contested modernities

exhibition opening

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On 10 September 2021, the exhibition Contested Modernities. Postcolonial Architecture in Southeast Asia opened its doors at Haus der Statistik in Berlin. Held from 10 September to 24 October 2021, the exhibition shed light onto different perspectives of postcolonial architecture in Southeast Asia with contributions from Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Singapore, and Germany.

In 2019, five curatorial teams in Phnom Penh, Jakarta, Yangon, and Singapore dealt in different ways with the significance of local architectural modernism through exhibitions and events. The show at Haus der Statistik brought this discourse on Southeast Asian modernism to Berlin, where astonishingly similar discussions are currently being held about the architectural heritage of modernism. These contributions are supplemented by a look at the role of the two German states in the modernization process of Southeast Asia during the Cold War.

The opening event kicked off with greetings and talks by the artistic directors with Gabriele Kautz, German Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (BMI); Dr. Torsten Wöhlert, State Secretary for Culture, Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe; Laurence Bay, Ambassador of the Republic of Singapore in Berlin; Hannan Hadi, Counsellor Press, Social and Cultural Affairs, Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Berlin; and Nina Peters, ZUsammenKUNFT Berlin eG/Haus der Statistik.

Guests were able to explore the exhibition until late into the evening. In front of the building, DJ Boris entertained them with the sound of contemporary Southeast Asian modern music from his large record collection. Now we warmly look back on that inspirational exchange with our visitors and the 12 guided tours that brought together a diverse public from around the world, both visitors to Berlin and residents alike.

A big thank you goes out to all contributors, supporters, visitors, and friends. It was a true pleasure to be able to share this exhibition at Haus der Statistik!