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[...]


It’s 2017, It’s Going to be Better, and More Dangerous?

2016 year is finally over, but the horrids of 2016 recognize no year?! Since the year, is just a measurement. Today did not feel any more fresher just because it’s a new calendar year; it’s really just another day. So, no, it doesn’t feel like it’s a “new year”. Perhaps, this is just my resentment towards the last week of the year, a week (most of the time longer) of anxiety, compounded stress and the fear of being forgotten. A conversation with a friend recently made me think why don’t I try to treat 2017 differently by making New Years resolutions and so, I did it! Although, she said that my goals are not “quantitative” enough and are too personal/subjective.

Attempting #2017 New Year’s resolution on #risk #gettingemployed #newworks #takingcare #drinkingless #newyearsresolution #notart #notartresidency #wayneonhiatus #rfaoh

Which brings me to a particular subject; how does one calculate risk? I have been pondering about this in relation to my kitchen presentation at the DAI. In retrospect, I must admit that I have lived rather riskily in Singapore; being investigated for using a sensitive word (which I’d rather not use here) on my blog at the age of 15/16, charged in court for 7 counts of vandalism at 19, arrested and charged in court again at 23 for illegal driving. I’ve been rather obedient after the last incident simply because I do not want to give any more reasons for the state to “restrict my freedom” due to my “crimes”, jeopardizing my “artistic practice”. And when I say “restricted freedom”, I really meant being locked up. 

I began to analyze what encompasses this risk. Hence, the following “quantifying” questions of; what do I want to do that is so gravely dangerous that I have to think in such a way? Am I already traumatized from that 36 hours lock-up? Have I already lost my fight after being handcuffed in my own home that one time? Is this how much faith I have on Singapore (the state)? Would I put unnecessary attention/shame to my family for challenging the system, or the authority? How do I generate controversial narratives without putting my freedom or identity at risk? How much risks can I take as a citizen/an artist before my personal freedom gets impounded? Does it have to be at the expense of an individual — an “exemplary convict”? How can I talk about the fraud committed through the different state apparatuses? How far of an extent is the exploration of the limits of (il)legality done by utilizing a body or by creating a fictitious one, challenging the rhetorics of state apparatuses and thus, questioning the legitimacy of law, authority and power? 

I’m just thinking aloud here. I hope this thought exercise can trigger a larger discourse and perhaps an ongoing writing/propositional work. 

Now, happy New Year again, to readers, RFAOH crew, all ex and current residents, wherever you are! 

Leave a Comment (4)

co-director (m) wrote on Jan 5:

Hi Wayne, yes, my fb And an image from Thomas Hirschhorn's Gramsci Monument in the Bronx a few years back.

I actually had read that article last week but thanks for the impetus to re-read it; Another causality of our hyper mediated times is our (my) attention span and or our (my) ability to pick out/retain the important bits from the deluge of information that comes across various feeds. I kind of want to read Mbembe's book now. I'm not sure we can separate politics from economics; at least they always feel perpetually entwined and a kind of ultimate ground (social/cultural) you can never really dig beneath, but maybe we can MacGuyver methods no navigate it or invent knew rhetoric to understand it. You have to actively work within (or fuck around with) the culture to be part of it. Creating ambiguity is opening possibility.

co-director (s) wrote on Jan 5:

Gosh, you sound much cooler than any of us. I got only once suspended from high school for a week. Dah
Happy New Year to you, too! No risk no life (;

Wayne Lim wrote on Jan 4:

Ahh hello Matt! Is that you on facebook?

I can't help it but what a coincidence, I just saw this lecture by Avital Ronnell at the European Graduate School, On Writing a Dissertation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zanetT7b5Ko

I think the risk is becoming bigger for everyone, the stakes are higher for anyone to do anything; from spending significantly more in a bio supermarket to whether a newly-wed couple should dump in so much cash to buy a roof over their heads. I'm not sure I can articulate any better than Achille Mbembe in his article, The Age of Humanism is Ending:

http://mg.co.za/article/2016-12-22-00-the-age-of-humanism-is-ending

Art has come to the forefront again, although this time (a general) against on politics. Unlike before — during the renaissance — when art rose with politics as one of the enlightened paths in creating the imaginaries of the new world. Coming back to Ronnell's, I get this impression of her dealing (very well?) with her schizophrenic self as a writer, not to be subsumed by the endless external hindrance. It's good to learn/know that there are people out there trying too; dealing with the uncertainties, distress and discontents of today's world.

co-director (m) wrote on Jan 3:

Happy New Year Wayne

I feel quantitative reasoning is overrated - lol -- But of course new years resolutions are inherently subjective no?

There is always risk. As an artist, easy risks like rejections, moderate risks like growing old without a pension, or a life hovering around the poverty line, and occasionally (most urgently) in real consequences for falling a foul of the power aparatus of social control. (The level of social control in Singapore is a bit more amped than Canada or the Netherlands, granted) My Foucault is a bit rusty these days but I always have a soft spot for the anti authoritarian "punk" ethos; the Pussy Riots, The Ai Wei Weis, The Goyas and Delocroixs. And though all art is inherently also politics I predict a resurgence of this super-earnest punk-assed spirit in the coming post Brexit, Trumpian dystopia. Though the earnestness of these types of expressions are/will be cathartic I think the potential of art's agency for change truely lies in its ability to be completely irreverant, in its shape shifting ability to assume various forms and its resistance to being pinned down -- Its open ended-ness, in its existence as *nonsense*.

To paraphrase Avital Ronell, To leave things open-ended and radically in-appropriable and admitting it's something beyond our understandning is much less satisfying, more frustrating and much more necessary. The political battles for peoples conciousness and social obedience comes through various promises of meaning - the appropriation of culturally sanctioned rituals, the free market, entertainment and news industries, etc. People are fed and fuelled by promises of immediate gratification in thought and food and junk -- junk thought and junk food and so on -- so there is a politics of refusing that gratification. Art can potentially provide a great areana for that.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153187549775315&set=a.10153187548280315.1073741826.801570314&type=3&theater