MAMA Spring Swap x CAVE Collective

The transparent glass that barricades MAMA from the outside publics of Witte de Withstraat. This is our signifier, an entryway into discussing transparencies. In this exhibition, we consider varying notions of transparency as something to enter and encounter. This is our Spring Swap, our attempt at making the space of MAMA a transparent cave. The artists in this exhibition approach transparency in varying ways. Transparencies of borderlines, rejection letters, portals, algae, and scent. We present MAMA as a metaphorical cave; transparency unfolds as a spatial encounter.

We are CAVE Collective, a Rotterdam-based artist collective. CAVE – building on our immigrant backgrounds within the Netherlands, our quirky relationship with English, and the desire to think of art spaces as cave-like sites of exploration – stands for Caring Asians Very Emotional.

Anh Dao grapples with MAMA’s transparent glass by literally spreading it with local Rotterdam algae species. She approaches transparency etymologically, finding its roots in transpārēnt-em, < trans- prefix + pārēre to appear, be visible. As the algae grows and makes MAMA a darker and transforming cave, she turns MAMA into a living science experiment. Anh Dao is an artist and film technician based in Rotterdam. Anh is from the west coast of Canada (on the unceded Territories Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations). Her practice involves thinking about the natural world and thinking about places. She engages in a research-based, embodied practice with a focus on material experimentation. Anh is interested in ecofeminism, crip time, and diasporic narratives of longing.

Yu-Ching Chiang and Ying-Ting Shen reinterpret the border as an installation and participatory workshop. Overlapping and juxtaposing found territorial maps of Taiwan and Netherlands, the act of a bordering becomes a metaphorical pathway into themes of play, marking, and occupying. Rendering transparency and malleability to something as solid as the hard-line edges of nation-states. Yu-Ching Chiang and Ying-Ting Shen are Taiwanese cross-disciplinary artists currently based in Rotterdam. In this exhibition, they approach the transparency of borders by re-examining “time elapsed border overlapping.”

Fileona Dkhar sees transparency in science fiction. Portals represent change and transition, morphing into a different pathway. She considers if portals themselves are a veil, opaque stand-ins for change. Another work, an audio piece, is from a presumed bot who tries to pick untransparent sentences from rejection letters. Fileona is a lens-based indigenous Khasi artist and researcher based in Rotterdam. Her work desires, borrowing words from Trinh T. Minh-ha, to not “speak about” but “to speak nearby.”

Gabi Dao considers olfactory histories through the production of snuff and snuff bottles. Gabi’s “shattered” images of snuff bottles allude to multiplication and degradation as a means to break away and disavow the dominance of the image to imagine otherwise through smell, a sense degraded by the ocularcentrism of European enlightenment philosophers. Gabi Dao is an artist and organiser who spent the majority of her formative years based in the unceded and ancestral territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations – also known as Vancouver, Canada, and is currently based in Rotterdam. Her practice insists on counter-memory, intimacy, multiple truths, and blurred temporalities.

Finding the Wild (Jazmin Charalambous & Felix Mohr) grapple with wilderness within the manufactured and orderly Dutch landscape. Their audiovisual work transforms urban exploration into a musical and rhythmic activity, where water is turned from a physical obstacle into a site of possibility. Finding the Wild is an art and architecture collective that works on interdisciplinary projects in the realm of public art. In response to predictive urban environments, they address the need for uncontrolled incidents that can deepen bodily connections to the world through performative sculptures.

Curated by CAVE Collective

Anh Dao
Yu-Ching Chiang
Ying-Ting Shen
Fileona Dkhar
Gabi Dao
Finding the Wild (Jazmin Charalambous & Felix Mohr)

Exhibition text:
Fileona Dkhar

Graphic design:
Ying-Ting Shen

About IRL

Our lives are dominated by the self-produced realities that we encounter on the internet and social media. This tension between fact and fiction touches upon the core of our leitmotiv IN REAL LIFE. The only way to escape the post-truth is to meet each other in real life. We facilitate these meetings in the form of readings, lectures, masterclasses, workshops, excursions and parties that tangibly express the ideas behind HOME | IN REAL LIFE | NETWORKS.


Website by HOAX Amsterdam