[ASJC Performance & Talk] Memory Activists: Southeast Asia Performance Archive
Sat. September 9, 2023, 15:00-18:00
Space 1 (Performance), Art Hall (Performance & Lecture), The Ground-L (Talk)
[ASJC Performance & Talk] Memory Activists: Southeast Asia Performance Archive
Memory Activists: Southeast Asia Performance Archive acts as the starting point for a long-term program designed to facilitate in-depth discussions on contemporary art in Southeast Asia. The 2023 program focuses on the performance art of maritime nations, namely the Philippines, Indonesia, and Singapore. It features performances by Indonesian artist Agung Kurniawan and Filipino artist Eisa Jocson, accompanied by talk programs featuring Aaron Seeto from the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MACAN) and Joselina Cruz from the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD). Seng Yu Jin from the National Gallery Singapore will deliver a lecture on the politics of performance art, discussing the history of Artist Village as a focal point. This program seeks to explore the interplay between performance practices – which capture and claim the present moment – and their role as “memory activists” within the context of museological and curatorial context that shapes specific historical and regional archives.
15:00-15:20, Agung Kurniawan, Space 1 (2F)
15:30-16:15, Eisa Jocson, Art Hall (B1)
16:20-17:10, Seng Yu Jin, The Ground-L (1F)
17:15-17:35, Agung Kurniawan & Aaron Seeto, The Ground-L (1F)
17:40-18:00, Eisa Jocson & Joselina Cruz, The Ground-L (1F)
*The above talk and lecture will be conducted in English.
About the Programs
Performance & Talk
Agung Kurniawan, Sri, 2017
This performance was created to honor the untold stories of survivors of the 1965 genocide of the Indonesian Communist Party simpatisans(sympathizer). The brutality and inhumanity contained in these stories have become a two-bladed dagger for these survivors: by telling their stories, they would experience physical and social abuse from the wider society; however, by retaining these stories, they suffer mentally. This performance was initiated around the story of a singer, Sri, who was imprisoned for five years, being accused as a simpatisan of the Indonesian Communist Party. The performance compresses her story into 65 words; 65 representing the year of the tragedy. In this performance, the artist acts as a conductor, directing 65 audience members, who are each responsible for reading one word/phrase. When these words are spoken on their own, they lose the context and narrative. After reading the words in random order and with different intonations, the words are then read in their original order, revealing the full (compressed) story. This traumatic story would only become whole with the participation of the 65 audience members. Without them, the story would remain untold, and the words would only be a combination of letters with no meaning.
Agung Kurniawan is co-founder of Kedai Kebun Forum(KKF), Indonesian Visual Arts Archive(IVAA). He has held solo exhibitions in various institutions and cities, including Gejolak Makam Keramat(2017), Hanya Kematian Yang Setia Menunggu(2015), and The Lines that Remind Me of You(2011). His artworks have been collected numerous institutions, including Van Abbe Museum, National Gallery Singapore, and John Thompson Museum, etc. He participated in Gwangju Biennale(2012) as an artist, and Seoul-Asia Art Now(2003) as a curator.
Talk with Aaron Seeto
Aaron Seeto is the Director of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara, Jakarta(MACAN). He was formerly Curatorial Manager of Asian and Pacific Art, at Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, Australia where he led the curatorial team at the eighth Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT8) in 2015. For eight years prior, he was the Director of Sydney’s ground-breaking 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art.
Eisa Jocson, Corponomy, 2009
Corponomy is conceived as a performance lecture, which reveals different layers of processes involved in each role transformation. Going through the artist’s personal archive of various movement research and training, including documentation of mentor-student transmissions, Eisa Jocson shares the narratives and production of the multiple bodies inhabiting her artistic practice. Interfacing video, text, sound and live demonstration and reconstruction, Corponomy discloses different physical regimes that construct each embodiment, as well as the socio-cultural body politics embedded in movement language, social mobility and migration. The performance-lecture includes investigations into the politics of pole dancing(Death of The Pole Dancer, 2011), macho dancing(Macho Dancer, 2013), Filipino hostess culture in Japan(Host, 2015) and Filipino entertainers working in Disneyland(Princess, 2017).
Eisa Jocson is a contemporary choreographer and dancer from the Philippines, trained as a visual artist, with a background in ballet. She has been commissioned by and toured extensively in major contemporary festivals with her solo triptych: Death of the Pole Dancer(2011), Macho Dancer(2013) and Host(2015). Macho Dancer won the prestigious Zurcher Kantonalbank Acknowledgement Prize at the Zurich Theater Spektakel in 2013.
Talk with Joselina Cruz
Joselina Cruz is currently Director and Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD), De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, Manila. Cruz has worked as a curator for the Lopez Memorial Museum in Manila and the Singapore Art Museum. She was a curator for the 2nd Singapore Biennale in 2008 and curated the Philippine Pavilion for the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017. She is a Fellow of the Nippon Foundation’s Asian Public Intellectuals, and the Asian Cultural Council. She studied art history at the University of the Philippines, and Curating Contemporary Art (MA, RCA) at the Royal College of Art, London.
Entangled Bodies: The Journey of Performance Art in Singapore and the Artists’ Regional Exchange (ARX)
This lecture will trace the entangled histories of performative practices in Singapore that intersected with an expanding regional network of artists making performance art in Singapore and Australia. Early performative works by artists like Tang Da Wu from the late 1970s in Singapore laid the groundwork for the proliferation of performance art in the late 1980s and the 1990s centred on artist collectives such as The Artists Village and the 5th Passage Artists Limited. These experimental forms of collectivism were responding to and critically engaging with social issues concerning ecology, climate change, urbanisation, politics, public spaces, and marginalised communities such as the LGBTQ. Seng will show how performance practices catalyzed interdisciplinary collaborations between art, theatre, music, and poetry in Singapore. Performance art as an interdisciplinary art form enabled and empowered the movement of performative bodies through regional networks like the Artists’ Regional Exchange (1987-1999) based in Perth that was committed to supporting experimental practices and collaborative interactions between artists in Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia.
Seng Yu Jin
Seng Yu Jin is a Senior Curator and Deputy Director (Curatorial and Exhibitions) at National Gallery Singapore. He was previously a Lecturer at LASALLE College of the Arts in the MA Asian Art Histories and BA Fine Arts programs, and now lectures at the National University of Singapore’s Minor in Art History program. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Melbourne. Seng’s research interests cover regional art histories focusing on Southeast Asian art in relation to studies on diaspora, migration, and cultural transfers. He is currently researching artistic activities and its histories, focusing on the history of exhibitions and artist collectives in Southeast Asia.
*This program is produced with the support of “2022 ARKO Selection Visual Art”
Seng Yu Jin, Agung Kurniawan, Aaron Seeto, Eisa Jocson, Joselina Cruz
Art Sonje Center
Je Yun Moon
Art Council Korea, MACAN, MCAD, NGS
Free admission for exhibition ticket holders