Dear _______,

The description of INSITU.ASIA has so far been from the point of view of contemporary art. It is a point of view that sees the project's philosophical core. I'd like to add on with another point of view, one that isn't from within contemporary art's philosophical criticality but somewhere along its periphery. This point of view has something to do with my curiosity about art and design. In fact, it's about the notion of 'point of view' itself.

Some years ago, I watched a Jeff Koons interview over YouTube and he said that an artwork is simply a transponder towards the art experience that happens within the viewer. In short, the work is not the art, it is the resonance felt by a viewer that is art. Now, I am not a devoted fan of Koons (although I must say that his stainless steel tulips made me happy) but that statement is forever etched in my mind. It was liberating for me to know that art already exist in each one of us, it felt great to see art from this point of view: that something so beautiful, fragile, intense and full of wonder (that I used to think to be so elusive from most of us) is so close.

In the course of my practice in the last 7 years, I would once in a while think about what I was really doing. I used to go to art exhibitions and went away convinced that the designer's business is to use art to solve his client's problem whereas the artist's business is to use the artistic process to solve his/her own problems. INSITU.ASIA started as a personal problem: it started with my preoccupation with remembering my home. But I soon realise that 'place' is a 'problem' for almost everyone and that some places are more 'problematic' to many people than others. I think of 'home' all the time, some people say they have to visit Tokyo at least once a year, foreigners falling deeply in love with Tuscany villages and dreaming to live there, etc.

It was at that moment of realisation that the idea of an aesthetic travelogue came about. I wanted to create something to trigger the 'art' in people as they flip through the pages of INSITU.ASIA. We are choosing places that seem to already exist powerfully (or problematically) in people's psyches. At this moment, I have a feeling that INSITU.ASIA isn't about the spectacular. Rather, as an object that is experienced during our private moments (the publication), it hopes to bring into remembrance our relationships we have with our most intense personal 'places'. Even the live event, I suspect, will share similar attributes of private intensities within a public gathering.

INSITU.ASIA wasn't conceived from a point of view of contemporary art discourse. In a sense, it didn't take art's existence or its 'distance' from the viewer for granted. It came from somebody who used to think of art as being so far, if not for a point of view that allowed me to draw near to it. It is a point of view along the periphery of art discourse, in between philosophical criticality and the everyday. I want to believe that even from this periphery, we have art nonetheless.


Boedi Widjaja
October 2010