This article thinks through the concept of a longue durée Asian contemporary art history within a global and transcultural framework while taking into account transnational artists’ mobilities and international flows of artistic production. The author explores the work, vision and exhibition history of the Hong Kong-New York artist collective Tomato Grey and the interrelated concepts of modernity, the contemporary, transnationalism, nationalism, nostalgia and the everyday in relation to its artistic production. Hong Kong's ongoing relationship with China and larger global setting is taken into account as the article considers the multivalent and transnational frameworks of the Asian contemporary ‘now’. It further explores the notion of temporality in relation to the artists’ works and the concept of general relativity in relation to the composited imagination involved in conceptualising the ‘Now’ as a continuity of – yet also a non-linear composite of – the ‘Now’ of the past, present and future.
This article examines the experimental research-creation platform the Maraya Project, initiated by Vancouver artists M Simon Levin, Glen Lowry and Henry Tsang to critique the parallel urban mega-developments in Vancouver and Dubai. Germane to the inquiry is the exportation of the city-planning model of Vancouverism to the Middle East that has resulted in a look-alike urban waterfront promenade by the same architects of Concord Pacific Place in Vancouver's False Creek for the Dubai Marina development in the United Arab Emirates. The article traces ways in which the six-year interdisciplinary project, which included exhibitions, walking tours and sea-walk interventions, public talks, transit-shelter posters, a social media campaign and a commissioned interactive website, brought forward considerations of the implications of citation and inter-referencing in inter-Asian contexts. It concludes by considering the Maraya Project as a kind of imaginative worlding research-creation practice that potentially embodies postcolonial urbanism as a critical transnational methodology.
The Three Gorges Dam (TGD) is currently the world's largest hydroelectric project. The difficulty of coming to terms with the TGD lies not only in its extensive effects on the ground, but also in the ways in which its history has been enmeshed in global networks of finance, business, politics and activism. This article considers how the uncertainties generated by the dam translate into aesthetic phenomena that in turn illuminate the contours of globality in China. The first part of this article examines a public park built near the TGD the purpose of which is to frame and fix the dam's ideological meaning for tourists and visitors. The second part considers the work of contemporary Chinese painter Liu Xiaodong, whose large-scale paintings depicting displaced peoples constitute a broader critique of painting and realism. Despite their markedly different stances, both foreground the conceptual boundary between art and the world as part of a complex engagement with globality.
This article examines three projects in Lee Mingwei's oeuvre: The Dining Project, The Sleeping Project and The Tourist. These three projects represent Lee's projects as enabling slippages of contact and communication between strangers. Through the production of simple quotidian activities as eating, sleeping and the more complex act of tourism, Lee Mingwei replicates the processes that enable cosmopolitanism; the encounters, collisions and quiet moments of contact between strangers. This article seeks to interrogate these activities as key players in the greater phenomena of globalization.
Most discussions of Fiona Tan's work focus on the artist's migrant and mixed-race identity. Tan has an Indonesian-Chinese father and Anglo-Australian mother; she was born in Pekan Baru, Indonesia, spent her formative years in Melbourne, Australia, and has spent most of her adult life in the Netherlands. She is rarely described as ‘merely’ a Dutch or European artist but rather designated as ‘a global citizen’ whose works draw ‘critical connections between these places and their cultures’. This article offers a reading of Tan's deployment of temporality as demonstration of her engagement with the changing ethno-politico landscape in the Netherlands. Deploying Rothberg and Yildiz's concept of ‘acts of citizenship’, the author reads Tan's The Changeling (2006) and Provenance (2008) as politicized acts of migrant citizenship in Europe.
The artists Nobuho Nagasawa and Chiharu Shiota defy the typical profile of ‘Japanese/women artists’. They were educated in Europe and have both lived in Berlin. They have resided in cosmopolitan cities outside Japan and exhibited their works globally over the last decade. Their travels helped them attain the perspective of the ‘outsider’ and enriched their artistic creation. Their mobility also lent complexity to their identities, which could no longer be pigeon-holed according to ethnic or cultural origin. These artists’ career paths and their growing reception in the global art scene pose important questions about being an artist of Asian origin working outside one's home country. Through in-depth analysis this article demonstrates how the work of these two artists transcends the conventionally held presumptions regarding ‘Japanese/women artists’. It also considers how they both internalize cultural displacement within their work, while catalysing artistic dialogue beyond national and cultural borders.
This article examines two recent installations, Genteel (2010) and Sweating Bone China (2009), by New England-based, Hawai‘i-born sculptor Lynne Yamamoto. Both projects, inflected by her background as the descendant of Japanese migrant plantation workers, interweave multiple themes of global circulation across geopolitical, cultural and temporal boundaries. The artist, via the visual interplay among evocative assemblages of sculptural elements drawn from personal and family history and local material culture – foodstuffs, consumer goods, the built environment – gestures toward the intimate ways in which people's lived experience, material circumstances, and the social and physical environment of Hawai‘i are complexly transformed and imprinted by larger systemic conditions. Her close scrutiny of such specific items brings into play the wide-ranging movement of people, goods, capital and influences that have indelibly shaped contemporary Hawai‘i's social and physical environment, and the profound historic impact of the US on the Asia Pacific region.
On 2 August 2013, Oscar Ho, Frank Vigneron, Lam Tung-pang and Samson Young met in Hong Kong to discuss the topical concerns, contemporary dynamics and historical constituencies of Hong Kong art in a specially convened roundtable discussion moderated by Dean Chan. Hong Kong's history as a British colony and its present status as a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China simultaneously haunt and animate this provocative discussion. Hong Kong's hybrid ontology characterizes its unique place in the world but also serves as a source of tension vis-à-vis China. Hong Kong art is highlighted as an ongoing site for cultural critique, struggle and resistance, and functions as a situated context to undo anodyne notions of nationalism and fabricate newly limned localized identifications with reflexive transnational imaginings. The transnational mobility of Hong Kong artists today is harnessed as a critical means to focus on the local and the particular.
Third Text is published in print and online by Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.