it started with a sad story


(When I lost Ubi, my rabbit, I knew I will go somewhere far for quite a long time. So when de Appel Art Centre made an open call for this year curatorial program, I braved myself to apply against everyone's belief that this is all too early on my career to even consider applying. The program that only accept 6 curators every year is way too prestigious, too up high on the ivory tower of the international art scene, and as always-- shamelessly, I didn't think twice: I just jump. 

A month later, few days after I was just hospitalized, an invitation for an interview popped in my email. Half-asleep, I start panicking: the interview date is less than a month from the day I receive the email, I have got no funding yet to actually fly to the Netherlands for the interview, I am still recovering, there are still visa to apply and almost-expired passport to change, I have all kind of existentialist questions and self-doubt that is getting on my nerve, and I have not yet prepared any kind of presentation. All of which, miraculously, solved itself: I got my passport and my visa on time, I bought the ticket a day before I actually go with funding money that was granted a day before that, and I recovered fast and well. It all happened in a blink of an eye. Suddenly, I find myself on a 14-hours flight to the other side of the world, alone, strangely calm while slowly digesting whatever is happening at that moment: I was shortlisted for an interview at de Appel. 

I was unusually calm and preserved. The trip and the whole thing were strangely tranquil. The panic attack lasted for only few days and without realizing it, my mind is slowly making a list and I slowly but surely, checking them. Even when I was running under a heavy rain from the train station, 10 minutes before the interview, there was no trace of panic left. I even took a moment of self-reassuring selfie and send it to Dito on my way to de Appel under the rain that was ruining my new coat. The interview went longer than planned, but the hour-long interview was so relax it somehow felt like it only went on for fifteen minutes. A day later, they gave me a call, congratulating me, telling me that I will be one of six curators who will join the program this year. If it was the regular me who is responding to that news, I'll be euphoric. But it was the strangely-calm-version-of-me who is in the house: I gave a simple 'wow, really' and several 'thank you', and I didn't know whether I should be sad or glad. 

I spent the rest 10 days of my 12 days trip in Europe with an idle part in the void behind my head still trying to digest this information slowly and once again, making a list in my head while very very slowly checking it. If things go right, in August, I will be moving to Amsterdam for ten months. Moving, for sure, is never a simple thing. Plus, I now have a new funding issue to solve without which I can never actually go to join the program. But all those issues aside, I now have to really stop for few hours and actually process these whole things: the wave of change that is about to happen, the life I'm leaving behind, and the new adventure to come. The fact that it was one of a dream coming true and being overwhelmed by so many supports feel somehow numbing too. It was almost like peeling off a band-aid quickly that for a shocking moment, there was no body response before it started to tickle or ache. This post is one way to digest these thoughts and the dream-come-true that was all started with a sad story: my rabbit died.)