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INCCA-Asia Pacific officially launched!

Monday, September 29, 2014 - 15:14

INCCA-AP officially launched.

INCCA-Asia Pacific was launched on 14 September 2014 in Melbourne. INCCA-AP is a regional group of the International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art (INCCA), which was established in 1999 to share and preserve the knowledge needed for the conservation of contemporary art.  Karen te Brake-Baldock, INCCA Co-ordinator, visited from the Netherlands for the launch (and for the 2014 ICOM-CC conference) and introduced the history and aims of INCCA. Many thanks Karen for all your help.
 
Diana Tay, INCCA-AP member, then addressed the reason for setting up this new regional group:
The history of conservation culture as a professional discipline in the Asia Pacific is short in comparison to Europe and the United States.  INCCA Asia Pacific’s intended role and function in the emerging field of the care for contemporary art is to investigate specific issues and challenges of the region. This includes issues of climate; material culture; availability of materials for creative and conservation practice; documentation; fusion creation – which combines traditional and contemporary art practices; conservation awareness; and education and training opportunities.
 
Diana also talked about issues in defining the ‘Asia Pacific’:
It would be inaccurate to consider the Asia Pacific region as a whole in terms of its art and culture. With its great diversity in cultures as well as art practices, contemporary art from the Asia Pacific is not considered as a set of art objects produced by artists from a geographical area. Instead, the grouping is regarded as a discursive framework within which experimental art and the art of our time are connected to the region. This approach allows the identification of shared attributes, ideas, subjects and references throughout the ‘Asia Pacific’ – key themes which frame contemporary art practices, and the care of contemporary art.  It involves rethinking ideas of centre and periphery, and engages with the concept of multiple cultures to inform critical perspectives.
INCCA-AP is not only for conservators, but also for art practitioners at large. We acknowledge that these working relationships may differ from region to region and are what contemporary art care is built on. We strongly encourage conservators to join INCCA as members if you have not yet done so and for all who are interested to know the progressions of the field in the Asia Pacific to subscribe to INCCA-AP for updates.
During the INCCA-AP launch it was acknowledged that the variety of different cultures in the region makes this group truly unique and building connections is one of the main aims for the group. With many Australian conservators at the launch, we were also reminded that there is a very dynamic contemporary art community in Australia with a strong skills base, which also requires nurturing.
 
Diana also took us on a tour of the new INCCA-AP website at www.incca-ap.org
This site supports both mobile and desktop viewing.  The green in the INCCA-AP logo represents the lands of the Asia Pacific, and the blue represents the oceans, which both separate and connect these lands. On the website, you can see a subtle pattern of honeycomb, which functions as a metaphor for the network. Each hexagonal wax cell fits into the larger honeycomb structure, offering high strength and cohesion. Thanks again to Diana who is the talented designer behind the website!
 
Anne Carter, INCCA-AP member, discussed the logistics and future directions of the new group: 
Our plans for this group revolve around developing a strong network of practice related professionals. We would like to draw in conservators and non-conservators to share this dialogue. Our initial aim is to identify contacts in the region and to promote the work that is already happening. We hope to get people engaged and talking about issues of caring for contemporary art. To enable this network, we have the website up and running and are currently building a database of subscribers. We have no password protected background in our website, so for members to contact each other directly, they would have to also become members of INCCA where personal contacts can be shared. INCCA-AP can mediate requests from members to meet others, and can also facilitate discussions on Facebook and LinkedIn.
We are hoping from this engagement and participation from members that priorities for future actions will be revealed. Feedback so far has included the need for existing archives, conservation professionals and not for profits working in the region to be visible and connected to a network. To this aim, we have started to collate ‘Regional Profiles’ on the ‘What’s Happening’ page of the website. As the network grows, we hope in the longer term to work together on identified projects.
 
Discussion was opened up to the floor and other INCCA-AP members Sarah Hillary, Sabine Cotte, Bettina Ebert and Selina Halim as well as participants joined in discussion. One of the recurrent questions during the launch, and during subsequent discussions was that of collecting Contemporary Art. For example, what are the best standards for artwork documentation on acquisition? Are artist interviews on acquisition useful and what form should they take? How do you write an installation manual, and what can we learn from experienced collectors in the field? What resources are available to guide the acquisition process and how do conservators, researchers, artists and curators work together to store this documentation? 
 
Other issues discussed included:
  • intellectual property, and protocol or good practice guidelines for dealing with indigenous culture
  • INCCA-AP’s relationship with the existing network, APTCCARN
  • the need to reach out to practitioners in the Pacific region, as this is currently underrepresented
  • finding an event or project to work towards. Perhaps the International Institute for Conservation meeting in 2016 in Los Angeles on Contemporary Art, jointly organised by INCCA, is one forum?
INCCA-AP would like to welcome practitioners from around the region to take a part in discussions about the care of Contemporary Art. You can be involved by becoming a member of INCCA-AP through the website to receive email updates. You can let us know about issues or connections you would like to make, or information that you would like to share.  On the website you can find out about 'What's Happening'. Here you can read profiles on existing resources and not-for-profit agencies through the region. INCCA-AP hopes to expand these 'Regional Profiles', so please let us know if there is a project or agency that you would like to profile. Through developing these profiles, INCCA-AP hopes to develop a picture of contemporary art care in the region.
 
Many thanks from the INCCA-AP team:
Diana Tay, Anne Carter, Betina Ebert, Selina Halim, Sabine Cotte and Sarah Hillary.
 

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