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Curating Contemporary Art (MA)

Xiyue (Emma) Mo

Parade of Pause

We present a project proposal that focuses on ideas of time and methodology, adopting the phrase ‘urgency of slowness’, borrowed from artist Celia Pym. Inspired by past Artangel projects, we are drawn to the practice of urban walking and its utilisation of pace and rhythm, which lends itself organically to slowing down.

The idea for the Parade of Pause was born out of the aim to set a rhythm for a shared parading of slowness, deliberately contrasting with the rapid speed of consumer culture that engulfs London as a city. Why Parade? The word’s origins are rooted in the Latin parare, meaning to prepare, parry to stop or halt, which resonates with the idea of slowing down. There is never a distinct, isolated sound that represents the act of parading, rather the sound of a parade becomes enmeshed with the urban circulation of place, its people and objects, creating an asynchronous symphony of everyday life. We have commissioned Lucie Štěpánková (aka Avsluta), a London-based Czech-born electro-acoustic composer and sound artist, to create a soundscape that intertwines field recordings and live improvisations with objects to accompany the parade – setting its pace and rhythm. Playing with various loops to create a polyrhythmic soundscape, Štěpánková explores ecosystemic ideas and our relation to space and one another. 

Our hope is to elicit a powerful response towards the urgency that slowness demands, particularly within the environment we currently find ourselves. Slowness, in this understanding, does not simply want to take the speed out of contemporaneity but allows us to experience our present with all its different speeds and in all its complexity and diversity.

Image credit: Lucie Štěpánková performing a live improvisation inside the 4DSOUND sound system, 2023. Image courtesy of Pirelli Hangar Bicocca.

Personal imagery

Xiyue (Emma) Mo is a curator and art practitioner, based in London and Guangzhou. Her upbringing in different cities and cultures has shaped her interest in exploring the concepts of belonging and place attachment, as well as seeking to understand how one’s sense of self is intertwined with the surrounding environments. Stepping beyond the conventional white cube, Emma’s curatorial practice gravitates toward site-specific projects which experimenting with possibilities within urban spaces, engaging with the specific features, histories and social dynamic of each chosen site. The ethic of care in spectatorship has also emphasised among Emma’s research, as she hopes to approach her projects with an inclusive lens.

Her graduate dissertation, Refiguring Space, Nurturing Mind, is a curatorial plan examining the impacts that domestic spaces have on mental wellbeing of their residents, within the context of housing crisis in Hong Kong. By recognizing the pressing challenges faced by individuals living in inadequate housing conditions of the subdivided flats, this proposal highlights on the interconnectedness between space, body and mind. The aim of it is through therapeutic public programming with key principles- movement in body, making of space and meditation for mind- encouraging participants of self-expression and self-care, fostering a sense of empowerment, and re-interpreting the notion of home and sense of belonging.

Meanwhile, Emma co-curated Parade of Pause. In which, adopting the term ‘urgency of slowness’ from artist Celia Pym, in order to explore around space and time. This project generates a collective action of parade along with commissioned sound pieces from Lucie Štěpánková (aka Avsluta), a London based composer and sound artist.

Besides from Emma’s curatorial practices, she has continued in creating artworks, using various mediums such as paintings, sounds and multi-media installations.