All posts filed under: Lecture Series on Transculturality

Creative Migration: ‘to emigrate inwardly’

Lecturer by Ouyang-Yu
Author, Melbourne and Shanghai

‘Migration for Good, for an Eternal Étranger’, a topic Ouyang Yu will be talking about in which he’ll describe his experience as an Australian citizen living and teaching in China where he was born, how his writings are censored in both China and Australia, for the similar reasons of unmarketability, and how he lives as a poet and novelist writing in two languages in two countries, with English unpublishable in China and Chinese unpublishable in Australia, or only to a very limited degree.

Cultural Identity in the World Today

Lecture by Gordon Mathews
Professor of anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong

Who are we? Today two contradictory discourses shape our cultural identities, those of the state and of the market. The state tells us that we should love our country, while the market tells us that we should love money and choice. Both of these forces are based on lies, but because we are immersed in these discourses, we cannot easily see this. Hong Kong is unusual in the world, in that it has long been based not on the discourse of the state, but only on that of the market.

Grass Stage’s Route to Social Theatre

Lecture by Zhao Chuan
Writer, art critic, curator and theatre director

“The stage is a small world, and the world is a big stage”- how does reality unveil drama every day and make it impossible for us to stay out of social theatre? Grass Stage is a theatre collective founded in spring 2005. Under the direction of Zhao Chuan—writer, curator and theater director, it has put on a number of programs and performances which steadily grew in influence and acclaim. The members of Grass Stage encourage ordinary persons to enter the theater to create a social theater with a rich social conscience.

Tracing Hong Kong Urban Space in the 1950s through the Cinema

Lecturer by Kenneth Ip Shu Kei
Chair School of Film and Television HKAPA

There were two kinds of cinema in Hong Kong in the 1950s, the Cantonese cinema which catered more to the grass-root population, and the Mandarin cinema which found its audience mostly among the middle class. Both cinemas serve as a mirror to the many social problems facing the colony after WWII. The lecture attempts to look at the division of urban space, particularly the housing problem, in that decade via a few outstanding and representative cinematic works.

Non-essentialist hybridization – Now you see me, now you don’t.

Lecture by Frank Vigneron
Director of MA program in Fine Art, Chinese University of Hong Kong

After a recapitulation of the notions of ‘‘East’’ and ‘‘West’’ in the work of Edward Said and the kind of problems they have generated in the evaluation of art in Hong Kong (illustrated with some examples of two kinds of artwork using concepts and visuals from Euro-America and China), the process of hybridization is then presented as the way in which a culture will transform into something new. The question is therefore to establish what can be called a hybrid.

Imaginary Identity: The Fake Formosan George Psalmanaazaar

Lecture by Lin Hongjohn
Curator and Chairperson of Fine Arts Dep, Taipei National University of the Arts, Taiwan

In 1703 the high society of London there appeared George Psalmanaazaar who claimed himself a Formosan to be abducted by a Christian missionary. In his book, An Historical and Geographical Description of Formosa (1704) , described Formosa to be a country of abundant resources, governed by a Japanese ruler. In this fictive book, Formosan people was almost half-naked, only wearing silver plates over their private parts. Horses, camels, and elephants were domesticated for transportation. One of the high peaks of the book was that every year Formosans sacrificed the eldest sons to their gods, and even in the second edition (1705), Formosan were exaggerated as cannibals, who ate those were sacrificed and executed. Being a celebrity of his exotic oriental identity and feted by all the literary and philosophical lions of London, Psalmanaazaar were even invited to teach Formosan in Oxford University. Psalmanaazaar was the beau monde in the celebrities of London.

Transcultural Encounters, Transnational Feminisms: Women Media Activists and the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong

Lecturer by Gina Marchetti
Professor at the Department of Comparative Literature, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s 2014 Umbrella Movement, calling for a more open procedure for vetting candidates for its first exercise in universal suffrage in the election of its Chief Executive in 2017, does not have an explicit “feminist” agenda. However, initial research shows that over fifty percent of participants in the movement are female. Although underrepresented in visible leadership roles and in media reports on the demonstrations, women have played an essential part in all aspects of the movement. Moreover, they suffered from sexual harassment by counter-demonstrators intent on intimidating them and infringing on their right to public assembly. …

Cosmopolitan Rhapsody – Transcultural Tendencies in the Music Video Genre

Lecture by Prof. Jörg Scheller
Curator and Head of BA Photography, Zurich University of the Arts, Switzerland

In 1995, Lev Manovich wrote: „The genre of music video has been a laboratory“. While Manovich dealt with music videos as a „constantly expanding textbook for digital cinema“, this talk will focus on transcultural aesthetics, symbols, and narratives in the audiovisual laboratories of pop culture – from sophisticated to decidedly non-sophisticated ones, from underground to mainstream, from American heavy metal to Ghanaian gospel porn rap. In place of an overview, the genre itself, this hybrid of various media – film, music, text –, will be portrayed as a genius loci for transculturality.

Transculturality in the Arts

Lecture by Roger M. Buergel
Curator; Curator Documenta 12, Director Johan Jacobs Museum Zurich

The migration of form
Certain things can be regarded as prisms in which the world reveals itself in the play of their global refractions. Seventeenth-century Persian ceramics, for instance, which imitate Chinese porcelain. Or the „Black Madonnas“ that travelled to Haiti with Polish mercenaries at the end of the 18th century.
Objects like these need to be regarded in a way that places less emphasis on their discreteness than on their place in the design of things: they are parts of a historical and political network of relations. This relational network – a tableau comprising colonial wars, Oriental fantasies, a genuine love of special items and trading monopolies – has still to be examined in depth.

Artist – Subject – Politics

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Jörg Huber

Cultural Theory
One of the most unsettling challenge in the experience of transculturality is the task of self-awareness. As a consequence quite a number of fundamental questions and problems arise concerning the terms and phenomenon of the individual, subject, person, artist or author… in the context of global politics. The lecture will expose some aspects and questions as “the subject between west and east”; “the self and identity”; “the individual, power and politics”; “the artist as a migrant” etc.