July 2: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? Reflections on the Politics and Aesthetics of Food in Contemporary Asian Art . Seminar with Francis Maravillas.
14:00 - 17:00
In recent times there has been a growing critical and curatorial interest in the conjunction of food and art. The revival of the alimentary in contemporary art has coincided with the globalisation of both food and art, along with a growing recognition of the confluence of epicurean concerns in the culinary and artistic world.
The emergence of contemporary art from Asia onto the global stage has, moreover, expanded the range of alimentary practice across new sensory and semiotic terrains, as well as cultural and geographic territories. Indeed, it is more than just a passing coincidence that food has been a recurring motif in contemporary Asian art, one anchored in the popular valorisation of the alimentary as a vital ingredient of memory and a quotidian index of identity (variously coded in cultural, gendered and religious ways) in a region deeply marked by multiple colonial and postcolonial histories, and by contemporary processes of globalisation. Moreover, given its prosaic association with the everyday within particular local and regional contexts, food is often figured in the art of the region as a trope of memory that evoke multiple, layered and intermingling histories and spatialities, linking the past and the present, here and elsewhere.
This seminar will provide a survey of the significance and various uses of food—as a raw material, a performative medium, a trope of identity and memory, and a marker of particular histories of passage and migration—in contemporary Asian art. It considers how the complex interplay between desire and anxiety, appetite and aversion, discomfort and dialogue evident in the various uses of food in the artistic practices in and from Asia might engender alternative, more critically relational modes of imagining the global and the local in ways that sets the table and the stage for a new understanding of the contemporary in art. In particular, this seminar seeks to foreground the need to be attuned to the complexity and specificities of local histories and geographies in order to fully grasp the performative, relational and sensuous processes of the alimentary in art, its relation to the everyday and its entanglement in the political economy of survival in a globalising world.
Francis Maravillas is Associate Researcher at the Transforming Cultures Research Centre at the University of Technology, Sydney, where he also lectures in cultural studies and interdisciplinary design studies. His research interests focuses on contemporary art and visual culture in Asia and Australia, curatorial practice and international art exhibitions, socially engaged and collaborative art and new media. He is currently working on a book manuscript that critically examines the significance and use of food in contemporary Asian art. His work appears in various journals and exhibition catalogues and as chapters in major edited collections including Contemporary Asian Art and Exhibitions: Connectivities and World-Making (ANU Press 2014), New Vision, New voices: Challenging Australian Identities and Legacies (Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2012), Crossing Cultures: Conflict, Migration and Convergence— proceedings of the 32nd International Congress of the History of Art (Melbourne University Press 2009), Cosmopatriots: On Distant Belongings and Close Encounters (Rodopi 2007) and In the Eye of the Beholder Reception and Audience for Modern Asian Art (Wild Peony and University of Sydney East Asia Series 2006). He was previously a board member of the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney (2004-2007).
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Published by Amsterdam Centre for Globalisation Studies