Image caption: Hands of a ritualist of the Maguindanao community that was among the Muslim Philippine peoples who waged a war of secession for 50 years. Courtesy Marian Pastor Roces.
Thursday, 13 July 2023
6.00 – 8.30pm
The Arts House, Screening Room
1 Old Parliament Lane, Singapore 179429
Friday, 14 July 2023
9.30am – 4.30pm
NTU School of Art, Design, and Media
81 Nanyang Dr, Singapore 637458
The conference Climate Crisis and Cultural Loss marks the midway point of the titular three-year research project led by curator and educator Prof Ute Meta Bauer. Combining scientific findings with cultural and artistic practices, the project is a transdisciplinary effort to move beyond the perception of the science of climate change as the only place from which to address the planet’s most pressing problem, attempting to dig deeper and surface longer-term, more imperceptible, and difficult-to-quantify perspectives of cultural loss.How has the slow erosion of diverse, multicultural, and more-than-human ways of living over time contributed to the climate crisis that we are confronted with today? Can we begin again with culture, to induce a necessary paradigm shift in the way we think about and respond to the climate crisis? The common task at hand is to understand this intrinsically and deeply interwoven relationship between climate and culture.
Starting with the acknowledgement of ancestral connections between the environment and its peoples, the conference opens with a double-bill of two public keynotes by the esteemed anthropologist Prof Cynthia Chou and erudite writer, curator, and policy analyst Marian Pastor Roces. On the second day, artists and filmmakers, community and cultural workers, anthropologists, environmental historians, radar scientists, and legal experts, come together in a full-day programme of presentations, panels, screenings, and conversations across themes of archipelagic autonomy, the socio-politics of extreme weather, environmental memory and cultural traces, in recognition of the climate crisis as a total field of research.
Cynthia Chou (Singapore/United States) is Director of the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies, C. Maxwell and Elizabeth M. Stanley Family Chair of Asian Studies and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Iowa, United States. She is a cultural anthropologist whose primary research has centered on a longitudinal ethnographic study on sea nomadism, and in particular, on the Orang Suku Laut (tribal people of sea people) in Indonesia. Three main themes that have oriented her research thus far are: representations of what it means to be “indigenous”; space, place and identity; and human-environment interaction. Her publications include The Orang Suku Laut of Riau, Indonesia: The Inalienable Gift of Territory (2010) and Indonesian Sea Nomads: Money, Magic and Fear of the Orang Suku Laut of Riau (2003). She received her bachelor’s and M.Soc.Sc. degrees from the National University of Singapore and PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. In 2011, she was awarded the degree of dr.phil. by the University of Copenhagen, Denmark in recognition of her contributions to the study of the orang suku laut.
Marian Pastor Roces (Philippines) is an independent curator, cultural critic, and policy analyst working out of her base in Manila, Philippines. She founded and leads TAOINC, a corporation that curates the establishment of museums and develops exhibitions, parks, and publications. TAOINC recently accomplished the creation of the online museum 21AM for the Cultural Center of the Philippines, for which Roces supervised the creation of a new Accession Record System with a decolonizing trajectory. Her current project is a museum to cross cultural understanding in an island province that recently moved past a 50-year sectarian war. Published internationally, Roces’ critical writing has addressed, notably, the biennale form (in Over Here, MIT Press 2007, and The Biennale Reader,Bergen Kunsthall and Hatje Cantz 2010); museology (in House of Glass, ISEAS Singapore 2001); dispersed cultural material (in What to Let Go?, Para Site – in press 2023); and art and activism (in Monumental Shadows, Jameel Arts Center Dubai, 2023). Gathering: Political Writing on Art and Culture, an anthology of 45 years of writing, was published in 2019 by the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (Manila) and Art Asia Pacific (Hong Kong). She is co-editor of the website, Mapping Philippine Material Culture Overseas, SOAS, University of London, which negotiates with museums globally for online open access as a form of digital repatriation. Her interest in social justice issues in relation to artmaking during the climate crisis is informed by work with human rights advocates and the peace process.
Prof Nabil Ahmed (Bangladesh/Norway), Prof Ute Meta Bauer (Germany/Singapore), Dr Kristy H.A. Kang (United States), Dr Hervé Raimana Lallemant-Moe (French Polynesia), Armin Linke (Germany/Italy), Vivian Licht Obed (Vanuatu), Lisa Rave (United Kingdom/Germany), Firdaus Sani (Singapore), Dr Fiona Williamson (United Kingdom/Singapore), Dr Yun Sang-Ho (United States/Singapore)