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Nov
27
3:45 PM15:45

Contemporary Art, the Modern and Historicity

By Prof C. J. W.-L. Wee (Singapore)

What is the place of contemporary art forms from the 1980s within the present global dispensation? The cultural critic, Fredric Jameson, has commented that the 1980s “seem to mark the end of the modern in all kinds of ways, from communications technologies and industry all the way to forms of art”.

Do all forms of contemporary art inevitably embody this “end of temporality” that, Jameson argues, is endemic to a general condition of postmodernity? This presentation will suggest that the contemporary of contemporary art in our region is less a period style, and more differing artistic responses in various (though linked) contexts of desired economic growth to the end of temporality as a situation.

Examined through the theatre practices of acclaimed theatre-makers, Singapore’s Kuo Pao Kun (1939 - 2002) and Malaysia’s Krishen Jit (1939 - 2005), and concludes with consideration of the intercultural theatre of Ong Keng Sen (b.1964).

 

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Nov
27
2:30 PM14:30

There are as many Theatres as there are People

By T. Sasitharan (Singapore)

The words “intercultural” and “interculturalism” have been linked with performance and theatre for 40 years; part of the common parlance of practitioners, critics, and audiences. Introduced by Richard Schechner to contrast with “international,” “intercultural” initially referred to work and meetings of artists from different “cultures” (1983). In subsequent nuancing, interculturalism came to refer to creative ways of working with (or working out) “difference”, “cultural identity” and “the Other”. Implicit is the tension between identifying difference and seeking commonality. Differences acknowledged must find “transcendence” to enable “inter”-action. “Transcendence” could happen as highly visible, multi-national or state-sponsored spectacles of festivals and temples of theatre with actors as mere digits, or as micro-events in studios and courtyards where exchanges of culture are “gifts” offered and accepted by artists, who are empowered and autonomous agents of a collaborative creativity. What is urgently needed is balance between these poles of “interculturalism”.  

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