Sa Sa Bassac, On Attachments and Unknowns: On Sharing Unstable Space

Erin Gleeson spoke about affinitive artistic and curatorial strategies at work in the 2017 exhibition On Attachments and Unknowns. Taking place in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, this group exhibition was held within a research residency FIELDS (2017), hosted by SA SA BASSAC, a non-profit contemporary art space in Phnom Penh (2011-2018). Thirteen artists’ works were convened in part to consider practices of imaging personalized counter-visions to statecraft ideologies and methods in their respective contexts. On Attachments and Unknowns looked to the space of the ‘How’ to let an exhibition be an unstable space that follows artist’s intentions to resist immediacy of message. With each artist and work located in Southeast Asia, and all but one artist identifying as female, a reflection on the exhibition proposes a series of questions: What can a regionalist and gendered framing of an exhibition offer? How can one curatorially rhyme with the methods by which artists conceive of power within their primarily authoritarian environments? How can an exhibition resist the habit to communicate artist’s resolve, action or agency within political and social movements.

Erin Gleeson is an independent curator, researcher and writer. Her work is rooted in knowledge and practices in and related to Southeast Asia, with current focuses on indigeneity and contemporary art in the region, and exhibition histories of Cambodia. Erin was the co-founding director and curator of SA SA BASSAC, a non-profit exhibition space, reading room and resource center in Phnom Penh (2011-2018) and is the founding curator of the biennale exhibition and symposium Elevations Laos (2018-).