When Adam told me to “oh come by and say some things” I thought about a form of reflexive activities that we can do together. Dusts Institute started in Hong Kong, with Adams very first performative exercise in an infrastructural air vent in the waterfront of Hong Kong, right next to where I would commute home. Although I wasn’t present at his performance, the cops were, public, as well as the dusts that entered his respiratory system and destroyed his lungs for a month.
The very material nature of dusts as David Gissen would proclaim, a subnature, or the biopatina that rests on our buildings appear almost immaterial but emerges as a form of activism. An often unwanted element stuck onto our surfaces which we use bleach, alcohol and water to remove from time to time. A migratory element which knows no borders, territorial and lives side by side in our ecology.
So what has this got to do with the precarity of gathering? What makes it precarious as we are gathered here in the 8th district of Josephstadt?
Let me share some stories today. (oh this is a photo of my friends and I in adams home town)
Ask dust migrates, settle for a while, and move, so do our forms of social connections. My body of work is centered around collectives, a ‘hip’, new, trendy word in the ‘art world’. I’m well aware of the openness, misuses and institutionalised discourses around the term, but let me share some rumours which centres around our work.
But let’s begin in Hong Kong, where I currently live in a lush village on an outlying island, Lo so Shing in Lamma Island.
With our neighbours, we decided to bring everyone together for a fermentation station at my home. We planned an afternoon of kimchi, kombucha, kefir and many more microbial friends.
We learned about kimchi-fying – as a verb, not a noun, and beer fermentation, kombucha and more.
Together from the aunties we learned knife skills, how they chose the village life, as villages in Hong Kong, land is only passed down to the male heir. How do they contend with their precarity of gathering, tied by their union?
I often use this slide to indicate our interconnected ecology of relations. Foregrounded by The Pirate Care Project, a transnational research project introducing care infrastructure with exercises created for reflection created this worksheet which I can turn the floor to you all. Maybe take a few minutes to consider how do you exist. Who are the other people, creatures or dusts of whom orbits around you and what do you create together?
Maybe we can share a few initiatives we have done collaboratively together at the end- but hold onto the thought.
So why is this meaningful for you all here in the centre of Vienna?! Our work is also a collective endeavour is centred on artists collectives situated in Malaysia, a relatively young country in Southeast Asia.