Wayne Wang-Jie Lim, Singapore / Netherlands

Residency Period: August 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017


Bio

Incidentally conceived in China, raised in Singapore, Wayne Wang-Jie Lim is an art practitioner working and living in Amsterdam. Since 2009, he had exhibited and presented in shows at various venues, from the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore (ICAS), Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore (CCA), to the Singapore Art Museum. He was awarded the Winston Oh Travel Research Award in 2013 for a research in Hong Kong, a writer-in-residence at maumau Art Space in Istanbul, Turkey in 2015 and most recently part of a research-residency project co-funded by the Creative Europe Program of the EU, called “Understanding Territoriality” at Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto in Biella, Italy.

He is currently pursuing his MA at the Dutch Art Institute as a recipient of the Non-EU scholarship grant from ArtEZ Institute of the Arts. His current inquiry focuses on geopolitics, language, philosophy and history in relation to art and hence, experiments with formats that are not the conventional, such as, travelogues, thinking and the writerly.

URL: waynewjlim.com Instagram


On-hiatus Proposal Summary

During his BA studies, Wayne was drafted into the army for mandatory military service that brought a two-year halt to his “practice” — he practically made/produced nothing, and participated in a few minor exhibitions for which he only showed old works he had done in school. Instead, he read a lot, and in retrospect, “prepared” for his final year after his obligatory service ended. This was the first time he questioned what an “artistic practice” meant.

When he returned to finish his degree, he could no longer make art in the way he used to, and his production shifted to a focus on researching and writing, making strategic plans on practicing at the fringe of what can be called “art” before spending only a short couple months at actually producing the “artworks”. Though a national arts body has funded his projects and exhibitions, he is not recognized officially as an artist under the institutions’ national framework of what constitutes artistic practice. This simultaneously “insider / outsider” state has further led him to his current research.

As Wayne begins his hiatus, he will also be working towards his graduate degree, where his thesis-research explores the notion of “non-position/location”. He feels that this timing will prompt him to really ask himself how he could “nourish” himself and re-strategize his artistic practice in order to benefit from the artworld’s infrastructure/institutions but not be subsumed into the wider agenda of neoliberalism and nationalistic rhetoric as a contemporary art producer or a cultural and knowledge producer. He hopes to investigate alternative modes of art production with an ultimate goal of infiltrating the arts market from the peripherals while being completely non-positional and ambiguous. Or practically, what he has to do in order to survive as an artist in a way that will also afford him a comfortable living -- and not like a "poor artist".

During his residency at RFAOH, he primarily wants to spend time on brooding over the function of his “art” and his “practice”. He plans to use the stipend “for nourishment” by purchasing books and organizing a reading group, putting food on his table, paying for his website domain, buying a hashtag on his Instagram account, paying an exorbitant amount for a VIP ticket to an art fair to look at art-for-sale, etc. He also plans to routinely write and perhaps finally learn how to use Instagram to “market” his non-art/borderline art activities.


Final Report

What do I think about when I don't think? As I round up my last few beautiful days in the outskirts of Seoul before I have to head off to Beijing to reunite with my family for a well-deserved vacation, a defiant North Korean missile was fired at 6am this morning, and it landed in the sea not far from Hokkaido, Japan. While the US is conducting its 'regular’ — often unapologetic — military exercise with the South Koreans military, I am sitting here opening, closing, and reopening this report, contemplating — or even procrastinating — about I can possibly write.

“What am I doing here?”, is a question I routinely pose myself. I now wonder if my relentless pursuit of the never-ending “here’s” is perhaps too disruptive. In the same vein, I can’t seem to know where I want to be; except knowing where I do not want to be. It’s an excuse I sometimes use to cover up my escapism. On a different note, while noting the political context of the Korean Peninsula (or the nature of conflicts), I have been rethinking the difference between presence and occupation. It questions not just the essentialism of identity and place — if not nationalism, and the rhetorics of the nationstate — how else and what other ways to justify the existence of being/the conception of statehood. Where is the “inside” and/or the “outside”?

A year ago, I applied mainly with the intention to understand my own practice, and perhaps to find a “direction in my life”, in regards to being simultaneously, an "insider" and an "outsider" of where I come from. The combination of my trajectory at the Dutch Art Institute and RFAOH have certainly pushed my practice into a more theoretical, and political direction/place. With that in mind, it is, therefore, important to think, and employ strategies that bring about higher agency in one's (artistic) practice. Although my initial research premise relating to my thesis have changed — from a "non-position/location" to the "hyperrestrained order" — it nevertheless helped me to understand better my position or role (and even the escapism), and my relationship with the state (Singapore), that changes from being a citizen, a soldier, to an "artist" (as an occupation). I have seen this process as a crucial development — as a theoretical inquiry, and the understanding of the previous — in relation to my art practice. During my hiatus, I have learnt to bring research-traveling-writing to the forefront of my practice — not entirely inclined to the notion of producing artworks as the 'only' way of art-making. Ironically, I believe this journey — of art and life — will/can never truly be on a “hiatus”. If one is practicing life (thinking about Tehching Hsieh's talk), can we say or consider art as the medium of life, while life never stops, and art nourishes life?

The “here” now is post-hiatus. I am excited about what Beijing can I offer me, as well as what I can learn from this potential move. “Post-hiatus” is, so to speak, actually getting over an ex-lover, and confronting some fears I had the past couple years; anxieties and insecurities, where I don’t just ask myself the purpose of my existence at a physical location. It is about living through it, making decisions even if I won’t be liking it, whether its on life, art or love.


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recent comments

On Jul 1 2017, Wayne Lim commented on Back to Life: Hi Shinobu, you're right! Thanks for reminding me about the positive things! And, I am so glad we go[...]

On Jul 1 2017, co-director(s) commented on Back to Life: Congratulations Wayne for finishing both school and RFAOH residency!!! (How ironic that is ;P) You [...]

On Apr 10 2017, Wayne Lim commented on Touristing the United States/But Let's Call This an Airport Rating: Oh I can't imagine how much worse it could get in the snow storms! It's a good lesson. I should alwa[...]

On Apr 10 2017, Lee commented on Touristing the United States/But Let's Call This an Airport Rating: This is terrible! I have a love/hate relationship to travelling. I do most of my air travel in Canad[...]

On Apr 2 2017, Wayne Lim commented on From Brussels to Mechelen, Mexico City to New York City: @S No discussion needed (it is exactly how I described it "pseudo-work-study-trip" :P)!! Hahaha! But[...]


Possibly the Worst Vacation Ever

 

It’s been two weeks since Faro. Summer is finally here, or should I say I’ve been chasing after summer? I’m headed towards Budapest from Bratislava as I write. This lonely traversing life is starting to affect my mental health. Although the cold had left but it will come back as soon as I return to Amsterdam. Summer hasn’t exactly made things better. Summer is making me jealous of people taking road trips with their family. Summer is love birds making out in the parks and frolicking the grass. Summer is going nude on the beach and skinny dipping with your friends and lovers. 

View of the “UFO” tower; leaving Bratislava for Budapest.

I’ve always pride about being able to work and travel at the same time. Because of this trip, I have decided that I will avoid traveling for no reason other than for work. Reason being that my remaining funds will not last me until next summer. Even if I were to scrimp and save, I can only stay until the end of winter. I’d probably have to leave before the DAI Roaming Academy in March. I am not entirely keen about staying in Amsterdam neither do I want to really move back to Singapore but I need a job to pay my debt and that’s the cold hard reality. At the same time, there are so much opportunities for me outside of Singapore and I don’t want to miss them. 

I admit I’m a little less excited about the next DAI year already because people left, everything that’s no-questions-awesome about it has changed. But of course, my research has to go on and my thesis needs to be written. I want my works/writings to get picked up. There’s going to be Contour Biennale in Mechelen curated by Natasha Ginwala who was my coach, and part of the DAI is going to Brazil next March after visiting Contour. So I should really be looking forward. 

Perhaps I am moving on, since I am making plans. I don’t know what’s what anymore. My heart and mind are dislocated and dispersed continentally and I am allowing as such because it’s okay to not be okay. I am preparing my mind to this countdown because returning to Singapore is a really big confrontation for me after what happened. Furthermore, I do think that I have to face this in order to really move on.

A few wants or aims:

  • Present some of my written works
  • Get a job (and clear my debt)
  • Work and collaborate with artists-researchers and philosophers in East Asia and Southeast Asia
  • Learn German 
image
Devin Castle is just 10km outside of Bratislava.

How do I capitalize on my situation? How to turn my weakness into strength? How can I share my passion? And back to that issue from/of traveling, yesterday was a rather comforting day when I met a group of travelers (from Italy and Germany) at the bus stop of Devin Castle that is situated outside of Bratislava. We started really talking on the bus and one of the guy shared his experience about being and living in India for 6 months. He later on started complaining about Europeans and their ‘privileged traveler’ syndrome that I somewhat talked about in my first post — that really surprised me. I saluted him for his ‘sensitivity’ towards the unknown and the foreign. He is at a young age of 23, from Milan and studies engineering management. Of course, let’s not point fingers at the Europeans. I think tourists coming from developed societies tend to have this ugly trait (including myself) and sometimes academics seem to be doing this the most often, assuming they are experts of certain knowledge simply because they have a university degree. I have learnt over time and experience to not cast a perception or judgement, or to exercise a certain superiority just over the state of things just because you have the monetary power to do so.  

Thinking about trans-border knowledge production at the natural river border of the Danube between Slovakia and Austria.

Today, there is a “crisis of knowing”. The questions I posed before on tourism and education (specifically humanities subjects) is to research on how to change the future conception of knowing and cultivate societal receptiveness to the state of unknown? Can trans-border education across continents work? Currently, such networks already exist but are they doing enough? What are the methodologies employed? What can a geolocation, culture and local politics teach people albeit studying something seemingly different? How can we promote knowledge diversity and to learn beyond the self? Universities need to be decolonized, knowledge production as a process needs to be detached from institutional capitalization and had to be understood as such that knowledge cannot and should not be owned. Which had in turn created generations of ‘experts’ in certain fields/industries who are “most certainly qualify” and granting them authority to speak, write and document about ‘the others’.

I shall end with a quote by Achille Mbembe extracted from Decolonizing Knowledge and the Question of the Archive,

“By pluriversity, many understand a process of knowledge production that is open to epistemic diversity. It is a process that does not necessarily abandon the notion of universal knowledge for humanity, but which embraces it via a ‘horizontal strategy of openness to dialogue among different epistemic traditions.”

 

Leave a Comment (2)

Wayne Lim wrote on Sep 2:

You are so darn right — the 'hidden layer' that I did not cover in my writing — about the relationships and policies made by hegemonic nations and dominating markets are responsible for creating and mediating (in your word) this exact circuit and economy.

Also, I must add that I've been physically 'displacing' myself in order to perform this act/way of seeing my own country, Singapore and from that angle, understand 'my own identity' better. Speaking so much of decolonizing and 'undoing' or 'unlearning' things, unfortunately is not something that can be undone...

co-director (m) wrote on Sep 1:

I think many people in privileged countries, i.e., the ones who travel for leisure , tend to travel with little grace, and are also often oblivious to that. (I write that from a nation so hung up on being mistaken for one of them, that people sew Canadian flags on their luggage) Its a kind of privilege that comes from growing up in a G8 country, but also a consequence of capitalism and a tourist industry that mediates these kinds of experiences for a majority of people. A kind of club med experience of, airport security and 3.5 star hotels - and pictures of the sights. When you travel for other purposes (work) however, usually you are meeting local people being taken to local spots, you get a more authentic experience of the culture. I think there is more empathy to be gained in meeting actual people. Also the longer one can reflect on their own culture form outside the better they can see it/critique it.