Special Lecture Series
Introduction to Art and Culture in the Global Age:

David Teh
The Democratic Festival? Non-conformity and Regionalism in Southeast Asian Art

Nightly gathering at Tha Pae Gate, Chiang Mai during the 2nd Week of Cooperative Suffering, 1996. Image courtesy Uthit Atimana.

“Introduction to Art and Culture in the Global Age” is a series of special lectures organized by the Graduate school of Global Arts. In this course, we invite specialists from around the world to give lectures and workshops. Hosted by Curation field, this time we welcome David Teh, Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore.

What is the place of the festival in contemporary art, and in its history? What becomes of community and locality, of spontaneity and participation, as the fringes of contemporary art’s sprawling geography are charted by a now global market, and institutional desires for a global art history? This talk stems from my recent research on artist-initiated festivals held in Southeast Asia during the 1980s and 1990s. These gatherings show that while national representation was the usual ticket to participation on a global circuit, it wasn’t an essential determinant of contemporaneity; and that it was localism, rather than any internationalism, that defined the affinities amongst Southeast Asian artists at the time. The sites of this becoming contemporary were festive, but they also occasioned the accumulation of certain values and powers, and unruly articulations of political dissent. What does this complexity mean for the study of Asian contemporary art in its increasingly global context?

Date: November 15, Friday, 2019
Time: 7pm – 9pm
Place: GA Lecture Room, Tokyo University of the Arts
Guest Lecturer: David Teh(writer, curator and Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore)

photo by Alex Davies

David Teh
David Teh is a writer, curator and Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore, specializing in Southeast Asian contemporary art. His curatorial projects have included Returns (12th Gwangju Biennale, 2018), Misfits: Pages from a Loose-leaf Modernity (Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, 2017), Transmission (Jim Thompson Art Center, Bangkok, 2014), Video Vortex #7 (Yogyakarta, 2011), and Unreal Asia (55. Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, 2009). Teh’s essays have appeared in Third Text, Afterall, Artforum International, Theory Culture & Society, and ARTMargins. His book Thai Art: Currencies of the Contemporary was published by the MIT Press in 2017, and he was co-editor (with David Morris) of Artist-to-Artist: Independent Art Festivals in Chiang Mai 1992-98 (2018), for Afterall’s Exhibition Histories series.

Faculty Room, Department of Arts Studies and Curatorial Practices