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Past Events

Seminar: The Import of Art: Exhibiting Singapore’s National Development through MoMA’s Visionary Architecture

29 Sep 2017

REGIONAL SOCIAL AND CULTURAL STUDIES PROGRAMME

Arts in Southeast Asia Seminar Series

About the Seminar

This seminar looks at how the nation-building process can be visually framed by foreign aesthetics. It looks specifically at the MoMA International Program which was established in 1952 in order to send American exhibitions around the world. As an inherently American nationalist project, the International Program sent a total of five different exhibitions to Southeast Asia from 1957 to 1984. These exhibitions Recent American Prints in Colour, the Family of Man, Classic American Film, The Photographers Eye and Visionary Architecture, were hosted by cultural institutions and grassroots communities.

I will focus on one exhibition, Visionary Architecture, which was presented alongside the exhibition Housing in Singapore in 1963. This exhibition came under the auspices of the National Library Board Singapore and was co-sponsored by the Housing & Development Board. With this exhibition I will examine how the International Program exhibitions were included in ‘local’ projects of nation-building. I will interrogate the impulse to ‘exhibit’ in projects of nation-building and address the empowered positions of local agents to mediate the international Cold War cultural landscape.

About the Speaker

Kathleen Ditzig is a researcher, as well as Assistant Curator and Manager in Curatorial and Programmes at the National Museum of Singapore. Her current research interests include the relationship between art, globalism, and power. Her art historical research addresses the relationship of Cold War globalism and the emergence of Southeast Asia as a cultural region. She received a scholarship from NHB and Curatorial Fellowship from the Centre of Curatorial Studies (CCS) to pursue her MA in Curatorial Studies from CCS, Bard College, which she received in 2015. She intends to pursue her PhD at NTU ADM from January 2018. She has published in academic journals such as Southeast of Now and Finance and Society and in art magazines such as Art Forum and Flash Art.

Registration

For registration, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by 28 September 2017.

 

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Seminar: Indonesian Art in 1976: A Hundred Years of Indonesian Art

14 Sep 2017

REGIONAL SOCIAL AND CULTURAL STUDIES PROGRAMME

Arts in Southeast Asia Seminar Series

 

About the Seminar

In 1976, Indonesia’s President Suharto opened the exhibition A Hundred Years of Indonesian Art in what is now the Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics, on the town square of the old city of Jakarta. At the time, Indonesia had no public national collection, and the exhibition brought together public and private collections for the first time since the colonial period. The exhibition is remarkable not just because of the masterpieces it displayed, but also because of its range. With some notable omissions, it covered the political spectrum of Indonesian artists. The exhibition was produced at a time when the Suharto’s New Order regime was still consolidating power. It came after the birth of the New Art Movement, Southeast Asia’s first Contemporary Art movement. Despite the air of optimism around the exhibition, it did not lead to public attention to modern art, and the National Gallery was only created twenty years afterwards. Why did the state not continue as a major patron of the arts in the intervening period, and what were the implications of this hiatus for the Indonesian art world?

About the Speaker

Dr Adrian Vickers holds a personal chair at the University of Sydney, and researches and publishes on the cultural history of Southeast Asia. His books include the highly popular Bali: A Paradise Created (new edition 2012),
A History of Modern Indonesia (new edition 2013) Balinese Art: Paintings and Drawings of Bali, 1800-2010 (2012), and co-authored with Julia Martínez The Pearl Frontier: Labor Mobility across the Australian-Indonesian maritime zone, 1870-1970 (2015), which won two book awards. Professor Vickers has taught subjects on Southeast Asian history and culture from first year to Honours and Masters levels. During the second half of 2017, he is a Visiting Fellow at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore.

Registration

For registration, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by 13 September 2017.

 

 

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Seminar: Visualizing a New Kampuchea: Developing a Post Khmer Rouge National Art Identity

12 Apr 2017

REGIONAL SOCIAL AND CULTURAL STUDIES PROGRAMME

 Arts in Southeast Asia Seminar Series


About the Seminar

In a post Khmer Rouge world Cambodian culture is often defined by its connection to the past, yet many young Cambodian artists and designers are looking towards the future to create a new understanding of what it means to be Cambodian. This paper examines the role Cambodian contemporary artists play in helping to develop a post Khmer Rouge national identity, through examining the current events, which are transforming the Cambodian art world. Focus over the last two decades, in regards to defining Cambodian national identity, has shifted wildly from control over language, morality, and dress code to implementation of nationalistic business practices, and political reform. Control over the arts has only recently become a topic of public concern, yet for decades the artistic community has struggled with the formulation of a post Khmer Rouge voice. This paper will closely look at what is traditionally defined as “Cambodian”, and will question how contemporary artists choose to represent these elements, or for that matter, to ignore them. These artists are constantly pushing against pre-conceived notions of what it means to be Cambodian, and are striving to show both Cambodian’s and the world that their national identity is filled with more than just sacred temples and Apsara dancers.

About the Speaker

Christine Ege grew up in Northern California, but has spent the last 12 years living outside of the United States. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Art History from Franklin University in Lugano, Switzerland and her Master’s Degree in East Asian Art from Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London. She has been living in Cambodia for the last six years, where she has been involved on a day-to-day basis with emerging artistic talent. She is currently the Director of The Institute for Executive, Professional, and Community Education and Head of the Digital Arts and Design Department at Zaman University. She teaches many courses in the fields of art and design, with focuses on art history, business practices in art, web design, and animation. She is currently working on research related to buying and selling practices in the Cambodian contemporary art market. Her research focuses on evaluating business practices and market potential to understand how to get Cambodians more active in the local market.

Registration

To register, please fill in this form and email it to <iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg> by Tuesday, 11 April 2017.

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Seminar: The Culture of Impunity and Alternative Memories in Films: A Comparative Study of Indonesia and Thailand

31 Mar 2017

REGIONAL SOCIAL AND CULTURAL STUDIES PROGRAMME

 Arts in Southeast Asia Seminar Series


About the Seminar

Political violence is not uncommon in Southeast Asia. This seminar looks at artistic articulations of political violence in Indonesia and Thailand. Two controversial incidents, namely the Indonesian mass killings of 1965-1966 and the bloodshed on 6 October 1976 in Thailand, were ignited by
anti-communism sentiments and resulted in acts of violence from respective states. The consequences of these two political events are gradually and slowly addressed today but the process of justice and reconciliation is still far from complete.

The seminar will discuss the construction of state narratives and describe how current forms of arts such as documentary films are used to counter the state’s narratives in both countries. These documentaries, directed by foreigners and local film makers, have played significant roles in giving voice to victims and exposing the trivialisation of violence. 40 Years of Silence: An Indonesian Tragedy (2009), The Act of Killing (2012), The Look of Silence (2014), Pulau Buru: Tanah Air Beta (2016), Silence-Memories (2014) and Respectfully Yours (2016) are documentaries revealing the stories and memories of victims and perpetrators from the two incidents.

This seminar will argue that these films have become testimonial artworks in revealing victims maltreatment and exposing how violence and impunity have become the norm. Such artworks are also responsible for paving the way for ‘alternative memories’ for the nation.

 

About the Speaker

Chontida Auikool is a lecturer from International Studies (ASEAN-China) programme, Thammasat University, Bangkok. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Southeast Asian Studies and completed her Master’s Degree in International Relations from Thammasat University. Her research interests include Indonesia, Chinese Indonesian, conflict and violence, and Southeast Asian film. She published articles such as “The Ambivalent of Chinese – Indonesian Position in Medan, Indonesia” in Journal Lakon (Airlangga University), “Ethnic Relations in Transnational Context: The Case Study of Chinese Indonesians-Indonesians in Medan after Suharto” in The Asian Conference on Arts & Humanities proceedings, “Breaking Silence of Indonesian Mass Killings between 1965 and 1966” in TU-UGM Research Seminar Making Southeast Asia and Beyond proceedings and a short article “Indomie: Political Food and Hidden Hugger in Indonesia” in Sarakadee Magazine. She is also a member of Film Kawan, an informal group organising Southeast Asian film events in Bangkok. She also published film reviews for the ASEAN film column in a Thai Magazine, Bioscope. She reviewed films such as Yasmine, Cinta Tapi Beda, As You Were, Sayang Disayang, Lilet Never Happened, The Tales of Waria.


Registration

To register, please fill in this form and email it to <iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg> by 30 March 2017.

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Seminar: Ironies of Theory and Practice: Singapore New Wave Cinema

23 Feb 2017

REGIONAL SOCIAL AND CULTURAL STUDIES PROGRAMME

Arts in Southeast Asia Seminar Series

About the Seminar

With its film production revival of the mid-1990s, Singapore’s national cinema introduced itself to festival audiences with stylistically opaque art films favoring visual and narrative abstractions, and borrowing freely from European New Wave movements of the 60s and 70s. These works feature downcast, disaffected denizens marginalised by the economic miracle – socially immobile, alienated, devoid of hope, agency, and will to live. Characters teeter on the edge of sanity, mired in vast, impersonal seas of concrete, and suspended in time as they trudge along endless hallways. Film scholars have questioned whether the film language used here, originally fashioned to represent the alienation of Western subjects from modernity, is congruent with an Asian negotiation of postmodernity. Many also wonder if this undermines the authenticity of local voices. These critiques evince key ideas from postcolonial theory regarding mimicry, ambivalence, and subaltern subjectivity. I examine two contradictions. First, the films’ attempts to convey social immobility and spatial alienation are thwarted by the acutely cartographical nature of Singapore’s national imagination. Its spatial preoccupations muddle the message. Second, whereas theoretical tropes such as mimicry and ambivalence harbor subversive strategies to deconstruct and undermine colonial hegemony, these films deploy Western conventions without irony or cynicism. My bid to resolve these paradoxes turns to Gilles Deleuze’s writing on philosophy and cinema. Running the Singapore “new wave” through his ruminations on the “movement-image” and “time-image”, I recalibrate our understanding of film history and world history, retheorise local film aesthetics, and proffer an understanding of Singapore’s spatial imagination.

About the Speaker

Gerald Sim is the Lee Kong Chian NUS-Stanford Distinguished Fellow on Contemporary Southeast Asia for 2016-17, and a Visiting Scholar at Stanford’s Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center in Autumn 2016. He is associate professor of film and media studies at Florida Atlantic University, and the author of The Subject of Film and Race: Retheorizing Politics, Ideology, and Cinema (Bloomsbury Academic, 2014). This presentation springs from a manuscript-in-progress tentatively titled, Besides Hybridity: Postcolonial Poetics of Southeast Asian Cinema, contracted with Indiana University Press. His essays have appeared in Discourse, the Quarterly Review of Film and Video, Projections, Rethinking Marxism, Film Quarterly, Asian Cinema, and Inter-Asia Cultural Studies. He was a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Asia Research Institute in 2013 and 2016. 

Registration

To register, please fill in this form and email it to <iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg> by Wednesday, 22 February 2017.

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Arts in Southeast Asia Seminar Series: Colonials or Cosmopolitans? Vietnamese Artists in Paris in the 1930s-1940s

23 Nov 2016
REGIONAL SOCIAL AND CULTURAL STUDIES PROGRAMME

Arts in Southeast Asia Seminar Series

About the Seminar

 In the early decades of the 20th century, Paris was a cosmopolitan site of exchange for artists from all over the world. For artists from the territories of Indochina, Paris was also the centre of colonial power. This seminar looks at how these two facets of Paris interacted in the careers of Vietnamese artists who exhibited there in the 1930s and 1940s. The French colonial state actively promoted the export of Indochina artwork for sale in Paris, and exhibitions of Vietnamese art were part of this strategy. Artworks from Vietnam were also shown at the two massive international exhibitions of the 1930s - the Exposition coloniale internationale of 1931, and the Exposition des arts et techniques de la vie moderne of 1937. These exhibitions framed Vietnamese artists firmly within a discourse of colonial propaganda. However, they were also the catalyst for further engagements in Paris, with some artists (such as Le Pho) settling there permanently. By looking at how Vietnamese artists were exhibited and received in the French capital, this seminar investigates their place in the Parisian art world, and the tension between its colonial and cosmopolitan aspects.

This seminar builds on research that grew out of the Reframing Modernism exhibition of the National Gallery Singapore, and is now part of an ongoing research project about Southeast Asian artists in Paris.

About the Speaker

Dr Phoebe Scott has been a curator at the National Gallery Singapore since 2012. She was a co-curator of the inaugural exhibition Between Declarations and Dreams: Art of Southeast Asia since the 19th Century and of the March 2016 exhibition, Reframing Modernism: Painting from Europe, Southeast Asia and Beyond, in collaboration with the Centre Pompidou. Prior to joining the National Gallery, Phoebe completed her PhD in art history at the University of Sydney, focusing on modern art in Vietnam from the 1920s to 1950s. She has written and taught on modern and contemporary art from Asia. 


Registration
To register, please fill in this form and email to iseasevents2@iseas.edu.sg by Tuesday, 22 November 2016.
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