#SWITCH ft. Francesca Marcaccio Hitzeman: Curating in Flux


Francesca Marcaccio Hitzeman photographed by Luca Bellumore.

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.



Francesca Marcaccio Hitzeman photographed by Luca Bellumore.

Francesca Marcaccio Hitzeman photographed by Luca Bellumore.



THE STORY



CREATIVE

Francesca Marcaccio Hitzeman


PROFESSION

Art Curator, writer and consultant


LOCATION

Temporarily in New York City, soon to be back to Hong Kong



SELF-INTRODUCTION

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.


CONTEXT

Francesca Marcaccio Hitzeman is a curator and art historian specialising in photography and contemporary art based between Hong Kong and Europe.



Francesca Marcaccio Hitzeman photographed in Italy


QUESTION TO QUESTION

Francesca Marcaccio Hitzeman answers questions raised by GAHSP with another question posed by herself.



1


GAHSP

Can everything be interpreted as art?


FMH

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.



2


GAHSP

Do artists need to be consistent with their language in order to be understood?


FMH

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?



3


GAHSP

Do artists have to act responsibly?


FMH

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.



4


GAHSP

Is curation a necessity?

FMH

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.



5


GAHSP

Should artists thrive for creating a legacy?


FMH

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’?



6


GAHSP

Can a curator disrupt the art scene at its core?


FMH

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?



Francesca Marcaccio Hitzeman photographed in Italy


QUESTION TO ANSWER

Francesca Marcaccio Hitzeman poses questions she would want to be asked, and then answers them herself.



1


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.



2


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.



3


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.



4


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.

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.



FMH


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?



GUEST

Ioanna Sakellaraki




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.



GUEST

Marianne Bjørnmyr




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.



GUEST

Stephanie Teng




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