CRAZY MULTIPLY CURATING COLLECTIVE
Crazy Multiply is a curating collective based in Seoul, South Korea. It's made up of six awesome ladies: Kaleena, Tina, Sam, Suki, Gigi, and Alexi. The interview questions are divided amongst them.
Could you tell us a little bit about yourselves? How did you all meet?
Alexi: I am the newest addition addition to Crazy Multiply and joined in March of 2018. I became acquainted with the girls in Crazy Multiply after participating in a few events throughout the past year. I had expressed some interest in curating and it just so happened that Crazy Multiply was looking for a new member! I have a background in illustration and worked at the home offices of companies like Etsy and Makerbot in the US. So, when I moved to Seoul and started teaching full time, I definitely missed the creative atmosphere. Being a part of CM has really filled that gap and is already creating a lot of memorable experiences for me.
Suki: I’ve been a member since April 2017 and I'm the only Korean here. I shoot and edit videos, promote our event to SNS, and do translation. I've known this group since 2015 and was interested in their work and decided to join after I quit my job to find some community and to contribute my talents (bilingual, interested in art, marketing). I’ve worked as a marketing manager in Electric biz for 6 years. I decided to change my career to content creator. Now I own a publishing company and make history education podcast videos with my husband.
How would you describe Crazy Multiply? What inspired you to start it?
All: Crazy Multiply as a concept is based on the French word for cancer: something constantly growing and changing. It was originally started by Amy Smith and Ursula Burgess in 2012, and since then both its goals as a collective and the individual interests of its members have been constantly changing. The last founding member, Amy Smith, left Korea in 2016. The current members are (in order of having joined) Samantha Blumenfeld, Kaleena Carter, Gigi Arredondo, Tina Laskowski, Suki Park, and Alexi Fisk.
What's the show you're most proud of curating? Why?
Tina: For me, I felt really good after finishing our last large curated show, “Pidgin”. The theme of this show was to create a collaborative piece between a Korean artist and a foreign artist. Artist teams were randomly assigned so they never met prior, mostly worked in different mediums, and also a language barrier. This show was very stressful in the beginning due to trying to coordinate everything between the artists, bands, and space. But after all of the headaches and challenges of this show, the teams really came together and created great work and new connections. It was really exciting to see this progression and final outcome. It was an experience to see everyone overcome and work through differences to create a successful art exhibition.
Gigi: Seeing the creating and execution of "Pidgin" was really amazing to see. When I first joined Crazy Multiply, the idea for the show immediately popped into my head during the second or third meeting we all had but it was never quite the right time to execute it. Watching it grow from a wild idea to a full-on show was amazing, despite all the ups and downs and struggles we had. I hope in the future we will be able to attempt another or even make it a series. It was awesome to see all the artists come together with their work for the opening.
Do you have any goals for the future of Crazy Multiply? What are you doing now to reach those goals?
All: Our goal is definitely to foster a greater dialogue between Korean and international artists, especially those that take their practice seriously but haven’t been afforded many opportunities (due to varying circumstances.) We’d also like to provide a space for marginalized voices so they have a chance to be heard and engage with a wider audience in a safe and comfortable place. We are always trying to be involved with the local community. We host numerous free and open to the public events such as our bimonthly film night, Electric Cinema, and our quarterly event, MAYFLY. The MAYFLY exhibition series is a collaboration between Crazy Multiply and MISS BAIK, which seeks to reduce obstacles for exhibiting by eliminating the jurying process entirely. All artists are welcome to participate, as there are no restrictions based on age, education, experience, theme, or media. We see these events as opportunities to connect more to the community by making them accessible and available to everyone. We also hope in general to keep promoting the arts in Seoul and continue having eclectic shows.
As an all-female collective, what's been your experience running Crazy Multiply?
Kaleena: Very positive. It's been time consuming and selfless and sometimes we feel that we are not appreciated for all that we do, however the other members make it worthwhile and the dedicated and thankful artists also make me continue to volunteer my time with this collective. I feel empowered that we do this work together as women.
What's the best part about running Crazy Multiply?
Tina: It is so inspiring to be surrounded by such strong women. We really work and communicate very well together. I think that we have a lot of strengths individually that we bring to the collective and inspire in each other. It’s exciting to see such diverse work submissions to our calls for work. I think that our events really do a great job at connecting foreign and Korean artists and providing them a platform to engage in conversation and network.
What are the biggest challenges you see female artists facing today? How can the art industry combat those challenges?
Sam: Not being taken seriously by the art establishment and then consequently left out of the cultural lexicon. At this point just curating women artists isn’t enough: women need to be running their own galleries, curating their own exhibitions, and offering their own criticisms past and present of the establishment.
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