Asia as a cultural and geographical concept continues to be represented through many artforms, and with diverse and often conflicting representations. A multitude of identities exists within its various regional zones – the Caucasus, Central Asia, South Asia, the Himalayan region, South East Asia and East Asia. Despite the spatial claims of mapping and territorialisation, boundaries between these regions and identities are often shifting, while intricately bound with these unstable delineations are complex histories of entanglement – colonial, post-colonial, national, and pre-national.
This workshop seeks to explore ways of framing and reframing Asia through research and practice in cinema and art, and through curatorial practices such as programming, exhibition-making, and alternative modes of distribution. It aims to provide a context for discussing how ideas of ‘Asian cinema’ and ‘Asian art’ have been articulated from the locality of the UK and in relation to the UK’s history of colonisation. It asks how artistic, curatorial and historical research and practice can question, complicate, and expand the idea and the framing of Asia in cinema and art; and it draws attention to questions of method and location of articulation in visualising, imagining, and representing the idea of Asia.
In dialogue with the method for reframing Asia proposed by the film programming of Aperture: Asia & Pacific Film Festival, the workshop will consider the interrelation of Asia and the wider Pacific region. The blurring of regional boundaries and cultural identities through film programming proposes a broader consideration of the idea of Asia, the Pacific, and remoteness as represented through culture and curatorial practice.
Confirmed speakers and roundtable discussion participants include Hammad Nasar (Stuart Hall Foundation, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art), James Mudge (Chinese Visual Festival), artist-filmmakers Helen Petts, Shireen Seno and John Torres (Los Otros), and Maryam Tafakory, as well as organising committee members May Adadol Ingawanij (CREAM, University of Westminster), Julian Ross (International Film Festival Rotterdam, CREAM, University of Westminster), Graiwoot Chulphongsathorn (CREAM, University of Westminster) and Sonali Joshi (Aperture: Asia & Pacific Film Festival, Day for Night). Works by the participating artists and filmmakers will be screened at the workshop as well as other short films and clips by Lucy Aukafolau, Ying Liang, Bridget Reweti, Anocha Suwichakornpong and Fiona Tan.
The workshop aims to create time for conversational exchanges drawing on the experiences, perspectives, research and practice of all participants. Contributions from invited speakers are intended as catalysts for broader dialogues on the day, and with a view to exploring potential collaborations in the future. We invite active participation as workshop attendants interested in sharing experiences and perspectives, and in exploring the scope for collaboration with Aperture and CREAM’s joint initiative.
Aperture: Asia & Pacific Film Festival is dedicated to screening some of the boldest, most daring, challenging, and striking films from the Asian and Pacific regions, and seeks to reframe the ‘idea’ of Asia through cinema, while also exploring cinema from the Pacific particularly in relation to its remoteness.