Rebordering the Archipelago — Asia Pacific Exchanges

Presented by the Centre of Visual Art, University of Melbourne association with the Asia Pacific Artistic Research Network (APARN), a joint project of Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne and Indonesian Institute of the Arts, Yogyakarta. Supported by the Melbourne-Indonesia Research Partnership Program.

Léuli Eshrāghi, re(cul)naissance, 2020. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Cockatoo Island. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body. Courtesy the artist. Photograph: Jessica Maurer.

3–6 November 2020 #APARN2020

Featuring: Raqs Media Collective and Moonis Ahmad; Léuli Eshrāghi and Lisa Hilli, Victoria Hunt; Yuki Kihara and Natalie King; Nuraini Juliastuti and Sutanto Mendut; Helly Minarti and Tamarra, Ginoe Ojoy, Mark Teh, Iriano Yedija Petrus Awom

Click here for bios and information on speakers.

“The entire world is becoming an archipelago.”

Édouard Glissant

The efforts of oppressed peoples to survive in settler-colonial and postcolonial nations build on regional alliances that precede and exceed the colonial imaginary. Rethinking the “graph” in geography, the decolonial enterprise refuses the synoptic nationalism of territories bordered through colonial diagrams. 

The late Tongan artist and scholar Epeli Hau’ofa proposed that the Pacific is best understood as a “sea of islands” — an oceanic continent, rather than small island states, sorted into the European categories of Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia (small, black, many). He notes that Pacific peoples have traversed the Pacific for hundreds of generations in tune with its winds and currents. Such critical interrogation of how taxonomies shape our intergenerational experience forms an important part of research methods in the arts today, with artists critiquing both extractive neo-colonial economies and isolating neoliberal aesthetics.

Thinking the politics of critical regionalism from Asia, Yogyakarta-based curator Brigitta Isabella has noted that after the 1955 Bandung Conference the associated Afro-Asian Writers Bureau were not able to perform the critique of the nation-state structures that governed the Non-Aligned Movement’s political imaginary, and this placed them on the back foot in relation to intergovernmental politics across the Indian Ocean. At a time when the policing of borders is being renewed across the world, and cultural nationalist state activism and fundamentalism rises again, it is timely to revisit the Asia Pacific’s legacies of rethinking borders and territories through artists and cultural workers. 

APARN 2020 presents a range of panels and presentations as part of a regional exchange of artistic enquiry that can activate regional solidarity in our fields. 

Artists of all disciplines, academics, students, and organisers who are actively involved in artistic research in the region — whether working inside an institution or independently — are also encouraged to join the network by registering for the APARN meeting on Friday 6th November. Attendance at this meeting requires a separate registration here. Please submit an expression of interest if you wish to share a five-minute presentation to the network, though you are welcome to participate without presenting.

A parallel First Peoples’ forum in the network (open to identifying participants only) will also meet on Friday 6th of November, convened by Dr Léuli Eshrāghi.

Affiliated with APARN 2020 is Archipelagic Encounters, a postgraduate research symposium and exchange between research students at McNally School of Fine Arts, Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore, and University of Melbourne, Australia.


Times given in AEDT (GMT +1100) and WIB (GMT +0700)

Tuesday 3rd November

5pm AEDT / 1pm WIB

Raqs Media Collective with Moonis Ahmad – introduced by Dr David Sequeira.

Wednesday 4th November

2pm AEDT / 10am WIB

Fluid States: Artistic Research in the Great Ocean Basin/Oceania 
Dr Léuli Eshrāghi with Lisa Hilli and Victoria Hunt

5pm AEDT / 1pm WIB

Yuki Kihara in conversation with Professor Natalie King

6pm AEDT / 2pm WIB

Dr Nuraini Juliastuti and Sutanto Mendut

Thursday 5th November

11:45am AEDT / 8:45am WIB

CoVA/LaSalle Postgraduate Symposium: “Archipelagic Exchanges”
ft. public keynote addresses by Sopheap Pich and Prof. Claire Bishop
* Separate registration here.

Friday 6th November

1pm AEDT (GMT +1100) / 9am WIB (GMT +0700)

Opening Remarks: Professor Gunalan Nadarajan, Dean, Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan

1:15pm AEDT / 9:15am WIB

Out of the Islands: Four Tangents

Convened by Dr. Helly Minarti with Tamarra, Ginoe Ojoy, Mark Teh, Iriano Yedija Petrus Awom

3pm AEDT / 11am WIB

Asia Pacific Artistic Research Network Meeting: convened by Dr Danny Butt (University of Melbourne) and Dr Kurniawan Adi Saputro (Indonesian Institute of the Arts Yogyakarta)
Presentations by practitioners, researchers and organisers in the region. Interested attendees (presenting or non-presenting participants) should register here to receive an invitation.

A First Peoples Research Forum will take place at 3.15pm AEDT/ 11.15am WIB on Friday 6th November convened by Dr Léuli Eshrāghi (Sāmoa). This session will focus on strengthening connections and sharing artistic research among First Peoples of Asia and of the Great Ocean Basin/Pacific. This is a closed session only for people who identify as and are claimed by Indigenous communities spanning these regions. Please select ‘I plan to attend the First Peoples forum’ on APARN Meeting form to register.

* Schedule is correct as of 21st October 2020 – registered guests will be informed of any changes.