UPDATE: [Graduate] Spectacle East Asia: Translocation, Publicity, and Counterpublics

full name / name of organization: 
Godfre Leung

Spectacle East Asia: Translocation, Publicity, and Counterpublics

The Graduate Program in Visual and Cultural Studies and the Global East
Asia: Media, Popular Culture, and the Pacific Century Humanities Project
at the University of Rochester invite submissions for an
interdisciplinary graduate conference on Saturday, April 11, 2009. The
keynote address will be delivered by the curator and critic Okwui
Enwezor. Professor Enwezor is dean of academic affairs at the San
Francisco Art Institute, adjunct curator at the International Center of
Photography in New York, and has served as the artistic director of the
Second Johannesburg Biennale in South Africa, Documenta 11 in Kassel,
Germany,the 2nd Biennial of Seville in Spain, and most recently, the 2008
Gwangju Biennale in South Korea.

In East Asia, the year 2008 was marked by large-scale cultural
spectacles: from the Beijing Olympics to contemporary art biennales and
triennials in Taipei, Gwangju, Yokohama, Shanghai, Busan, Seoul, and
Guangzhou. Each of these events reflected the local, national, and global
points of production, dissemination, and reception that characterize
spectacle in East Asia in the 21st century. The various degrees to which
nation-states have been involved in orchestrating these events and the
multifacetedness of public responses to and experiences of these
spectacles call for a critical examination of the formation of publics
and counterpublics encouraged, if not produced by, these events. This
discussion, we contend, begins from looking beyond the long-held binary
between oppressive state power and oppositional political resistance that
has come to obscure the complexity of the various and competing trans-
national cultural and political agendas advanced in the East Asian public

This conference aims to expand the traditional understanding of the
public as constituted by print culture (articulated by Jürgen Habermas
and Benedict Anderson, among others), by emphasizing "the poetic
functions of both language and corporeal expressivity" in shaping publics
(Michael Warner, Publics and Counterpublics). The focus on spaces of
performativity â€" including but certainly not limited to print culture â€"as
the site from which publics and counterpublics arise requires reflection
on multiple forms of spectacle, such as public demonstrations, cyber
space, film, video, performance, and other cultural practices.

Papers may include a theoretical model for how public and counterpublic
discourses may emerge in the 21st century and/or analyses on visual and
cultural production that speak to the notion of spectacle and/or
publicity in the sociopolitical, economic, or cultural contexts of East
Asia. The conference is open but not limited to original scholarship in
the following areas:

· International art biennials, film festivals, and sporting events as
· Politics of the spectacle in its local, national, and global contexts
· Public demonstrations as spectacle or counter-spectacle (the May 18
Gwangju Uprising in South Korea in 1980, the June Fourth Movement in
China in 1989, the candlelight vigil demonstrations against U.S. beef
import in South Korea in 2008, the protests against the Beijing Olympic
torch relay, etc.)
· Integration of art and activism
· Application of Internet, virtual communities, and new communication
technologies (cell phone camera, web blogs, youtube, social network
service, etc.) in forming public/counterpublic spheres
· Issues of techno-nationalism and netizenry
· East Asian subcultures (Otaku, QQ groups, migrant labor literature,
outdoor exercise gathering, underground church, underground music,
Internet Café and online game cultures, etc.)
· New social classes formed by forces of globalization ("Freeters and
Neets," migrant workers, etc.)
· "Independent" or "underground" filmmaking and distribution (documentary
films, queer films, home videos, pornography, etc.)
· Exchange of cultural products within East Asia and current shifts in
their production and reception (movie or soap drama remakes, cross-media
adaptation of Manga to films, Hallyu the "Korean Wave," collaboration and
co-production among auteurs from different countries, transnational
funding sources, etc.)

Key words: spectacle, public, counterpublic, transnational identification

The peer-reviewed electronic journal In Visible Culture plans to publish
the conference proceedings in its Spring 2010 issue

We also encourage artists to send in presentations of art projects
related to these themes. We are especially interested in video work.

Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words with a CV by Februrary
7th, 2009 to Godfre Leung and Sohl Lee (gleung_at_mail.rochester.edu and
sohl.lee_at_gmail.com). Authors will be informed of the organizing
committee's decision in mid-to-late February.

The Spectacle East Asia conference is co-sponsored by the Graduate
Program in Visual and Cultural Studies and the Global East Asia
Humanities Project.

For more information, please visit the Humanities Project website:

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Received on Sat Jan 17 2009 - 16:20:44 EST