News & events > Yamaguchi | exhibition - 'The Breathing of Maps'
15 Dec 2018 - 03 Mar 2019

Yamaguchi | exhibition - 'The Breathing of Maps'


The Japan Foundation Asia Center and The Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media [YCAM] present "The Breathing of Maps," an exhibition developed in collaboration with Malaysia-based director and researcher Mark Teh as an co-curator. It runs December 15, 2018 - March 3, 2019.

As a symbolic product of the modernization process, maps reveal the dramatic changes in national sovereignty, culture, economics, and ways of living. Tracing the complex processes by which a bordered ‘Siam’ came into being between 1850 and 1910 - a period overlapping with Japan’s Meiji Restoration - Thai historian Thongchai Winichakul has shown how encounters with Western map-making were instrumental in the formation of modern nation- states in Southeast Asia. However, premodern or earlier maps in the region were identified by their centres and lack of borders. "A map created a nation... its geo-body is born in a map, and nowhere else". Thongchai Winichakul, Siam Mapped (1994).

Treating the geo-bodies of nation-states as dynamic and unstable entities, "The Breathing of Maps" examines social transformations that lie between maps - between different areas, eras and errors. Unfolding over 12 weeks, the exhibition brings together a network of artistic and research practices that chart the shifting intersections of capital, crisis, citizenry and the colonial in their respective locations. The exhibition includes artworks, performances, lectures and workshops which complicate conventional ideas of cartography, propose counter- mapping potentialities, and foreground imaginative mappings and continuities between people, place, and practices.

*This exhibition is hosted in co-organization with The Japan Foundation Asia Center, and is staged as one outcome of the "Condition Report," a co-curatorial project involving curators from Japan and Southeast Asia embarked upon by the Asia Center in 2015.


Mark Teh (member of Five Arts Centre, Malaysia)
Idaka Kumiko (Curator, Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media, Japan)


Ho Rui An (Singapore)
Okui Lala (Malaysia)
chi too (Malaysia)
Tita Salina + Irwan Ahmett (Indonesia)
Carlos Celdran (Philippines)
Shiga Lieko + Shimizu Chinatsu + Nagasaki Yoshitomo (Japan)
Takayama Akira (Japan)
Yang02 (Japan)


Farish A. Noor (Historian/Philosopher, Singapore)
Janet Pillai (Sociologist, Malaysia)
Nishio Kaori (Playwright, Japan)
Kohara Masashi (Photographer/Curator, Japan)
Furuichi Yasuko (Exhibition Coordinator, The Japan Foundation Asia Center, Japan)