Speaking Out: Siting the voice in contemporary Asian art

Day: Saturday 7 April


Pamela Corey (SOAS University of London)
Wenny Teo (Courtauld Institute of Art)

Session Abstract

Voice is frequently evoked as a metaphor for agency in narratives of contemporary art in Asia, pitched against authoritarian control over artistic expression in numerous postcolonial, postwar, and post-socialist environments. In historical examples, such as in the self-criticism exercised in communist China and Vietnam, voice was also used as a means of performing state disciplinary mechanisms, illustrating the ways in which vocal articulation is perceived as an instrument of coercive subject formation. Orality – and its often vexed relationship to the written form – has thus come to the forefront as the medium of historiographies from below and a vital means of asserting individualism or non-official artistic collectivity.

This session seeks to develop new perspectives on the use and the function of the voice in contemporary art in Asia. Attending to a dimension of artistic practice that has received little ‘visibility’, we hope to gather further theorisations of the voice as artistic material, medium, form, and beyond.

Speakers & Papers

Brianne Cohen (University of Colorado, Boulder) The Vital Materialism of Voice in Serpents’ Tails

Chanon Kenji Praepipatmongkol (University of Michigan) Disfluency and the Concrete Poetry of Chang sae-Tang

Kimberly Lamm (Duke University) ‘Mouth to Mouth’: Deconstructing the voice and screening the fantasy of the ‘mother tongue’ in the work of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha

susan pui san lok (Middlesex University) Between the Voice between the Words between the Work between us

Emilia Terracciano (The Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford) Listen In: The vegetal ecologies of Simryn Gill

Vivian Kuang Sheng (The University of Hong Kong) Shen Yuan’s Speechless ‘Tongues’: Speaking out beyond language barriers

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