The two days international symposium “Pathways of Performativity in Contemporary Southeast Asian Art” casts a spotlight on the fascinating histories of performance practices which speak to the postcolonial, Cold War and politico-economic forces that have shaped Southeast Asia after the Second World War. It brings together renowned scholars and curators from the disciplines of art history, film and theatre studies, whose work explores the central role of performance in bridging the visual arts, theatre, dance, music and political activism in the region from the 1960s to the present.

The symposium is accompanied by the launch of the exhibition “Southeast Asia Performance Collection”, conceived as part of the series ‘Archives in Residence’ in Haus der Kunst’s Archive Gallery. It presents photographs, videos and archival materials from the pioneering ‘Southeast Asia Performance Collection’, an expansive research project and digital archive compiled by an international team of researchers and curators in the UK and Asia between 2015 and 2017. This archive currently contains documentation of performance-based works such as live art, urban and social interventions, by over fifty artists from across Southeast Asia and its diasporas. The exhibition presents a selection of these materials for the first time in Germany, and explores the relationship between performativity and digital exchanges, networks and virtual preservation across Southeast Asia. Bringing the ideas behind the symposium and exhibition to life will be a curated program of live performances by internationally-acclaimed Southeast Asian artists.  

The symposium is collaboratively run and generously supported by the Goethe-Institut. It is organised by Dr. Eva Bentcheva (Goethe-Institut Postdoctoral Fellow at Haus der Kunst), in consultation with Annie Jael Kwan (independent curator and founding director of Something Human). The ‘Southeast Asia Performance Collection’ was conceived by Something Human, and is currently accessible at the Live Art Development Agency in London, UK.

First day: Thursday, 27 June

2–2.30 pm
Greeting and introduction

2.30–4 pm
Panel 1: Aesthetics and Politics of ‘Publicness’ 

Dr Pamela Corey (SOAS, University of London) 
Performance as Picture: Performativity and Photography in Cambodia

Nathalie Johnston (Myanm/art) 
No Intersection: Where Theatre, Protest and Performance Art in Myanmar Meet

Eileen Legaspi Ramirez (University of the Philippines) 
Wagering Performativity in the Philippines among Sites and Selves

Moderation: Dr Damian Lentini

4–5.30 pm
Panel 2: Expanding Intermedial Histories 

Dr meLê Yamomo (University of Amsterdam) 
Performing Epistemic Disobediences in Manila and Southeast Asia? Decolonial Possibilities in José Maceda’s Udlot-udlot and Ugnayan

Dr Thomas Berghuis (Curator and art historian, Leiden) 
Pathways of Performance and Performance Art in Indonesia – ‘When was performance, performance art in Indonesia?’

Dr Amanda Rath (Goethe University Frankfurt) 
Unpacking Indonesian ‘Performance Art’ as Transdisciplinary Collaborations in the 1980s and 1990s

Moderation: Dr May Adadol-Ingawanij

6–7 pm
Opening Archives in Residence: Southeast Asia Performance Collection with Live-Performance: Anida Yoeu Ali, The Buddhist Bug Project 

7–8.30 pm
Keynote lecture 1

Prof Nora Taylor (School of the Art Institute of Chicago)
Sedimented Acts: Southeast Asian Artists’ Engagements with History Through Performance

Respondents: Chương-Đài Võ (Asia Art Archive) and Dr Mechtild Widrich (School of the Art Institute of Chicago)

Second day: Friday, 28 June 

10–10.15 am
Greeting and introduction

10.15–11.30 am
Keynote lecture 2

Dr May Adadol Ingawanij (University of Westminster)
Animistic Medium: Genealogy of Performativity and Southeast Asian Contemporary Art

11.30 am–12.30 pm
Curatorial tour

through the exhibition Archives in Residence - Southeast Asia Performance Collection

1–2 pm

2–3.30 pm
Panel 3: Constructing and Contesting Identities 

Dr Wulan Dirgantoro (University of Melbourne) 
Things Happen When We Remember: Memory and the Archive in FX Harsono’s Works

Sally Oey (Ludwig Maximilian University Munich) 
Re-building Space, Body and Self: Alienation and Appropriation in Marintan Sirait’s Performative Practice 

Artist talk w/ Anida Yoeu Ali (Phnom Penh) 
Unchartered Distance: Performing In-Between Here and There

Moderation: Annie Jael Kwan 

3.30–4 pm

4–5.30 pm
Panel 4: Archiving Performativity

Chương-Đài Võ (Asia Art Archive) 
Form and Process

Dr Roger Nelson (National Gallery of Singapore) 
Performativity Without Performance? Reflections and Questions on Medium in Post-Conceptual Contemporary Art

Performance Lecture: Ho Rui An, Conspiracy of Files

Moderation: Dr Eva Bentcheva

5.30–6 pm
Plenary discussion