Early 2004, a group of muhibbah young artists came together and established Lostgens’ collective. Situated in the bustling capital city of Kuala Lumpur, this self-managed experimental space maintains an edginess and quietness by championing innovative artworks, talks, workshops and performances that challenge mainstream culture. Currently, Lostgens’ Contemporary art space serves as a public platform for artistic and cultural dialogue by bridging contemporary art with activist, community leaders and progressive youth groups via originality, creativity, and social criticism.
Art and Social
Lostgens’ has initiated and implemented various projects highlighting issues on the arts, politics, the environment, community, society and human rights. Art should be part of culture and projects run by Lostgens’ focuses on social-political discourse afflicting Malaysia through contemporary art forms.
Art also needs to be known and seen to engage with people in the public sphere. By empowering citizen participation between communities, art ties in together with culture and is relatable to people from various strata. Lostgens’ projects aim to create engagements which are cross-cultural, inter-ethnicity and interreligious between communities. Traces of Lostgens’ projects still resonates within many states of Malaysia.
Along with organizing various visual art exhibitions and performance art events, Lostgens’ also programmed short-term courses. The Lostgens’ Classroom programme includes philosophy, art history and topics on current issues prevalent in contemporary society.
Lostgens’ is also part of a unique artist-in-residency (A-I-R) exchange programme in partnership with Goethe-Institut KL offering artists an international exchange between Kuala Lumpur and Frankfurt. This programme provides emerging artists to gain experience in their artistic practice, building a bilateral network between Malaysia and Germany.
Since its inception in 2006, the Artist-In-Residence Program at Lostgens’ has engaged over 30 local and international artists. It has since built a strong presence and reputation in the arts residency fields. Lostgens’ is also one of the Independent arts spaces in Malaysia to offer art residency programs for contemporary arts.
Over the years, the program remains valid, fluid, sustainable and responsive to new developments, opportunities, challenges, and times. The residency program has fostered inter-cultural exchange, bridged interdisciplinary collaborations between different art sectors, incubated a generation of young artists, engaged with contexts connecting the local and global, and provided an open safe space for enabling creative process and interventions.
The residency duration may vary from one another, but artists will generally conduct open lectures, artist sharing sessions and workshops during the residency as a form of networking and exchange especially with the local art community. And at the end of the residency, artists are encouraged to hold a final presentation which could take form as an exhibition, performance, installation, open studio etc.
For international artists who are interested in residency opportunities with Lostgens, they will need to self-fund the travelling cost or for some, they can apply for travel support through the cultural institutions from their home countries. In this model, Lostgens’ function as a host partner who will receive the successful applicants. Over the years, Lostgens’ has hosted many foreign artists through the cooperation with Asialink (Australia), Asia Centre (Japan), Japan Foundation, Goethe-Institut (Germany) and the Ministry of Culture Taiwan.
For the Malaysian artists, each year the members of Lostgens will discuss, identify and eventually extend their invitations to exceptional young and emerging artists with the aim of pushing them towards a more conducive environment that allows for artistic growth and maturity. This strategy has successfully incubated many new Malaysian artists who have gained valuable exposure, useful networking and solidified portfolios which helps them to elevate their professional artistic careers.
The collaboration with the Goethe-Institut Malaysia has been the most consistent since 2008 where almost every year there will be at least one German artist participating for a three-month residency which created a deeper exchange with the German art scene. For years Lostgens’ has also been exploring the prospect and capacity of sending Malaysian artists to Germany to complete the bi-lateral exchange cycle.
The opportunity came in 2017 when Basis e.V., an art platform based in Frankfurt am Main, with the support of Frankfurt City Council and the Goethe-Institut Malaysia, a long term Artist-In-Residence Exchange Program was initiated where each year, through open call application and based on an independent jury selection, a German and a Malaysian artist will receive the full scholarship to do a three-month residencies with Lostgens’ and Basis e.V. respectively.
The scholarship covers the return flights, working studio space, accommodation, and monthly living allowances with additional financial support for exhibition materials. This model of residency exchange is a first in Malaysia which opens further the gate of international networking and exposure for Malaysian artists.
The residency program has been a pivotal part of Lostgens’ identity, footprint and achievement. Lostgens continuously seeks opportunities with local and international collaborators to expand and prospect efficient cooperation models for residency programs. In the times of corona pandemic, Lostgens is also exploring the possibility to offer digital residency programs in future.