March
30
2015

Workshop

Artistic Interventions. Histories, Cartographies and Politics in Asia

Two-day workshop for PhD students and artists, to be held on 30 & 31 March 2015 at Hong Kong Baptist University in collaboration with the International Institute for Asian Studies, and the Amsterdam Centre for Globalisation Studies (University of Amsterdam).

The workshop aims to move beyond the traditional paradigms of western scientific representation by re-examining the fundamental concepts of time and space in the construction of knowledge of and from Asia. During the first day of the workshop, leading scholars in the field of history and cultural studies, and artists from different localities in Asia, including Hong Kong, Japan, Indonesia and South Korea, will interrogate the politics of history and cartography and explore new possible forms of knowledge.

The Workshop

The Artistic Intervention workshop aims to critically interrogate prevailing categorizations of the history and cartography of Asia as institutionalized in Western humanities and open up alternative and new forms of knowledge and practices. During two days we will discuss the fundamental concepts of time and space in the construction of knowledge of and from Asia. While area studies continue the endeavors of knowledge production, its inevitably intricate connections with national histories and geographies are increasingly foregrounded. Knowledge of Asia is still very much constructed by temporal narratives as vigorously and imaginatively as by spatial fixations: in other words, by their histories and geographies. Given that national histories are often deeply entrenched in authoritative discourses that maintain the imagined boundaries of the nation-state, and thereby erase or silence other possible histories and geographies, Prasenjit Duara’s call to rescue history – and geography, we add – from the nation remains as urgent as ever.

We think of the arts, the role of artists, artist-activists and artist run spaces, as a potential rescue tool, capable of moving beyond traditional paradigms of Western scientific representation. The workshop aims to question how artistic practices can help reimagine both time and space in the context of Asia, when put into an intimate dialogue with area studies and related methodologies and disciplines, such as anthropology, art history, cultural studies and so on. The alleged “rise of Asia” feeds into different nationalisms in the region and beyond, making such reimaginations even more urgent. Its dependency on a meta-discourse on development and modernity are resonances of concepts that are deeply entrenched in social Darwinism, making this discourse on “the rise of Asia” all the more complicated, especially in its denial of human complexity and a human craving for aesthetic and political aspirations.

The workshop seeks to probe into artistic and activist practices that proffer alternate histories, as well as processes that present different mappings of the world, the country or the city; these will be put in dialogue with area studies knowledge production that also seeks to destabilize existing cartographies and historical accounts. A transnational and diasporic remapping of Asia, in conjunction with exploring its multiple histories, holds the potential to question if not undermine emerging nationalisms and prevailing reifications of the idea of “national cultures.”

Confirmed speakers

  • Dr. Zheng Bo (Assistant professor at the School of Creative Media, specializes in socially engaged art, City University of Hong Kong)
  • Zoe Butt (Executive Director and Curator of  Sàn Art, Ho Chi Minh City)
  • Tiffany Chung (Artist, Ho Chi Minh City) 
  • Xing Danwen (Artist, Beijing)
  • Gridthiya Gaweewong (Artistic director of the Jim Thompson Art Center, Bangkok)
  • Edwin Jurriëns (Lecturer in Indonesian Studies at the Asia Institute, Faculty of Arts, the University of Melbourne)
  • Dr. Anson Mak (Academy of Visual Arts, Hong Kong Baptist University and artist)
  • Prof. Eva Man (Executive Associate Dean of Graduate School & Professor in Humanities and Creative Writing, Hong Kong Baptist University)
  • Tozer Pak Sheung-Chuen (Conceptual artist, Hong Kong)
  • Dr. Y-Dang Troeung (Assistant professor, specializes in contemporary literature, film, and cultural studies in English, City University of Hong Kong)

Organizers

  • Dr. Sadiah Boonstra (International Institute for Asian Studies) s.n.boonstra@vu.nl
  • Dr. Yiu Fai Chow (Department of Humanities and Creative Writing, Hong Kong Baptist University) yfchow@hkbu.edu.hk
  • Prof. Jeroen de Kloet (Amsterdam Centre for Globalisation Studies, University of Amsterdam) b.j.dekloet@uva.nl
  • Dr. Việt Lê (Visual Studies Program | Visual + Critical Studies Graduate Program, California College of the Arts ) vle@cca.edu

Organisations
The International Institute for Asian Studies/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Amsterdam Centre for Globalisation Studies, and Hong Kong Baptist University.

This event is part of the research network Rethinking Asian Studies, find more information on: rethinking.asia