Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Conference 2017

I am attending the Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Conference 2017 in Seoul, South Korea.

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The abstract of the paper i’m presenting at the conference:

In the ruins of an Asian futurity: Contemporary transnational Indian art, temporality, and (post)colonial history after globalization

The ‘temporal turn’ in contemporary Asian art is symptomatic of a moment of geo-political and economic crisis, and a period of transition in postimperial histories. The focus on archives, memory and traumas of colonialism and nationalism are reconstituting the present in relation to the failures of postcolonial freedoms, and uncertain, unimaginable futures.

By principally considering the work of multi-media Indian artists such as Nalini Malani, Amar Kanwar, Navjot Altaf, and The Raqs Media Collective, the paper examines how the contradictions between testimony, truth, memory, and history are interrogated in and across local and transnational art and social spaces. In these innovative screenworks, archival documents, images, sounds and texts are sutured to deconstruct and fictionally reimagine the times of violence, trauma, resistance and hope.

Against the hegemonic neoliberal globalization of digital circuits of ahistorical info-capitalism, and imagined synchronous national histories, this Asian contemporary art explores the ‘disjunctive contemporaneity’ of global time. By drawing upon myths, local everyday narratives, and oral history, the rearticulated pluralistic, subaltern traditions of India interrupt the temporality of globalization. Themes of capitalistic exploitation, class and communal hatred, rape, social violence, and death are the conditions to speculate on futures of hope beyond the historical present. The translocal forms of the artworks attempt to create other ‘world imaginaries’ – subjective and collective – beyond national and capitalist futures.

The paper reflects on the political aesthetics of deconstructive Asian global art, that is at once situated in repressed local histories, myths and memories, and the speculative collective subjectivities of a transcontinental ‘worlding’ of (im)possible Asian decolonial futures-yet-to-come.

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