure out how long we can keep doing this, and everything else that we do professionally as individuals. You know: the being an artist bit, the freelance curating, art writing, lecturing and researching bits?

I joined ARTERI because I wanted to be a part of something that would help me learn more about the context of Malaysian and Southeast Asian art and work with people as committed and excited about it as me. I came back to Malaysia in June last year, with just enough time to write one piece for Kakiseni. And then BAM! They stopped all of that. So when I was approached to be a contributing editor by Simon and Sharon I said yes, and then after a trip to Jogya with SS it became obvious that we could all work together more. The three of us really wanted to try out a few things and ARTERI was the ideal platform for experimentation so I joined as Managing Editor. And let’s face it we all get a huge proportion of our information online, so to have a web based space to produce knowledge and stimulate debate is the most effective way to communicate with people.

At first it was easy to work on posts, manage the site, do talks, organise parties, have meetings and get things off the ground. We wanted to try everything! But you know la, it’s hard. We are all so busy trying to survive, because ARTERI has been a free labour of love up until now so I write for other magazines, curate shows and teach in order to develop my own practice as a curator and of course eat mamak, pay internet bills, cat food etc. And then it became harder to post on a regular basis for me, and the site developed so fast which we were thrilled about but not exactly prepared for. And let’s not forget that although we are team, we are also individuals with different views on where to take things and how. So we have to spend a lot of time talking it through which is not always easy when we are abroad. ARTERI emails have flown in between Japan, Europe, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia so far. It’s been a trip, and we are wiser, more excited and just a little more tired for it. But we are also committed to doing something that’s fun, informative and critical. We want to help our scene grow, we just need to keep figuring out what works best.

So why write all of this in the first place? Where AM I going with this? Is this just a bitch session? Will there be a dramatic end/cliff hanger to this piece? Well not really. It’s more a way to take stock and be honest with our audiences. It’s a chance to say, that we do want to be an open platform for everyone, to cover as many shows, projects and issues from Malaysia and Southeast Asia. But that is a huge responsibility for the three of us and as our contributers don’t have a lot of time, we (SS+SC +me) sometime miss things, and sometimes we write things really quickly which may not be up to the level you want because we want to keep posting regularly but are on deadline for something else. We will soldier on, but we honestly can’t do everything, and we are after all a humble blog. However! We think we can keep our enthusiasm up for at least another year, so please bear with us. Help us, write for us!! And keep those comments coming. Now that we have our office in Rumah Merah, we can focus on creating a more sustainable site and making sure we continue to try and cover things that you want to hear about, should hear about and also wonder why the hell are they writing about this? So readers keep supporting us, keep reading our stuff and we’ll see what happens K??


This article was first posted on the original Arteri site on 27 October 2009.

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