As a public closing event to the Encounters with Southeast Asian Modernism programme in 2019, the conference on the one hand picks up the curatorial concept of Housing Modernities and, on the other hand, brings together the threads of the projects developed in Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar and Singapore to conclude with the question: What can we learn from Modernism today?
Welcome and Introduction
Ute Meta Bauer, Founding Director, NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore, and Professor, NTU School of Art Design and Media
Sally Below, Moritz Henning, Christian Hiller, Eduard Kögel, Encounters with Southeast Asian Modernism, Berlin
From 1930s onwards, the Singapore Improvement Trust experimented with new housing patterns. With the new Republic after 1965, the thrust in public housing was a march towards modernity by eradication of traditional villages and the creation of modern living patterns to promote social and racial harmony. How can we understand the programme and what was its implication? What were the social impacts and modernist outlooks and what do they mean for society today?
“Evil Fruits” in the Garden City of Paradise
Wong Yunn Chii, Associate Professor, National University of Singapore
Wee H Koon, Assistant Professor, The University of Hongkong
Dwelling on an HDB Point Block
Weng Hin Ho, Studio Lapis, Singapore, Eunice Seng, Associate Professor and Chair of the Departmental Research Postgraduate Committee in Architecture at the University of Hong Kong
Shirley Surya, Curator for Design and Architecture, M+, Hong Kong
Wong Yunn Chii, Wee H Koon, Weng Hin Ho, Shirley Surya
Moderation: Puay-Peng Ho, Professor and Head of Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore
The starting point of the curators, artists, architects and scholars involved was to question culturally established narratives about modernity and to develop alternative perspectives. The curatorial approaches often went beyond current forms of mediating knowledge and stimulated emancipative learning processes. Thus, the exhibitions were interwoven with process-based participation projects.
In Phnom Penh, the architecture lab, a two-month public architecture and research studio, was integral part of the exhibition Folding Concrete by Lyno Vuth and Sereypagna Pen. Pwint, co-curator of the SEAM Space Yangon investigates the relationship between Modernism and architecture education in Myanmar. The exhibition Occupying Modernism, curated by Setiadi Sopandi and Avianti Armand, commissioned artists, authors and designers to appropriate the narrations of architectural icons in Jakarta with their personal means. In turn, the audience was invited to occupy the exhibition site itself. The seminar series From, by, and for whom? initiated by Grace Samboh and ruangrupa was based on an archive exhibition about the national narrative represented in dioramas. The podcasts developed in workshops by students of the gudskul resist this official narration and contextualize it with current political and private events.
This leads to the question, if modernist architecture and art, which was highly embedded in national and global political agendas of the last century, can be re-justified by curatorial means? And finally, the question of how can we narrate the history of modernity in such a way that it remains fruitful for today and the future.
Folding Concrete: Architecture Lab
Sereypagna Pen, Architect, urban researcher, The Vann Molyvann Project, Phnom Penh
Synthesis of Myanmar Modernity
Pwint, Professor, Deputy Head of Department of Architecture, Yangon Technological University
Avianti Armand, Architect, curator, architectural scholar, Jakarta
(Re)Producing fear and joy: From, by and for whom?
Grace Samboh, Curator, researcher, Hyphen, Yogyakarta, Jakarta
Moderation: Christian Hiller
Puay-Peng Ho, Shirley Surya, Grace Samboh, Avianti Armand, Moritz Henning
Moderation: Ute Meta Bauer, Eduard Kögel
NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore
Malan Rd, Gillman Barracks, Block 43, Singapore 109443
The conference will be held in English.