This curatorial project presents a dialogue between UK and Malaysia in articulating the challenges of reimagining the eminence of plurality in ‘Order’. The central idea of Order addresses the necessity for predictability, or control over reality. While effort of such governance is most obvious through the routine lives of subjects regulated by certain authority, such reality also presents a brutally objective world in which anything, or anyone found at direct odds with what is accepted being circumscribed. The film programme OLD WORLD ORDER / NEW WORLD ORDERS co-curated by Tendai John Mutambu and British Council addresses such restraints by exposing the deficiencies of Order in accommodating the diversity in human experience.
Responding to this proposition, complementary film programme, A DISTINCT ORDER, curated by Roopesh Sitharan, is put together to engage in dialogue, seeking affinity to explore the existence of ‘difference’ in the expression of Order. Crucially, the programme hopes to expand the discussion by focusing on diversity in the Order, or moving from old world to new by emphasizing the importance of the ‘s’ in ‘Orders’ to unpack the notion of plurality so that it could include worldviews coming from Malaysia. This is achieved by having selected Malaysian video works presented alongside the UK counterpart. These Malaysian works are chosen by the curator as they accentuate different possibilities of resistance through artistic practice whereby highlighting the complexity and specificity of dissenting voices.
A DISTINCT ORDER also consists of panel discussions, which complement the featured works by discussing the underlying relativism of Orders. This is done through 3 different referential mapping, namely Framing, Content and Context.
‘Framing’ is a panel discussion which features curators from Malaysia and UK discussing the conceptual premise for their curatorial decisions and approach. This panel aims to unearth the categories of thought and critique in curatorial practice as a legitimate way of making visible the suppression of Orders.
‘Content’ on the other hand is a panel discussion that invites artists, especially practitioners who work with moving images, to discuss the possibilities offered by the medium in representing or highlighting issues of Orders through film. The discussion particularly centres on techniques of making, presenting and articulating facilitated by the medium as a form of expressing an idea, or critique.
Lastly, ‘Context’ involves a broader discussion of Orders, especially in the effects of such systems upon lived experience as expressed from the perspective of cultural practitioners. This panel explores the idea of otherness and how art can create awareness and empathy thus fundamentally operating as a fusing agent between the inside and the unruly outside of Orders.
A DISTINCT ORDER curated by Roopesh Sitharan is part of OLD WORLD ORDER / NEW WORLD ORDERS, a programme from WE ARE HERE: Artists’ Moving Image developed by Tendai John Mutambu, British Council and LUX.