06 Mar 2016
Seismopolite | the Politics of Southeast Asian Contemporary Art
Issue 13 of Seismopolite Journal of Art and Politics focuses on the politics of Southeast Asian contemporary art - with a series of articles and reviews from across the region. The quarterly online journal is published in Norway and investigates the possibilities of artists and art scenes worldwide to reflect and influence their local political situation
As indicated by the expression «the politics of» in the title, and as demonstrated by the articles in this issue, Southeast Asian contemporary art is neither a politically neutral, nor a geographically exact concept.
Re-evaluating (art-) historical ties: The politics of showing Southeast Asian art and culture in Singapore (1963-2013)
However late in coming, the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) nonetheless became the first facility anywhere in Southeast Asia to collect and exhibit Southeast Asian modern and contemporary art. In fact, no other country in the region but Singapore, it seems, has expended as much effort if not resources in the consecration of a “Southeast Asian art” together with one’s own.
The Aesthetics of Identities and the Difficulties of Histories: The Contemporary Chinese Southeast Asian Art
The existence and subjectivity of Chinese Southeast Asian art are an invaluable reference not only to the political complexity and difficulty that haunted post-war Southeast Asian nation-states, but also to the cultural manipulation in the cold-war strategies and the construction of ethnic identities. These are critical links for understanding the modern history of Southeast Asia.
Southeast Asia’s history of cosmopolitanism, richly intermingling cultural and religious practices, social systems, hybrid artistic styles and languages, all evidence a global and inclusive outlook.
In order to help the people of Sidoarjo commemorate the fourth anniversary of this disaster, Taring Padi, a political art collective from Yogyakarta, Central Java joined the people of Sidoarjo for a four-day collaborative project. Known as “Reflection in the Mud,” this project focused on reviving the collective memory of the Sidoarjo community.
The history of contemporary art in Myanmar is a history of resistance that has not yet been written. It is a private and intimate resistance, which could not explicitly come to light in public.
The bodies populating the space of the Triennial reflect less their socio-economic context than a desire to escape reality in search for a fantasy world of monsters, knights, drag queens, goddesses and other mythical or highly idealized figures.
In a wider discussion about cosmopolitanism, hospitality and friendship are important concepts because they point to a specific type of encounter and relationship between people. Analyzing the format of artist-residency in terms of hospitality and friendship is particularly pertinent today especially when signs of cultural intolerance are evident in worldwide public opinions and attitudes.
Seismopolite is a Norwegian-English quarterly which investigates the possibilities of artists and art scenes worldwide to reflect and influence their local political situation.
Seismopolite aims to highlight diverse artistic forms and strategies that stimulate new future trajectories in precarious socio-political situations, for example by critically examining geopolitical, cultural and historical master narratives, challenging and questioning the roots of censorship and violations of Human Rights, or working to reach understanding and bridge real or constructed differences in areas of conflict.
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