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Critical Curatorial Practices in the 21st Century: Public Space, New Media and Geopolitics


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Social Intervention and Artistic Production

Convener:Joyce C.H. Liu, Wen-Shu Lai

The research group collectively proposes the following research questions: What transformations have various art forms undergone from the Cold War to the post-Cold War era of the 21st century? How can art contemplate social issues, participate in social action, present artistic responses, and address challenges related to conflict, justice, and decolonization? How can it reflect the transformations in Asia in the 21st century?
We believe that literary works, art, film, photography, theater, media, curation, museums, and other cultural forms are embedded with the discursive logic and symbolic rules of the historical context in which they were created. They also harbor potential critical power and resistance. Engaging with these cultural forms involves alternative archival reading and considering how artists in different historical contexts put forward decolonization actions. Any localized cultural form is not separate from the movements and global contexts of geopolitics. By reading and cross-referencing cultural forms from Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and the global context, we can broaden our perspectives.

The research group encourages researchers to develop research projects that explore the intersection of art intervention and social action, responding to the main theme of the overall project and the questions raised by each sub-project. These projects involve artistic creations. From the Cold War era to the post-Cold War period and the 21st century, the world has faced comprehensive transformations driven by rapid development of globalized capitalism and neoliberal policies. Both culture and society have undergone drastic changes, yet we can still observe traces of the colonial era, post-colonial governmental governance models, and lingering mindsets. Furthermore, we encourage researchers to form interdisciplinary research groups to investigate the art history, museum curation history, theater history, photography history, multimedia art, and film festival curation in Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia. Through these diverse forms of cultural action, we aim to capture visual cultural history and cultural action history that respond to societal changes beyond grand narratives. We particularly emphasize the knowledge production forms of art making, such as research through action and research through practice, such as documentary films, video essays, electronic image books, printed photography essays, curation, etc., and these will accumulate as research outcomes in the "Trans-Asia Media Laboratory." Through the creative work of art intervention and social action, we can align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), contribute to quality education (SDG 4), promote gender equality (SDG 5), reduce inequalities among marginalized populations domestically and internationally (SDG 10), and establish partnerships for cross-national cooperation (SDG 17), with the goal of creating an inclusive and equal coexistence society.


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