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A Message from Guest Curator Evan Webber

HATCH 12’s subjects are activities that have historically been deemed, in comparison to more openly hegemonic projects, as domestic, trivial, ornamental or private: dancing, cleaning, coiffure, cooking, eating and writing. Writing might seem incongruous in this list, but I’m thinking about the kind of writing that continually forgets its form ­– and so is always inventing new ones. Not what writes in or writes off but, rather, writes through; writing that (just like certain foods or certain haircuts) acts like a solvent on the material of the quotidian, turning it liquid, making it harder to control. There’s resistance in this; hegemony prefers its quotidian in solid blocks.

The projects in HATCH 12 reflect on moments when domestic subjects resist themselves and change their form. Chasing, marking these moments, the artists converge on the scene of the tumultuous but persistent relationship between instruction and action; on the blurriness between writing and reading; and on theatre as a carefully staged – but nonetheless really occurring – accident.

Right now, in the midst of increasing global instability, the most palpable domestic macropolitical movement seems centred on the production and reproduction of the image of progressivism. What kind of remembering does the restoration of Liberal power and liberal values engender? And what kind of forgetting? It may be too soon to say, but one thing is sure: at the same time as the micropolitical work of surviving and resisting power continues on the domestic, trivial, ornamental and private fronts, the macropolitical re-asserts its terms and discloses the sole form of engagement it endorses for its subjects. This form of engagement is: watching.

The status of watcher is much derided – almost as much as that of audience. Watching is a private act and, possibly, a shameful one. To speak about watching, and what it’s like to do it, is to speak about an essential quality of our citizenship.

And these projects are things for us – an audience – to watch. In their complication of micro- and macropolitical strategies, of Modernist bravura and Contemporary indecision, they identify a present which is in time, and prompt us to imagine ways of watching that are also ways of preparing for the future. Even window-glass began as liquid silica only to be momentarily arrested in a solid state. How can we watch without missing the right moment? And how can watching engender both patience and courage? That’s what the work in this series is asking about

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