A few words
‘in-tangible institute’ offers curatorial mentorship, educational programs, strategic advice and industry consultation, towards the nurturing of productive, critical and innovative relationships between curators and their various stakeholders in the arts – such as artists, collectors, writers, teachers, researchers, business entrepreneurs and more – in the interest of building a diverse interdisciplinary ecology for the arts.
‘WHAT WE DO’
‘in-tangible institute’ seeks to nurture curatorial expertise with critical comparative ethos in Southeast Asia, a region whose cultural and artistic experimental landscape is largely serviced by the private sector, with an exciting array of differing organizational model in need of experienced facilitatory skill in the arts. Employing a select rotation of emerging curators from initially Thailand, with future intention to include curators from across Southeast Asia, ‘in-tangible’ seeks to offer this much-needed talent with opportunities to gain experience by realizing programs for varied international platforms, under the lead guidance of Zoe Butt. Via the initiation and delivery of exhibitions, educational programs, publishing of critical texts, commissioning of artistic research, for and in collaboration with an array of differing community globally, in-tangible seeks to foster internationally competent curatorial practice that is crucially locally responsive. In addition to such mentorship, ‘in-tangible’ offers strategic advice and consultation to clients in Southeast Asia seeking to invest in the building of cultural consciousness via their private collections, museum projects or advocacy for the arts, assisting their desire to create organizational structures and communities that are emboldened by local know-how in their international engagements.
‘WHY WE DO’
‘in-tangible institute’ is compelled and inspired by the shared cultural histories and rituals of South East Asia, a region whose contemporary experimental artistic communities demonstrate particular resilience in the face of government interference, lack of financial support and educational malaise – symptoms that resonate across much of the decolonizing world. At in-tangible we understand that the considerably uneven arts infrastructure across what is problematically referred as the ‘Global South’, suffers particular political poverty, whose disenfranchised contexts is of significant impact on the visibility of their artists and cultural thinkers. We thus seek ways to share and learn from each other’s experiences, to give exposure to alternate definitions of what constitutes curatorial practice, emphasising the caring for the intangible labour of artists (eg. where artists are locally valued as teachers, social-welfare officers, archivists, activists and more). Such consideration seeks to nurture principles of value that extend beyond artistic output as merely marketable and commodifiable, to engage how curators and artists today must embrace a plethora of social roles in contemporary life in the sustaining of their communities.
‘WHERE WE DO’
‘in-tangible institute’ will possess modest office, display and residency space in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in 2024. Its programs will be carried out with clients and program partners globally.
‘in-tangible institute’ was founded in 2022 by curator and writer, Zoe Butt. With over two decades of experience in working across public and private industries for the arts globally, her curatorial practice centres on building and mentoring critically thinking and historically conscious artistic communities, fostering dialogue among cultures of the globalizing souths.
Zoe was Artistic Director of the Factory Contemporary Arts Centre, Ho Chi Minh City (2017-2021), Executive Director and Curator, Sàn Art, Ho Chi Minh City (2009–2016); Director, International Programs, Long March Project, Beijing (2007–2009); and Assistant Curator, Contemporary Asian Art, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane (2001–2007); this latter post particularly focused on the research and realization of its recurring ‘Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’. Notable curatorial endeavours include Pollination (2018 ongoing), linking curators, artists and private patronage across Southeast Asia; Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber – Journey Beyond the Arrow (2019), one of the most prominent international platforms staging the latest in contemporary art, organized by the Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE; Conscious Realities (2013-2016) and San Art Laboratory (2012-2015), educational programs and artistic production focused on interdisciplinary expertise from across the Global South; in addition she possesses an extensive exhibition and public speaking career that has sought to promote the depth of under-recognized artistic practice and the little-discussed histories they reveal.
Her writing has been previously published by Hatje Cantz; JRP-Ringier; Routledge; Sternberg Press, to name but a few. She is a Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) International Curatorial Fellow, New York; a member of the Asia Society, New York, ‘Asia 21’ initiative; and member of the Asian Art Council, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Zoe is currently a PhD candidate with the Centre for Research, Education, Art and Media (CREAM), University of Westminster, London; Lead Advisor (South East Asia and Oceania), Kadist Art Foundation, Paris/San Francisco and Academic Advisor, TIMES Museum, Guangzhou.