Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts

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Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts
Open call for Workshop_Scenography of “the People” Being Seen Speaking at the Ends of Liberalism

Open call for Workshop

Scenography of “the People”

Being Seen Speaking at the Ends of Liberalism


Scenography of “the People”: Being Seen Speaking at the Ends of Liberalism is a study group led by artist Ho Rui An that will unfold over the course of four weeks in Taipei between September to October 2019. Setting Taiwan's reputation as the supposed "liberal bastion" of Asia against the so-called crisis of liberalism in most parts of the world today, it attends to the re-emergence of “the people” as a subject of contemporary political discourse—may it be as a reaffirmation of the self-possessive individual of liberal democracy, a populist claim to social totality or a nostalgic recuperation of the Maoist “mass line”.


The differentiation of these figurations of “the people” along ideological and geopolitical lines belies a remarkable consistency in the ways speech, historically the primary means through which representation takes place in the political sphere, is specularised through a newly technomediatised public sphere. Within this visual economy of speech that anthropologist Rosalind C. Morris calls the New Öffentlichkeit, “being seen speaking” displaces “having a voice” as the primary expression of political agency, in turn transforming the speaking body into a fetish sign of ideology. Drawing from a collection of images amassed by the artist during his research, the study group takes these images as the basis for approaching a scenography of “the people” organised around a speech-representation-power nexus (see diagram), within which power accrues to “being seen speaking” as much as to the likewise specularised conditions of “being seen silenced” and “being seen listening”.


Each session of the study group takes this schema as a starting point for its scenographic critique upon specific geopolitical contexts within East and Southeast Asia, namely Taiwan, China, Singapore and Thailand, while allowing affinities and disjunctures to emerge between them. Each session will involve close reading of selected texts (distributed to all participants beforehand), examination of visual material and discussion moderated by the artist, on occasion in collaboration with invited speakers. The final session will take the form of a filmed public presentation, during which participants will present short texts they have written addressing an image or set of images of their choice. The texts and the recording of the presentations will respectively serve as the basis of an installation and a video that will be exhibited at the Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts for an exhibition running until January 2020.


The study group will be conducted in both English and Mandarin Chinese. Participation is limited only to selected applicants who are able to attend all sessions. To apply, please email linda.sun.kdmofa19@gmail.com with your name, email, phone number and a short paragraph introducing yourself and explaining your interest in the study group. Applications can be written in either English or Chinese. Please send in your applications by 15 September 2019.


Programme outline:





Ho Rui An is an artist and writer working in the intersections of contemporary art, cinema, performance and theory. Working primarily across the mediums of lecture, essay and film, he investigates the ways by which images are produced, circulate and disappear within contexts of globalism and governance. In 2018, he was a fellow of the DAAD Berliner Künstlerprogramm.


Zian Chen is curator and writer currently based in Beijing. He has recently co-curated exhibitions in Long March Space, Beijing and Guangdong Times Museum, Guangzhou, as well as an ongoing study program Planet Marx for Long March Project in Beijing.


Judha Su writes, edits, and collaborates with/in shifting boundaries of art, knowledge production, and materialist condition. Her ongoing research explores possible convergences of poetics and performance, of writing and speech. In Bangkok, she recently founded soi | ซอย, a platform for writing, editing, and publishing in the expanded field, aimed to conceive all widest and wildest potentialities through words, publications, and collaborations.