Francesca Marcaccio Hitzeman photographed by Luca Bellumore.
#switch is an initiative that investigates how different roles in conversations impact their context and outcome. In this campaign, Creatives are challenged to step outside of their usual conversation routine by switching between questioner and answerer. #switch
Francesca Marcaccio Hitzeman photographed by Luca Bellumore.
Francesca Marcaccio Hitzeman
Art Curator, writer and consultant
Temporarily in New York City, soon to be back to Hong Kong
Curating has been for me a nomadic practice to which I still try these days to find an ethos. I always care to specify that I am not a curator: I work as a curator. What I do through curating is a process, in flux and not the production of a fixed identity.
I'm specialized in photography, lens based media and contemporary art with an emphasis on cross-disciplinary and international programming. With a background in Art History with a focus on post-war and contemporary art, a masters in Fine Art Photography or Photographic Studies from LCC (UAL London), I’ve received a bursary for the London Royal College of Arts Curating Programme and was the recipient for Emerging Curators Retreat program at Otis College in Los Angeles in 2019 .
Francesca Marcaccio Hitzeman is a curator and art historian specialising in photography and contemporary art based between Hong Kong and Europe.
Marcaccio is a graduate from London College of Communication, UAL London, with a MA in Fine Art Photography. She also holds a BA in Art History from Università' degli Studi di Firenze, Italy. She worked with collections archives in both the exhibition departments at the Whitechapel Gallery in London and the International Center of Photography in NYC, researching and promoting the permanent collections, overseeing the collection and the outgoing loans program, and worked on collection management, and special projects. She served for the British Museum from 2012-2017. As a curator of photography and contemporary art, she has curated major group and solo exhibitions for institutions and non profit spaces around the world including: Power & Paper for Atelier NŌUA in Bodø (Norway), Waves by artist Xiaodong Zhang for the 58th Venice Biennale, Archive Section of the Savignano Photography Festival in Italy, the group exhibition Shifting Focus at the Bethanien Kunstquartier in Berlin in 2016 among others. Marcaccio is a regular expert on international portfolio reviews and has contributed as author to a number of exhibition catalogs and magazines on photography. In 2020, she co-founded ATOMO, a column on photography in collaboration with XIBT Magazine, with a growing series of vibrant and unique conversations with photographers and visual artists.
QUESTION TO QUESTION
Francesca Marcaccio Hitzeman answers questions raised by GAHSP with another question posed by herself.
Can everything be interpreted as art?
Is creativity the power to connect the seemingly unconnected?
Art is a cultural zone engaged in the exchange of energy, whose sacred activity and exercise is perception-making, sensorial and/or cognitive.
Do artists need to be consistent with their language in order to be understood?
How do we navigate issues of identity politics within our varying cultures?
How do we transgress the borders that separate us while staying true to our individuality?
Do artists have to act responsibly?
If we talk about the responsibility of representation, then yes. Who has the right to represent and speak for others? Who has the right to gaze at other individuals and communities from an advantaged position? I believe it’s essential to produce knowledge that opens alternative models and proposes unexpected linkages.
Is curation a necessity?
Sensitivity to different contexts and ways of producing knowledge is a condition for working as a curator and a necessity. There’re questions about responsibility dealing with the conditions and the contexts of gazes and representations, and how certain kinds of spectatorships and expectations are catered to by default.
Should artists thrive for creating a legacy?
Are the artworks artists are creating, producing and disseminating able to actually say something about us, our sense of belonging, and our chances to access the possibility of ‘we’?
Can a curator disrupt the art scene at its core?
There’s a great sense of freedom that comes along with working as curator these days. How can one work as a curator without being perpetually _more than a disrupter_ a shape-shifter, a multi-task and a problem solver?
QUESTION TO ANSWER
Francesca Marcaccio Hitzeman poses questions she would want to be asked, and then answers them herself.
What do people get wrong about curating?
That is a glamorous and merit recognition through single authorship. Curating is never solitary but always a relational and collaborative form of creativity. Also, I do love to spend time with artists, their generosity is transformative and nourishing.
What do you think are the responsibilities for a curator and within the context you operate?
In the multicultural context I find myself to operate in, the key is to have the ability to think diagonally and with curiosity, with sensitivity and inclusivity.
I try to the best of my abilities to allow myself to be honest and humble, to be my fullest self even and especially when the pretentiousness and social norms that characterize parts of this professional field perpetuate a violent and elitist system of power.
What do you think true creativity is?
True creativity in our era is hacking life to bounce forward within the chaos of the anthropocene. This is a world of risk, chance complexity, nonlinear change, disproportionate highs and lows, information wealth, dislocation, peak attention, and ecstatic play. Among the many gems packed into On the Origin of Consciousness and the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (1978), Julian Jaynes talks about how Odysseus, who was among the first in his era to mentally grasp time via the metaphor of space. Life wasn’t a perpetual present like for many of his bicameral contemporaries. It was “a present wedged between past and future” with each passing and anticipated moment a place to reflect on within a spatial sequence.
Perhaps ‘art’ itself is just an expedient name for a more porous energy transaction happening along dimensions that our legacy model of art is only barely capable of grasping. After all, human creativity precedes the zone of art.
As Odysseus spatialized time in his tumultuous era, we will metaphorize the chaos and noise of now to get outside ourselves, and develop interfaces to surf alien dimensions of material, psychosocial, and informational reality. I’m pretty confident that new emotions will be invented for the occasion.
What does curating mean to you?
Curating is always a nomadic practice so the real challenge for me is how to keep finding an ethos. How to make distance and movement something that takes us closer to our place, our home, our collective history. To me it is about the attempt of connection to a sense of us. This is the challenge when working either independently or with an institution.
8 Minutes from the Sun curated by Francesca Marcaccio Hitzeman at Square Street Gallery, Hong Kong.
QUESTION TO LISTEN
Francesca Marcaccio Hitzeman invites three Creatives she has worked with before and poses each of them the same question.
Your relationship to photography has something much deeper than a personal motivation. The photographic images became a ‘theater’, a liberated space where you played with codes of representation of history, family, the archive, the realm of human emotions.This liberated space speaks to the future. If initially you saw yourself as only an image-maker, when did it occur to you that you had become an artist?
is a Greek visual artist and researcher. Her work investigates the relationship between collective cultural memory and fiction. Drawing emphasis on the photographic object, process and encounter, she explores the boundaries of a primitive, yet futuristic vision of places and people. She was recently awarded a Doctoral Scholarship for undertaking her PhD in Art after graduating from an MA Photography from the Royal College of Art. She is the recipient of The Royal Photographic Society Bursary Award 2018 and was named Student Photographer of the Year by Sony World Photography Awards 2020. Her work has been exhibited internationally in art festivals and galleries with recent solo shows in Tokyo, Braga, Belfast and Berlin. Her projects have been featured in magazines such as The New Yorker and journals including The Guardian and Deutsche Welle. Her first monograph ‘The Truth is in the Soil’ is published by GOST Books.
I believe the moment I began thinking as an artist was the moment I began working with time not in the sense of a beginning or end but as an image in the forefront of my mind, held in space, and, stretching- along, in the materiality of my narratives. By finding lineages but also working against the grain of already existing passages in my practice, the artwork became the very experience of a process of memory and distance. Eventually having become an artist was all about the labor of crossing that distance and reaching the other side of landscape; its secret constellation.
is in her practice working with investigative art, at the intersection of the photograph's relationship with history, material culture, and science. The starting point of her work is often specific stories and events, transformed through research into exhibition formats through long-term projects. Visibility and invisibility, behaviour and chance, science and phenomena are recurring motifs. The theme is visualised through photography and cast objects, interwoven as non-linear narratives. The objects, which are visible both in the photographs and often in the exhibition space itself, are cast from silicone molds produced from 3D-printed objects from sketches. The cast objects have photo-like properties through copying and replication.
Marianne's work has previously been exhibited nationally and internationally, including MELK, (Oslo, 2022), Riga Photography Biennial (2022), Buskerud kunstsenter (2021), Unseen Photo Festival (Amsterdam 2019), Peckham24 (London 2019) and Reykjavik Museum of Photography (2016). She has published the books An Authentic Relation, Beneath the Salt and Shadows/Echoes. Her work is held in public collections like The North Norwegian Art Museum and The Arctic University of Norway (KORO).
I think perhaps that I became an image maker after becoming an artist. When I initially started my studies in university, I combined photography with social anthropology. My initial goal was to convey material cultures through visual documentation. And it was through this process that I reflected upon the results and actions of an artwork and a created image, rather than photography as pure documentation. And that I, as an artist, have freedom to ask questions and present the audience with different realities. In my artistic practice today, I work with investigative art where central themes deal with our perception of photography as an approach to reality, with areas of interest at the intersection of photographic documentation, history, material culture and science. The themes in my practice are visualised through photographs and casted objects in exhibition or book form, interwoven as non-linear narratives, presented as abstracted, contemporary renderings of connections between different cultures.
is an artist / photographer born and raised in Hong Kong and received her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Fine Arts from Scripps College, California.
Her work is shaped by her fascination with the human condition - she sees photography as a metaphor for life; an infinite cycle of attempts at self-exploration; a roadmap to a more empathetic way of seeing and being. By capturing the subconscious synchronicities of the psyche and fleeting moments lost to the ephemeralities of life, her creative approach carries a sensitivity towards the nuances of human vulnerability and emotion. Often paired with poetry, installation and sound - she creates immersive experiences beyond the frame that inspire a sense of introspection, empowerment and therapy. Past solo shows include: 8 Minutes From The Sun (2021) at Square Street Gallery curated by Francesca Marcaccio Hitzeman; Radical Visibility (2021), commissioned by CHAT and presented by Eaton HK; Solace (2020) at The Wild Lot; A Window Into Tsuen Wan (2020) at The Mills; A Body Of Work (2019) at Eaton HK. Group shows and collaborations include The Space Between Us (2021): a live audio-visual performance with Olivia Xiaolin at Hong Kong Arts Center curated by Contemporary Musiking Hong Kong; #postinternet (2021), curated by Divide by Zero Collection hosted by ArtGate VR; Lamma House Archive (2020) a virtual exhibition hosted exclusively by The C.A.D; The Heart Seeker (2020) curated by Storyteller HK.
Her work has been featured by CoBo Social, Art & Piece, Tatler Asia, Tatler Front & Female, Digital Art Fair Asia, PhotoMonitor (UK), iWeigh (UK), Shado Mag (UK), The Culturist, PhotogStory, City Magazine, Elle HK and Madame Figaro HK.
I have always felt that there was a sacred space between the converging and diverging points of love and reason. That space is where instincts give rise to impulse, a kind of calling from the heavens that one can't ignore or explain. I first felt that feeling when I fell in love with photography in the darkroom while pursuing a degree in Psychology. After a few years of making a living out of photography, combined with the heartbreaking political turmoil in Hong Kong, that love was no longer reason enough. That calling spoke to me again during a time when the world was forced into isolation. It begged me to reach instead of retreat. My core purpose was always about finding ways to inspire more empathy in the world. Humans are moved by experience. And for any message to reach someone on a visceral level - it has to be all encompassing, all consuming. So I realized my practice needed to grow beyond the frame. ‘8 Minutes From The Sun’ was my first attempt at stepping out as an "artist" - which meant revealing all facets of my truest self. By incorporating poetry, light, installation and conceptual explorations of material, the show aimed to create an immersive, physical space for people to sit with their mental states and watch the transformative experience of turning pain into beauty.
Written and Edited by Julia Horvath and Hanna Imre
Image Courtesy of Francesca Marcaccio Hitzeman