Tyler Coburn: Memory Machine

To name an object is to suppress three-fourths of the enjoyment of the poem, which is composed of the pleasure of guessing little by little: to suggest . . . that is the dream.

—Stéphane Mallarmé, from an 1891 interview with Jules Huret


As a part of his residency, the New York-based artist and writer presents Memory Machine, a digital project and talk developed from his ongoing interaction with the Ha Bik Chuen Archive.

Memory Machine is an open work that describes the items and images found in the archive of Ha Bik Chuen—many of them contact sheets of photographs taken over the course of Ha’s career. It also explores the archival and organisational systems that Ha developed, which the AAA team has been deciphering and overlaying with their own since 2012. Memory Machine exists as a bilingual website (English and Chinese), a social network in search of members, and a digital shadow of Ha's archive. During his residency, Coburn will conduct a writing workshop that invites participants to collectively activate Memory Machine. For the duration of the Ha Bik Chuen Archive Project, Memory Machine remains an active web platform where registered users can continuously add to, edit, and translate the content.

Tyler Coburn is an artist and writer based in New York. His work has been presented at South London Gallery; Kunsthalle Wien; CCA Glasgow; Western Front, Vancouver; Grazer Kunstverein; UCCA, Beijing; Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp; and SculptureCenter, New York. Coburn participated in the 11th Gwangju Biennale and in the 10th Shanghai Biennale. His writing has appeared in e-flux, Frieze, Dis, Mousse, and Rhizome.

Coburn’s residency is part of The Ha Bik Chuen Archive Project (2016–2019), generously supported by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, with additional support by Spring Workshop.

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Image: Ha Bik Chuen, Contact Sheet No.181 'Demonstration by Cindy Lau', 3 October 1998 (detail).
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