As the West Slept, artist panel with Fyerool Darma, Ho Rui An, and Erika Tan

When 16 Nov 2019
5:00PM - 7:00PM
Where e-flux
311 E Broadway
New York, NY 10002
United States

The Financial Times in March 2019 boldly claimed that 2020 will mark the beginning of the Asian Century— a new Asian Age defined in part by Asia being home to half of the world’s middle class and its economies being larger than the rest of the world. Such a claim is symptomatic of a mainstream perception of change in the world order that has followed on the heels of the ascendancy of China as a global power. Perhaps correlative to the anxiety and anticipation associated with this shift is the emergence of ‘international’ forms of cultural production, such as the phenomenal success of Crazy Rich Asians (2018) that have been funded by ‘Asian’ wealth and motivated by a desire to address an Asian audience. Such recent shifts in the imaginations of Asian wealth and power  have afforded the opportunity to rewrite history and to review the ways we speak about centers and peripheries of power.

This panel discussion brings together artists Ho Rui An, Erika Tan, and Fyerool Darma and curator Kathleen Ditzig to discuss the complexities of the ways in which we have employed Asia in light of global shifts that play out on on the silver screen and on the international stage through trade wars. What does it mean to interrogate Asianessacross history and economics? What are the opportunities and pitfalls that such a label provides in light of the geopolitics that determine our everyday lives—and to whom does this label apply? Moreover, what do perceived shifts in global power mean for artistic practice and cultural production?

The discussion is organized in conjunction with the exhibition As the West Slept on view at the World Trade Center Complex, and bringing together artworks by Heman Chong, Fyerool Darma, Ho Rui An, and Erika Tan that speak to the geopolitical stakes involved in the glorification of Asian Capitalism and the ‘rise’ of an Asian Century. The exhibition is a Performa 2019 Consortium Project presented by Silver Art Projects and supported by the National Arts Council of Singapore.

Fyerool Darma interrogates and complicates the cultural consumption of history in relation to contemporary markers of identity and class. His artefacts are based on an extensive visual vocabulary drawn from popular culture, literature, archives, the internet, and his own experiences. Recent solo exhibitions include Sunny, your smile ease the pain, Yeo Workshop, Singapore (2019) and the long-term research project After Ballads, NUS Museum, Singapore (2017-18). His work has been presented in group exhibitions such as 900mdpl’s Ghost of a thousand conversations in Kaliurang, Jogjakarta (Indonesia 2019), Asia Film Archive’s State of Motion: A Fear of Monsters and Lost and found: imagining new worlds, LASALLE’s Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore (both Singapore, 2019); Fantasy Islands, Objectifs Centre of Photography, Singapore (2017); and An Atlas of Mirrors, Singapore Biennial (2016).

Ho Rui An is an artist and writer working in the intersections of contemporary art, cinema, performance and theory. He writes, talks and thinks around images, with an interest in investigating their emergence, transmission and disappearance within contexts of globalism and governance. He has presented projects at the Gwangju Biennale (2018), Yinchuan Biennale (2018), Jakarta Biennale (2017), Sharjah Biennial 13 (2017), Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2014), Haus de Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2017), Jorge B. Vargas Museum and Filipiniana Research Center, Manila (2017), NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore (2017), NUS Museum, Singapore (2016), Para Site, Hong Kong (2015) and Hessel Museum of Art and CCS Bard Galleries, Annandale-on-Hudson (2015). He is a recipient of the 2018 DAAD Berliner Künstlerprogramm. He lives and works in Singapore and Berlin.

Erika Tan is an artist whose practice is primarily research-led. Recent research has focused on the postcolonial and transnational, working with archival artefacts, exhibition histories, received narratives, contested heritage, subjugated voices and the transnational movement of ideas, people and objects. Recent shows include: A Place in the World, NUA Gallery, Norwich; Unrealised commission, National Gallery, Singapore; On Attachments and Unknowns, Sa Sa Bassac, Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Diaspora Pavilion, (Venice Biennale 2017); Artist and Empire (Tate Touring, National Gallery Singapore 2016/7). She is a Lecturer on the B.A.Fine Arts 4D Pathway, Central Saint Martins, UAL; a founding member of Asia-Art-Activism currently based at Raven Row and was awarded the Stanley Picker Fellow in Fine Art 2018-2020.

Kathleen Ditzig is a Singaporean researcher and curator. She has a Masters from CCS Bard and is currently pursuing her Phd at Nanyang Technological University. In her writing, she interrogates and attempts to historically contextualise various contemporary forms and networks of cultural production. Her writing has been published in three different languages and on platforms such as Artforum’s Critic’s Picks, Art Agenda and Flash Art. Ditzig’s curatorial practice has previously involved the development of artist residencies, publications and exhibitions for museums, as well as independent exhibitions for emerging artists. Her ongoing independent curatorial projects, such as (developed with Robin Lynch and Debbie Ding), have been presented on international platforms including the Berlin Biennale and in books such as Perhaps it is High Time for a Xeno-Architecture to Match(Sternberg, 2018).

Image courtesy of the event organizer.
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