A new interview with curator Ali Wong and artist Wong Kit Yi conducted by VCS alumna Berny Tan has just been published in the online journal Asymptote, where Berny works as Chief Executive Assistant. In her introduction to the interview, she describes her initial encounters with each of her interview subjects, and comments on one of the most surprising and thought-provoking aspects of their working relationship:
The truth is, Ali Wong and Wong Kit Yi not only share similar methodologies, but they also share the same body. In a recent artist talk, Ali stated: “What seems important to me in my curating and in the very idea of logical organization is that every system has its own limits. Every system breaks. There is always something in art that escapes the rational order.” For the dual yet interwoven personas of Ali Wong, the curator, and Wong Kit Yi, the artist, the concept of one identity within one body is simply another system to be broken.
The introduction also talks about both interviewees’ consultations with feng shui master Mr. Ye in their respective projects, and the way in which fung shui’s fundamental principles parallel many of the basic features of Western curation and artmaking:
Feng shui, literally translated as “wind and water,” is a philosophical system that dates back thousands of years. It is a means of harmonizing the energies in our environments, which are influenced by cardinal directions, the five traditional Chinese elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, water), and even geographical or architectural features. Feng shui masters make recommendations on anything from the arrangement of objects in a home, to the orientation of an entire building based on its site…
Both feng shui and curating are malleable belief systems involving the mapping of objects within certain spatial constraints, in the service of overarching historical or philosophical narratives.