KongsiKL transforms warehouse into an experimental arts hub

  • Arts
  • Friday, 15 Dec 2017

Visitors having fun with multidisciplinary artist Goh Lee Kwang's interactive art work called 'Paranoid Shopping Cart', which is one of KongsiKL's exhibits this month. Photo: Taka Chang

There is always an element of surprise in the arts, especially when it is experiential and participatory, so expect plenty of that at KongsiKL’s weekend events which run throughout December.

The KongsiKL Site-specific Art Exhibition and Performance, a project presented by KongsiKL and supported by Exsim Group, is held at Gudang Yee Seng 2, an old industrial warehouse at Jalan Klang Lama in Kuala Lumpur.

KongsiKL was initiated by Kakikongsi, eight people from the education and design scene who were entrusted with this warehouse by the Exsim Group to develop social experimentations centred around the ideology of sharing. The group comprises Tey Tat Sing and Wong Wei Ping from Tetawowe, Joseph Foo and Luke Teong from 3nity, Ng Seksan from Seksan Design, Chung Wei Fung from Dasein Academy, Teoh Chee Keong from UCSI and Danny Ho from White Noise.

“KongsiKL has two purposes: to curate, develop and host programmes that rediscover old trades or craft by injecting new life into them; and to lease out the space for events that are site-relevant. Kakikongsi hopes to instill the spirit of sharing by creating ‘kongsi’ events, a platform to share resources and content to enrich the lives and social cohesion of the local community,” says Tey.

'We thought the warehouse would be a dramatic setting for exhibitions, performances and public events, and we left the space untouched, save for some cleaning and electrical wiring, before opening it to the public,' says Tey. Photo: KongsiKL

When they first came across the space, it was an empty warehouse with high ceilings and a typical saw-tooth roof that allows sufficient natural light to come in. The walls of this former stainless steel factory are blemished, a reminder of its busy past.

“The overall ambience was rather charming and tactile, with natural light cast on the floor and high walls. We thought it would be a dramatic setting for exhibitions, performances and public events, and we left the space untouched, save for some cleaning and electrical wiring, before opening it to the public,” he adds.

Cosmicomics Toyscape 02, by KL-based independent library/arts space Booku, is an interactive installation inspired by Italo Calvino’s novel Cosmicomics. Photo: Joseph Foo

Cosmicomics Toyscape, the first exhibition tour of the weekend, will bring you on an interactive installation art journey thanks to a series of playable “toys” inspired by Italo Calvino’s Cosmicomics, a collection of short stories that stretch the imagination. First published in 1965, each story takes a “scientific fact” and builds a story around it.

Video installation Show Your Faces by Liew Chee Heai examines the connection between the realities of a recording versus in the flesh. Compare and contrast a projection of the artist with his appearance in person, and do with it what you will.

Other programmes lined up this weekend are Ix Wong Thien Pau and Raymond Liew’s dance performance Fallen Skin and Passing Blue, respectively; and film screenings Sesuatu Tempat (directed by Low Pey Sien) and Dances In Ruins (directed by Loke Soh Kim).

A video installation work by Liew Chee Heai at KL Kongsi. Photo: Taka Chang

“All works and performances carried out at KongsiKL will be site-specific. This serves to create an intimate relationship between art and people, and perhaps allow more possibilities to happen,” says Tey.

He points out that getting to KongsiKL is quite an experience in itself. One will need to pass a furniture showroom, a car workshop and a construction story before arriving at the warehouse.

“Art appreciation is a rare hobby, and some find it too expensive to pay to see a performance. And yet, art is a quintessential element of life. Some art spaces in KL have difficulty sustaining themselves due to a lack of public interest or financial support. KongsiKL might be able to provide an alternative,” he concludes.

The KongsiKL Site-specific Art Exhibition and Performance is on all weekends in December at Gudang Yee Seng 2, Jalan Klang Lama, KL. Opening times: 2pm to 7pm. Entry by donation. FB: KongsiKL.

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