Henry Tan (Tentacles)

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Henry Tan is an artist based in Bangkok, engaging with recent trends and critical debates in participatory art and social practice. He is a co-founder of Tentacles and member of Freaklab, Thailand. Henry is interested in the erosion of individual beliefs and culturally grounded understanding with regard to contemporary technologies of communication and control. Henry focuses on inter-human connection and collective production as part of his ongoing practice often dissolving boundaries between private and public spaces. He asks: how can or do individuals make sense of artistic practices in an era of endlessly circulated memes, ever-shifting boundaries amalgamating cultural contexts and digital interfaces? The project at Colomboscope relates to infrastructural desire and the futurity of maritime ports seen through wealth accumulation, labour infiltration and geopolitical control, but also the affective meshwork of greed and possessiveness that strikes at the level of the individual and corporatized entities. Through researching unfinished projects such as the Kra Canal situated between the Andaman Sea and South China Sea, the artist studies complex relationships between China, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Departing from the motif of the pearl as a signifier of ambitious strategizing and predatory tendencies in the oceanic sphere, Tan and his colleagues pursue a performative invitation entering into a contract with invited audience members based on trust, mutual desire and business-minded “collaboration."

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