Southeast Asian Contemporary Artists’ Moving Image

Part of the Sydney Asian Art Series 2024, Power Institute, University of Sydney

6 March 2024, 7:00PM – 8:30PM (AEST)


My talk will draw on my book in progress, Animistic Medium: Southeast Contemporary Asian Artists’ Moving Image, which forms part of my ongoing curatorial project Animistic Apparatus. The book writing aspect of this project pursues two related concerns: to understand the relationship between Southeast Asian legacies of vanguardism and contemporary artistic practices, and to think about the aesthetic and agential tendencies of Southeast Asian contemporary artists’ moving image. The artistic practices the book thinks with include those by Lav Diaz, Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Anocha Suwichakornpong, Nguyen Trinh Thi, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Ho Tzu Nyen, Kidlat Tahimik, Tuan Andrew Nguyen, and Riar Rizaldi.

Animistic Medium tries to understand what has become of the avant-garde’s aspiration to change life. It asks: What are the characteristics of contemporary Southeast Asian artists’ moving image practices? How are they connected with the failures and the aftermath of the region’s historical vanguardism? The project considers the intertwining of the afterlife of regional and national vanguardism, the structures and networks of production and circulation of artistic practice in global contemporary art, and the aesthetics and poetics of Southeast Asian contemporary artists’ moving image. My proposition is that Southeast Asian artists’ moving image are practices that make animistic medium within circuits of global contemporary art. My book thinks the contradictions and potentialities of artistic expression and enunciation by essaying the resonances between regional artistic agency and regional animism, defined as the praxis of agency, living and future-imagining of precarious beings in worlds of hierarchies and entanglements.