Online Seminar: Frequencies of Tradition
The Times Museum and KADIST present three online sessions that consider tradition as a contested space, where one can critically reflect on Asian modernization and the Western canon. Through extensive artistic research, the seminars delve into particular divergences in Asia from regional encounters with the modern world: the convergence of Asian philosophy with the convoluted discourse of the Pacific War (1941-1945), practices that intersect traditional spirituality with digital technology, and the undocumented transgressive histories of gender-subversive engagement in traditional Asian performing arts. Bridging artists’ investigations with scholarly research, the seminar explores tradition as an enchanting liminal space that pluralizes our understanding of the regional modern.
The online seminar is in conjunction with the exhibition Frequencies of Tradition curated by Hyunjin Kim on view at the Times Museum, Guangzhou, China through February 7, 2020
Session I: The Kyoto School and its Convoluted Philosophical Conjunction, Wednesday, January 27, 5 pm (UTC+8)
Introduction by curator Hyunjin Kim, followed by a conversation between artist Ho Tzu Nyen and scholar and philosopher, Yuk Hui.
The first session unravels the intricate histories and incommensurable philosophies of the Kyoto School, a scholarly group founded at Kyoto University in Japan during the first half of the 20th Century. Their philosophy assimilated Western philosophy and religious ideas to reformulate spiritual and moral insights unique to East Asian cultural tradition, which later contributed to the Japanese military regime’s stance on the Pacific War (1941-1945). The session introduces Ho Tzu Nyen’s artistic research exploring the paradoxical ideologies and histories around Kyoto School and its four main scholars, followed by a conversation with scholar and philosopher of technology, Yuk Hui. They discuss the Kyoto School’s philosophy of the void, violence, and technology concerning Zen Buddhism, Taoism, Samurai culture, and the wartime repercussions of this school of thought. This session is introduced by Hyunjin Kim, KADIST’s Lead Regional Curator for Asia.
Session II: Spirituality, Community and the Memory Sphere, Thursday, January 28, 5 pm (UTC+8)
Presentations by artists Ayoung Kim, Chia Wei Hsu, and Jane Jin Kaisen, followed by a conversation moderated by curator Anselm Franke.
Through their work, artists Ayoung Kim, Jane Jin Kaisen, and Chia Wei Hsu present visionary engagements with ideas of animism and shamanism that go beyond modern boundaries. They approach the ungovernable Indigenous spirits as a medium to summon a ruptured past and a future memory sphere in the works, which are often realized through technological device mediation. This session explores the artists’ diverse approaches to spirituality and tradition in communities and further examines the complexities of colonial modernity in its border-making, displacement, abandonment, and social elimination. This session is moderated by Anselm Franke, Head of Visual Arts and Film at Haus der Kulturen der Welt.
Session III: Anomalous Tradition: Modern Divergence in East Asia, Friday, January 29, 11 am (UTC+8)
Presentations by artists Hwayeon Nam, siren eun young jung, and scholar Emily Wilcox, followed by a conversation moderated by scholar Soo Ryon Yoon.
Introducing artist siren eun young jung’s decade long research on Yeoseong Gukguek (traditional Korean, female-only theater) and Hwayeon Nam’s extensive investigation into the 20th-century cosmopolitan choreographer and dancer Choi Seung-hee, this session explores their notable media and performance languages to traditional performing art histories in the context of encounters with modernity in the colonial and cold war space of Korean peninsula. In line with the exceptional dancer’s aspirations for East Asian dance and Yeoseunggukgeuk’s empowerment in gender transgression, Emily Wilcox, Associate Professor of Modern Chinese Studies, University of Michigan will share her comparative research on East Asian choreographers and performing art histories. The session is moderated by performance studies researcher Soo Ryon Yoon, Assistant Professor in Cultural Studies, Lingnan University, Hong Kong.
Online seminar Details: Frequencies of Tradition
The online seminar will be streamed live on Zoom. Free to attend, RSVP required. Conducted in English, all sessions will be recorded and made available with Chinese subtitles at a later date.
The online seminar and the exhibition Frequencies of Tradition are co-organized by Guangdong Times Museum and KADIST. The exhibition is the culmination of a three-year series of KADIST Asia programs entitled Frequency of Tradition, comprising exhibitions, commissions, and seminars taking place across Asia. The program is curated by Hyunjin Kim, Lead Regional Curator for Asia, and initiated by KADIST.