Silvia Vignato (ed.), Dreams of Prosperity: Inequality and Integration in Southeast Asia, EFEO, Silkworm Books, 2017
Dreams of Prosperity offers a critical composite reflection on Southeast Asia as a progressively integrated and globalized space of production, exchange, and circulation within and beyond national boundaries. Through a broad array of contexts united by the theme of integration, the essays describe the successful or unsuccessful entry of specific individuals or groups into wider markets and networks in their quest for prosperity—in Thailand, by Lua peasant farmers, slum families, the last century’s teak laborers, and ethnic tour hosts; in Indonesia, by the urban poor and communities resisting environmental destruction; and in Vietnam, by human trafficking returnees. The authors examine how these groups are socially and symbolically defined and redefined in the process of integration, and consider the imaginaries of future that enable both active participation and unmitigated manipulation. Two key topics are the cognitive struggle that peasants and laborers face with their material environment and the process of sense-making that characterizes many destitute people in urban contexts.
Contributors are Matteo Carlo Alcano, Amnuayvit Thitibordin, Monika Arnez, Giuseppe Bolotta, Olivier Evrard, Karnrawee Sratongno, Runa Lazzarino, Manoj Potapohn, Amalia Rossi, Sakkarin Na Nan, and Silvia Vignato.
Green Aspirations and the Dynamics of Integration in Two East Kalimantan Cities— Monika Arnez
Neoliberalism and the Integration of Labor and Natural Resources: Contract Farming and Biodiversity Conservation in Northern Thailand—Amalia Rossi and Sakkarin Na Nan
Integration and Marginality in the Tourist Economy: The Geopolitics of Trekking in Chiang Mai Province—Olivier Evrard, Manoj Potapohn, and Karnrawee Stratongno
Migration and the Ethnic Division of Labor in Siam’s Teak Business, 1880s–1910s— Amnuayvit Thitibordin
After the Shelter: The Nuances of Reintegrating Human Trafficking Returnees in Northern Vietnam—Runa Lazzarino
Playing the NGO System: How Mothers and Children Design Political Change in the Slums of Bangkok—Giuseppe Bolotta
Making Sense of Poverty in Aceh and Surabaya—Silvia Vignato and Matteo Carlo Alcano
Symposium: Tradition and Contemporaneity in the Arts of Asia, 09/11/2017, Department of Art & Art History, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa
About the Talk
Modern and contemporary artists in Asia have had to cope with many challenges, from the inﬂux of Western artistic priorities often intent on redeﬁning or even erasing local artistic traditions, to the wholesale destruction of national infrastructure through unstable political systems and devastating wars. That artists have successfully risen to these challenges, as well as the resilience of local artistic systems and values, is eminently manifest in the vibrant contemporary arts of Asia today.
This symposium will explore the inspirational potential of traditional materials, methods, and styles of art making among modern and contemporary artists of India, China, Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand. It will feature illustrated presentations by three eminent scholars of modern and contemporary Asian art, followed by a moderated discussion, all focusing on the various ways regional “traditions” of art and culture function as inspiration, catalyst, or foil, some times honoring them, other times contrasting and even undermining them, often with humorous or ironic intent.
Speakers & Presentation Titles
Joan Kee, “Tradition as ‘Contemporaneity’s Raw Materials’: Korea, China, and the Philippines”
Kee is an art historian specializing in art and law, with special research focus on modern and contemporary East and Southeast Asian art. She teaches at the University of Michigan, where she is Associate Professor in the History of Art. She is author of Contemporary Korean Art: Tansaekhwa and the Urgency of Method (2013), curated the exhibition From All Sides: Tansaekhwa and the Urgency of Method (2014), and serves as contributing editor to Artforum.
Sonal Khullar, “The Pearl Divers and Shipwrecks of Marine Drive: History, Tradition, and Modernism in India.” Khullar is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Washington. Her research focus is on Indian art of the eighteenth century to the present, with additional teaching and research interests in transnational histories of art, feminist theory, and postcolonial studies. Publications include the award-winning Worldly Afﬁliations: Artistic Practice, National Identity, and Modernism in India, 1930-1990 (2015).
Iola Lenzi, ““Not Nostalgia: How Tradition is Critically Co-opted in Thai and Vietnamese Contemporary Art” Lenzi is a Singapore-based curator, lecturer, and critic specializing in contemporary arts of Southeast Asia. She has curated exhibitions in in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Bangkok, serves as lecturer for the Asian Art Histories MA program at Lasalle College, Singapore, and as regional correspondent for Asian Art, London. She is author of Museums of Southeast Asia (2005).
Muharram practices and colonial histories at the cutting edge of a forgotten scroll by Julia Byl and David Lunn, 16/11/2017, IIAS, Leiden
The Syair Tabut, or ‘Poem of the tomb effigies’, is a recently rediscovered Malay-language, Jawi-script narrative poem on Muharram in 1864. In this talk, we explore the literary, linguistic, and performative aspects of the syair, focusing on what it reveals to us about cultural and religious linkages between and around South and Southeast Asia in the 19th century.
This hybrid lithograph/manuscript scroll offers a wealth of details on the practice of Muharram in the region, and contains in its stanzas direct evidence of linguistic and cultural exchange between the various communities that populated the region in that period.
We introduce the poem and its author, Encik Ali, using excerpts from our recent translation that range through colourful costumes and petty vandalism, fervent devotion and violinists intoxicated by their own music. Through this reading, we demonstrate how an engagement with the poem’s nuances opens up a window onto histories of performance, language, and inter-communal interactions in the context of colonial-era contestations over public religiosity.
Julia Byl is Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Alberta. Her research interests have centered around musical performance in north Sumatra, and have recently spread to the broader Malay world and to East Timor, where she is beginning a study of music, the individual and the institution.
David Lunn is the Simon Digby Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. His research interests span the literary, cultural, and intellectual history of modern South and, increasingly, Southeast Asia, with a particular focus on the politics of language.
Masterclass : Between earth and water: Mainamati and Vikrampur in South and East Bengal by Claudine Bautze-Picron, 10/11/2017, Leiden University
Mainamati was the most important Buddhist settlement in Southeast Bengal from the eighth century onwards, being the gateway to the land of the Buddha for monks and merchants having navigated from insular Southeast Asia and for those who came on foot from various regions of nearby Burma.
Its position was inherited by Vikrampur, a vast area located South of Dhaka, which was a major political centre in South and Southeast Bengal from the eleventh up to the early thirteenth century. Although it was also located on the road followed by Buddhist monks and pilgrims when travelling from the region of Chittagong, with its port open on the Bay of Bengal, up to Bihar and thus partly inherited the position earlier held by Mainamati, Vikrampur was a stronghold of Brahmanism, offering thus a radical departure with the religious situation encountered up to the 10th century.
The artistic production of this region between Vikrampur, Mainamati and Chittagong had a huge impact on the transfer of iconographic models towards Southeast Asia: Eleventh and twelfth-century murals in the temples of Bagan prove the existence of trade relations with Southeast Bengal, and cast images from the region of Mainamati were exported to Java in the eighth and ninth centuries, opening a way which was going to be followed up to the early thirteenth century with images found in Sumatra and Java that are clearly inspired from models created in Vikrampur.
A careful scrutiny of the artistic material found in continental and insular Southeast Asia proves the importance of the Mainamati-Vikrampur region as source of inspiration but also shows how these ‘imported’ models were assimilated before becoming part of the local culture. Moreover, these testimonies might help in trying to get a better understanding of how images were regarded in Bengal: besides the fact that they were worshipped, could they have had other functions? Could they inform about the way the Buddhist community perceived itself in the cultural landscape of the time?
Dr Claudine Bautze-Picron studied at the Universities of Brussels (MA), Lille, Jawaharlal Nehru in New Delhi (M.Phil. in Indian History) and Aix-en-Provence (“Thèse d’État” = Ph.D.). She was a research fellow at the National Centre of Scientific Research (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) in Paris, UMR 7528 (“Mondes Iranien et Indien”) and Lecturer at the Free University of Brussels (Université Libre de Bruxelles)
Research and publications:
Her research has focused for a long period on the art of Eastern India (Bihar/West Bengal/Bangladesh) from the 8th to the 12th c. and on various issues related to Buddhist iconography in India. This work culminated also in the publication of the catalogue of the collection of eastern Indian sculpture in the Museum of Asian Art, Berlin (Eastern Indian Sculpture in the Museum of Indian Art, Berlin, Berlin, 1998) and of two books concerned with the image of the bejewelled or crowned Buddha in India and Burma (The Bejewelled Buddha from India to Burma, New Considerations, New Delhi, 2010) and with the Buddhist site of Kurkihar in Bihar (The forgotten Place, Stone Sculpture at Kurkihar, New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India, 2014).
Since nearly 15 years, she has also been working on the murals of Pagan (Burma) from the 10th to the 13th c. (The Buddhist Murals of Pagan, Timeless vistas of the cosmos, Bangkok, 2003).
International ConferenceMobile Bodies: A Long View of the Peoples and Communities of Maritime Asia, 10-11/11/2017, Binghamton University, The State University of New York
Plenary lectures by:
ERIC TAGLIACOZZO (Cornell University)
Ghosts in the Machine: Technology and Maritime Imperialism in Southeast Asia ANAND YANG (University of Washington)
Empire of Labor: Indian Convict Workers in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Southeast Asia ANGELA SCHOTTENHAMMER (University of Salzburg)
Surgeons and Physicians on the Move in the Indo-Pacific Waters (15th to 18th Centuries) RANABIR SAMADDAR (Calcutta Research Group)
Rohingyas: The Emergence of a Stateless Population
The celebrated author AMITAV GHOSH will deliver the keynote address:
Embattled Earth: Commodities, Conflict and Climate Change in the Indian Ocean Region
5 pm, Friday, November 10, 2017
Chamber Hall, Anderson Center, main campus of Binghamton University
Southeast Asia Stakes Its Claim in the Art World by Jason Farago, 27/09/2017, New York Times
Until recently — the 1990s, let’s say — an American critic keeping tabs on new art would concentrate on New York’s museums and galleries; cast an occasional, often dismissive eye on Western Europe; and perhaps try to visit Los Angeles now and again. No longer. By the ’90s the idea of a single avant-garde was dead and buried, and in its place arose a pluralist art ecosystem that spans the planet. It makes larger intellectual demands than ever, and requires us to accept that we’ll never see everything or understand it completely. In the new global art world, even we New Yorkers are provincials.
Perhaps nowhere benefited as much from this shift to a pluralist art world as Asia, where the 1990s saw an explosion of biennials and triennials. The Gwangju Biennale, Asia’s most important such exhibition, began in 1995 in South Korea, and was soon followed by large-scale shows in Shanghai, Taipei, Fukuoka, Yokohama, Singapore, Jakarta, and a half dozen other Asian megacities — all of which introduced Asian audiences to foreign art and pushed their own region’s figures to the international forefront. In these exhibitions, as well as in the new museums and art schools that arose around them, traditional styles of painting, drawing, pottery or calligraphy fell by the wayside, and installation, video and performance served as lingua franca.
The art in “After Darkness: Southeast Asian Art in the Wake of History,”at the Asia Society on Park Avenue, is the fruit of this global shift. The work here comes from Indonesia, Myanmar (or Burma) and Vietnam, though with just seven artists and one collective, it’s small enough to avoid the curse of the “regional show” and doesn’t force any unity on a diverse lineup. Not every work here is a masterpiece, but all of them plumb the roiling past and fractured present of places that, with a combined population of nearly 400 million, we have no excuse to be clueless about.
Soft-launch of ISEAS Library database: Eye of the architect: the Made Wijaya photographic archive, 11/10/2017, ISEAS
Regional social and cultural studies programme seminar
Wednesday, 11 October 2017 – This seminar, in part a soft-launch of ISEAS Library database on Made Wijaya’s (alias Michael White) photographic archive, welcomed its four speakers: Dr Hélène Njoto, Visiting Fellow at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute; Mr Soedarmaji Damais, founder and head of Indonesian Arts Cooperation Body (BKKI); Mr Richard Hassell, co-founder of WOHA, and lastly, Professor Adrian Vickers from the University of Sydney who is concurrently a Visiting Fellow at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute. They were greeted by a diverse audience that comprised of students, landscape architects from public and private agencies, researchers, as well as previous clients and friends of Made Wijaya. Hosting an insightful conversation with participants, the seminar addressed the importance of preserving and engaging with such archives for the study of landscape design and architecture history in Southeast Asia.
Dr Hélène Njoto’s prelude to the seminar was a survey of Made Wijaya’s photographic collection as it is now archived at ISEAS Library. She walked us through the online database of over 40,000 items, highlighting one of Wijaya’s gardens trademarks: the layering of vernacular architectural history. She demonstrated this by showing an “architectural history enigma” Wijaya liked to feature in his work, the Javanese and Balinese single-post and platform tree structures. She effectively showed how this collection not only documents Wijaya’s achievements but assembles an important number of photographs from fieldtrips throughout the world. Wijaya was concerned about sharing his sources of inspiration with future landscape designers, architects, and architecture history students, as his popular books have shown.
As a close and long-time acquaintance of Made Wijaya, Mr Soedarmaji Damais brought a personal note to the seminar as he shared stories about Wijaya’s first arrival in Bali, his assimilation as a Balinese and passion for the island and the way his garden designs were based on the search for connections with Chinese and other gardens.
Mr Richard Hassell then introduced Made Wijaya from a practitioner’s perspective, sharing Wijaya’s architectural and landscape architecture legacies through projects, and his role as a role model and mentor. Mr Hassell saw the archive as a way to engage with Wijaya’s attitudes to landscape history, the basis of his creation and design of gardens; a knowledge imperative for current practitioners.
The final speaker, Professor Adrian Vickers, another close acquaintance of Made Wijaya, affirmed Wijaya’s remarkable visual sensibility. Using photographs from the archive, Professor Vickers illustrated how Wijaya’s eye and curiosity for details in both modern adaptations and pre-modern spaces nurtured his unique visual repertoire and syntax. Professor Vickers closed the session with a tribute to Wijaya’s personal wish to preserve aspects of otherwise lost cultures, emphasising the need to capture and document these vulnerable and impermanent landscapes.
The Made Wijaya database at ISEAS Library is now publicly accessible online at ISEAS Library’s SeaLionPLUS. Upon registering, the archive can be explored by geographic regions or keywords. Made Wijaya’s video collections on ethnography (Balinese dance and rituals) can also be found at the University of Sydney.
In Southeast Asia, a space characterized by intense regional and global traffic networks since the sixteenth century, the architectural landscape is often seen as a palimpsest of styles. The hybrid and syncretic nature of Southeast Asian architectural forms is seen as the result of the successive waves of contacts that marked the history of this part of the world called by some the « Asian Mediterranean. » (F. Gipouloux). In this genealogy of architectural types, the colonial moment has been often considered a rupture that introduced radically new forms in vernacular architecture. Following this logic, the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century are considered as moments of further intensification of this architectural acculturation. The adoption of the international style in the megacities of the « Asian tigers, » nerve centers of the global economy, is symbolic of an urban development superficially tuned to the « global » rather than the local.
By equating the evolution of architectural forms in Southeast Asia to a transfer, mainly from West to East, this approach evades the complexity of the formation of the architectural landscape of Southeast Asia. This issue of ABEproposes to focus on the development of « syncretic » architectures of Southeast Asia by precisely tracing the circulation of techniques and architectural forms through a contextual approach. Local, regional, global have not followed each other sequentially – such a model presupposes the existence of a local, « original, » culture. Instead, these three levels of traffic have coexisted in the past. Far from simple sedimentary layers laid down over time, the production of Southeast Asian architecture has been multiscalar, rhizomic and a longue durée phenomenon. For this reason, the concept of « returns » is a particularly useful one for analyzing both « colonial » and « traditional » motifs that appear in contemporary architecture.
When rethinking the local and the global in Southeast Asian architecture, we must move beyond the binary oppositions between the vernacular and the foreign, the colonial and the post-colonial, and the modern and the traditional, while still exploring how actors used such categories dynamically. Only in this way can we explain the coexistence of such seemingly contradictory categories.
Gender in Southeast Asian Art Histories Symposium, 11–13 October 2017, Power Institute, University of Sydney
Studies focused on gender in Southeast Asian societies have emerged, in recent decades, in approximate concurrence with the development of regionally focused Southeast Asian art histories. The founding premise of this international symposium is that there has to date been insufficient intersection between these two fields.
As the first symposium of its kind, Gender in Southeast Asian Art Histories aims to establish the parameters of current research, and to develop inter-disciplinary and transnational frameworks for future studies in the field. Bringing together a range of scholars working on the pre-modern, modern, and contemporary, we seek to consider new perspectives and methodological approaches brought to the fore in art history through studies that are attentive to gender, or how we might reassess art historical narratives through the lens of gender.
The symposium will be launched by a keynote address from Professor Ashley Thompson, the Hiram W. Woodward Chair in Southeast Asian Art at SOAS, University of London. Symposium participants and up to twelve additional attendees, on a competitive basis, will also be invited to participate in a half-day masterclass led by Professor Thompson, and a professional development workshop.
Chanon Kenji Praepipatmongkol | Ph.D. candidate, University of Michigan Chang Saetang’s Self-Portraits and the Inversion of ‘Barami’
Eileen Legaspi-Ramirez | Assistant Professor, Department of Art Studies, University of the Philippine Art on the Back Burner: Gender as the Elephant in the Room of SEA Art Histories
Eksuda Singhalampong | Lecturer in Art History, Silpakorn University Picturing Femininity: Portraits of the Early Modern Siamese Women
May Adadol Ingawanij | Reader and Co-director, Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media, University of Westminster The Essay Film as Feminist Cinema in Southeast Asia: Nguyen Trinh Thi and Anocha Suwichakornpong
Qui Ha Nguyen | PhD candidate, University of Southern California Womanhood and Modernity: Revisiting Cinematic Representation of Women’s Social Transformation in Vietnamese Revolutionary Cinema during the Wartime (1945-1975)
Roger Nelson | Postdoctoral Fellow, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Women as Passengers, Men as Drivers? On Urban Movement in Post-Independence ‘Cambodian Arts’
Soumya James | Independent Scholar, New Haven, CT Exploring the Feminine in Angkor’s Visual Imagery
Tina Le | PhD candidate, University of Michigan Crafting the Indigenous: Paz Abad Santos and the Feminine Arts
Wulan Dirgantoro | Postdoctoral Fellow, Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices 2016/2017 program, Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin, Germany Correcting, Interrogating: A proposal for feminist framework for Indonesian visual arts
Yvonne Low | Sessional Lecturer in Asian Art, Department of Art History, University of Sydney Recovering the Nation’s Woman (Artists): Mia Bustam and Lai Foong Moi
Le premier atelier se tiendra le vendredi 13 avril 2018, à l’EHESS, 54 bld Raspail, 75006, Paris, salle 737
Nous organisons une journée d’étude sur le thème suivant « diversité des transactions non marchandes et dynamiques des rapports sociaux en Asie du Sud-Est et à sa périphérie (Chine, Mondes indiens et himalayens) ».
Cette première journée a pour objectif de discuter et reconsidérer nos matériaux ethnographiques à partir de nos terrains respectifs dans une perspective d’anthropologie économique et politique. Nous vous proposons plusieurs pistes de réflexion que vous trouverez dans l’appel ci-joint. Nous prévoyons, à partir de cette première journée, de poursuivre la réflexion sous forme d’ateliers, dont les thématiques seront élaborées à partir de nos échanges. Ces travaux seront publiés sous la forme d’un ouvrage collectif ou d’un numéro spécial de revue.
Le premier atelier se tiendra le vendredi 13 avril 2018, à l’EHESS, 54 bld Raspail, 75006, Paris, salle 737
Veuillez trouver en pièce jointe l’argumentaire de l’appel à communication
Intersections of the Literary & Artistic Worlds in Myanmar & the Region in the 20th Century, 17/11/2017, Singapore
This proposed one-day symposium corresponds to the last leg of the NTU-funded project on AungSoeillustrations.org, a database of illustrations by Myanmar’s trailblazer of modern art, Bagyi Aung Soe (1923–1990).
The examination of Aung Soe’s dated illustrations, which are the only means to tracing his artistic evolution between 1948 and 1990, led to the awareness of the crucial role played by illustration in the development, dissemination and documentation of 20th-century art in Myanmar. With neither governmental support nor a developed art market, illustration in printed matter was the artist’s mobile showcase and the platform for artistic experimentations. Whether in Mandalay or Yangon, artists both mainstream and avantgarde illustrated: book covers, magazine covers, album covers, posters, illustrations and vignettes inside publications, etc.
The rise of Aung Soe in the years following the country’s political independence is inextricably linked to the support of Myanmar’s foremost literary figures: Dagon Taya (1919–2013) who initiated him to Western modernism; Min Thu Wun (1909–2004) and Zawgyi (1908–1990) who nominated him for the Indian government scholarship to study art at Visva-Bharati University founded by Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941) in Santiniketan, India, thereby mandating him with the revival of traditional Burmese art. Indeed, as in many countries in the region, Burmese writers and poets were ahead of the artists in addressing the urgency and challenges of a localised artistic modernity. Today, artists, writers, poets, publishers and filmmakers continue to work closely together in Myanmar; the divide between the literary and artistic worlds is fallacious. Specialisation is not necessarily a condition of artistic excellence in this part of the world, for an artist writes as well as publishes, and a poet paints as well as edits: the worlds of artistic creation, literature and filmmaking are symbiotic.
This symposium seeks to:
investigate the hitherto overlooked medium and agency of illustration in the articulation of “art” in Myanmar and the region;
discern geneses of “art” in Myanmar and the region from the perspective of the literary world;
explore ways of thinking and writing about “art” beyond that yoked to the Euramerican experience and agenda;
reflect on common threads and divergences in the way(s) in which modern art emerged in tandem with developments in the literary world in Myanmar and the region.
Intersections of the Literary & Artistic Worlds in Myanmar & the Region in the 20th century welcomes papers engaging with any of these four above-listed tropes. Areas of interest include but are not restricted to:
Illustration as a site for articulating artistic modernities in Myanmar and the region
Illustration as a means of making sense of constructs and paradigms of “art” in Myanmar and the region
Illustration as image, body and medium in “art” in Myanmar and the region
Writings on art and their role(s) in shaping artistic practice, production and reception in Myanmar and the region
Literature and the writer in art; art and the artist in literature in Myanmar and the region
Narratives of collaboration, dialogue, debate or/and contention between writers, artists, poets, filmmakers, editors, publishers, critics, etc. in Myanmar and the region
Ecosystems of writers, artists, poets, filmmakers, editors, publishers, critics, etc. in Myanmar and the region