AHIW: Microcosmic Orbit by Noel Ed De Leon with Erika Tan

Bagri Foundation presents the final of three live-streamed conversations as part of Microscosmic Orbit by Noel Ed De Leon, winner of the Lectures & Courses category for our At Home in the World Open Call on Facebook Live.

Curated by Eva Bentcheva, this project activates De Leon’s attic into a ‘microcosmic orbit’ of exchange. He invites guests into his attic virtually to connect its contents and respond via their own work around “being at home in world” and being “multi-positioned” across Southeast Asia, the UK and Germany. Since 2012, De Leon has sought to build conversations and collaborations with artists, art historians and curators across Britain, Germany, Holland, France and the Philippines who share an interest in invisible histories connecting Europe and Asia. As there is a wide range of objects in his collection – from original equipment from the First and Second World Wars collected in Britain and the Philippines, to found objects, tribal artefacts and remnants of artworks – De Leon made a selection of objects around three core themes.

He invites ‘inside’ a series of guests who are also culturally active in the Southeast Asian communities across Europe and whose work engages with diaspora, migration, and archiving. The third and final performance of this series virtually welcomes London-based artist Erika Tan into Noel Ed De Leon’s attic via the theme of ‘temporalities‘. How does the passing of time alter and erase objects? In turn, how are history and memory recorded through objects that survive? What is erased in this process? In this performance, de Leon and Tan attempt to virtually ‘ghost’ and enter each other’s spaces, echoing personal histories of loss and memory that often go unaccounted in the material remnants which we store in our homes.

To find out more, read Bentcheva’s interview with De Leon on our Stories page.


Noel Ed De Leon is a visual and performance artist whose practice spans archiving, installation and live art. His work explores the themes of history and memory, engaging with questions of how historical conflicts, migrations and exchanges may be traced through surviving historical objects. His installations and performances have been featured in the group exhibitions Corpografias (2016) at the A-Side B-Side Gallery in London, Should the World Break In (2017) at the Fundación Joan Miró in Barcelona, M.A.P. Archiving Asia (2017) at the Live Art Development Agency in London, UnAuthorised Medium! (2018) at Framer Framed in Amsterdam, Archives in Residence: Southeast Asia Performance Collection (2019) at the Haus der Kunst in Munich Germany. His practice was also the subject of two major solo exhibitions Tokens of a Time Gone By: Reanimating History as Art (2014) curated by Eva Bentcheva at the Philippine Embassy of London and 1,976 Objects (2019) curated by Patrick Flores at the Jorge B. Vargas Museum in Manila. Since 2015, Noel has co-directed Batubalani Art Projects with Eva Bentcheva, a non-profit organisation working to promote Philippine art across museums and universities in Europe.


Erika Tan’s practice is primarily research-led and manifests in multiple formats (moving image, publications, curatorial and participatory projects). Recent research has focused on the postcolonial and transnational, working with archival artefacts, exhibition histories, received narratives, contested heritage, subjugated voices and the transnational movement of ideas, people and objects. Selected exhibitions: As the West Slept, (Performa, New York 2019); By All Estimates (4A Sydney 2019); Paralogical Machines (Wei-Ling Contemporary, KL 2019); The Diaspora Pavilion (Venice Biennale 2017); Artist and Empire (Tate/National Gallery Singapore 2016/7); Come Cannibalise Us, Why Don’t You (NUS Museum, Singapore 2014); Thermocline of Art (ZKM, Germany 2007); The Singapore Biennale (2006); Cities on the Move (Hayward Gallery, London).

Erika is a lecturer in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins College of Art (London), Associate Researcher with Decolonising The Arts Institute (UAL), and currently a Stanley Picker Fine Art Fellow, Kingston University. She is currently developing a film and installation project titled Barang-Barang which resonances of the notion ‘belongings’ across different Southeast Asian languages and its connection to personal collections, as well as mythologies and asserting difference.


Eva Bentcheva is an art historian and curator. She holds a PhD in Art History from SOAS, University of London. Her research focuses on transnational performance and conceptual art practices, particularly connecting Asia and Europe. Together with Noel Ed De Leon, she is co-director of Batubalani Art Projects, working to promote Philippine art in curatorial practices and academia in Britain and Germany. She has held research and curatorial fellowships at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art in London, and was the Goethe-Institut Postdoctoral Fellow at Haus der Kunst in Munich. In 2019, she co-curated the exhibition ‘Archives in Residence: Southeast Asia Performance Collection’ with Annie Jael Kwan andDamian Lentini at Haus der Kunst. She was previously a Visiting Research Fellow (2016) and Adjunct Researcher (2017-18) for the Tate Research Centre: Asia, with a focus on conceptual and performative practices in Philippine art during the 1960s-80s.


Sep 18 2020


1:00 pm

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