Irina Botea Bucan & Jon Dean
1 November – 30 December 2019
Irina Botea Bucan (b. 1970, Romania) and Jon Dean (b. 1966, United Kingdom) have been working together since 2013. Their artistic collaboration unfolds through filmmaking enquiries premised on the close scrutiny of and active engagement with specific social contexts. Over the years, they developed a methodology based on the symbiotic triangulation of their roles as artists-educators-researchers. Bucan and Dean share an interest in socio-political dynamics, the de-centralisation of discourses, and they are committed to nurturing cultural differentiation outside hegemonic value systems. Their works have been shown internationally at several venues including Centre for Contemporary Art, Torun, Poland (2018); National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest, Romania (2017); The Phillips Museum of Art, Lancaster, United States (2017), and International Film Festival Rotterdam, Netherlands (2015) among others.
During the 1950s, in many Eastern Bloc countries, cultural houses and clubs were created to fulfil the utopian dream of providing ‘culture for everybody’ whilst also structuring opportunities for people to participate in the collective production of culture. At the same time, these communal environments often enabled the state to monitor leisure time and socio-cultural activities. In order to expand their long-term comparative research on these institutions, Irina Botea Bucan and Jon Dean will investigate the history and current role of community centres in Singapore. Aiming to produce an experimental documentary, they will conduct archival and sociological research to understand how these centres operate and the criteria by which they were designed and managed to provide a specific range of social, cultural, and educational activities at a foundational moment in the country’s history. In particular, they are interested in the process of community-building, the nature of people’s participation, and the role community centres played in the formation of Singapore’s post-colonial identity.
Image credit: Irina Botea Bucan and Jon Dean, Eva Molnar, Fészek Artists' Club, 2016, photograph. Courtesy the artists.
Irina Botea Bucan and Jon Dean’s artistic collaboration is based upon an interest in the decentralization of cultural discourse and the possibility of sustaining creative differentiation outside of a dominant hegemonic system of values and critique. Through merging various roles (visual artists, filmmakers, educators, community workers), they have developed a ‘three-way’ symbiotic artist-educator-research methodology that they apply in various socio-cultural contexts, and seek to place people’s experiences as the central ‘vehicle of meaning’. Combining reenactment strategies with auditions, elements of cinéma vérité and forum theatre, they look into the role conflict, history, language and music play in the formation of the individual and the community. In Singapore, the artists are continuing their long-term comparative research into the history, usage, and the possible imagination of cultural houses/community clubs as places where “culture” can be authored collectively. During this programme, they will present previous films and discuss their collaborative practice.
Irina Botea Bucan (b. 1970, Romania) and Jon Dean (b. 1966, United Kingdom) have been working together on film-based projects since 2013. Their artistic collaboration unfolds through filmmaking enquiries premised on the close scrutiny of and active engagement with specific social contexts. Their works have been shown internationally at several venues including Art Encounters Biennial, Timisoara, Romania (2019), The Paintbrush Factory, Cluj, Romania (2019), Centre for Contemporary Art, Torun, Poland (2018); Loop Barcelona, Spain (2018), National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest, Romania (2017); The Phillips Museum of Art, Lancaster, United States (2017), Columbia University, New York, United States (2018), ZKM Karlsruhe, Germany (2017), Centrala, Birmingham, United Kingdom (2016), Pompidou Center, Paris, France (2016), Film Society, Lincoln Center, New York, United States (2015), International Film Festival Rotterdam, Netherlands (2015) , EMAF Osnabruck, Germany (2015), among others.
Image: Irina Botea Bucan and Jon Dean, A Cultural Hearth, 2018, film still. Courtesy the artists.