Preface: Planning Ahead
By Elaine W. NG
The second year of the pandemic saw the continuation of speculative discussions on the post-pandemic era, with many imagining what it might be like. Some are eager to emerge from Covid-19 and return to what was once the stable norm, while others are calling for the creation of new socioeconomic structures that better serve populations. This tension between order and disruption is reflected in the design of ArtAsiaPacific’s 17th Almanac, which juxtaposes grid motifs with tilted, slipping elements evoking a turning page. What might be overleaf—an extension of what already exists or a transformed world?
The question of how to forge on in the future is a pressing issue for arts circles around the world. In City Reports, we hear from 15 artists, writers, and curators about the responses of their communities to the events of 2021 and their focuses moving into 2022 and beyond. Based in Hong Kong, curator Chloe Chow describes the opening of the much-anticipated M+ museum amid concerns for freedom of speech, as well as the city’s adaptations to a shifting political climate. Gotong royong (to share and build together) undergirds Indonesia’s social movements and civic solidarity, according to Yogyakarta-based curator Alia Swastika, who expounds the growing importance of collectivism, decentralization, and decolonization. Nav Haq, associate director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp, similarly reflects on discussions around decolonization and the necessity of alternative cultural and philosophical models within such discourse in Europe.