May Adadol Ingawanij | Center for Southeast Asian Studies Kyoto University

May Adadol Ingawanij

May Adadol Ingawanij
Research Departments・Position
Cross-regional Studies
Visiting Research Scholar
cinema, art history, curatorial practice, artistic research, Southeast Asia
Research Interests / Keywords
decentred theories and histories of cinematic arts, Southeast Asian contemporary art and artist moving image practices, avant-garde legacies in Southeast Asia

May Adadol Ingawanij

Animistic Medium: Cotntemporary Southeast Asian Artists Moving Image

Professor Ingawanij is working on her book project. Animistic Medium conceptualises a contemporary artistic praxis: Southeast Asian artists moving image. It pursues two related concerns: to understand the relationship between regional legacies of vanguardism and contemporary artistic practices, and to think about modalities of artistic agency creating Southeast Asian artists moving image. The artists studied are, primarily, Lav Diaz, Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Anocha Suwichakornpong, Nguyen Trinh Thi, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Ho Tzu Nyen, Kidlat Tahimik, Tuan Andrew Nguyen, and Riar Rizaldi.

Animistic Medium tries to understand what has become of the avant-garde’s aspiration to change life. It asks: What are the characteristics of contemporary Southeast Asian artists moving image? How are such artistic practices entangled with the failures and the aftermath of the region's historical vanguardism?

An increasingly common way to validate Southeast Asian contemporary art is to affirm artistic criticality, accompanied by the notion of the civic and transnational agency of the Southeast Asian contemporary artist. Yet such artistic practices tend to produce fables with oblique links political circumstances and legacies. The artists in the book tend to fabulate temporally heterogeneous worlds enlivened by beings of the deep past, the undead, spirits, and mythical creatures. They tend to reflexively dwell on the precarity of artistic subjectivity and expression, and to simultaneously ask what art can do and not-do. This is where the conceptualisation of Southeast Asian artists moving image as the making of animistic medium comes in. The book theorises the connection between regional contemporary art, legacies of vanguardism, and heuristics of Southeast Asian animism, through interrelating four research methods: criticism, conjunctural analysis, curatorial thinking, and storytelling. It theorises the entanglement of historical vanguardism and contemporary art via the proposition that that Southeast Asian artists moving image are practices that make animistic medium within circuits of global contemporary art. And it thinks the contradictions and potentialities of artistic expression and enunication by essaying the resonances between regional artistic agency and regional animism, defined as the praxis of agency of precarious beings in vast worlds of hierarchies and entanglements.