In this seminar, David Teh gives artistic mobility a discrete history with reference to the contemporary art of Thailand, a nation on edge after decades of sovereign insecurity, economic boom and bust, and constitutional meltdown. While Thai artists reflect these tribulations in their work, since the 1990s many have downplayed their identity and become conspicuously mobile. What can their excursions tell us about the transnationalism of contemporary art? Their mobility allows them to dodge local limitations, but it also recalls a much older spatial imaginary, a worldliness that is no symptom of art’s globalisation but a condition of its possibility.
Teh’s paper is followed by a response from May Adadol Ingawanij. The subsequent panel discussion is chaired by Lucy Steeds.
May Adadol Ingawanij is a moving image theorist and curator. She is currently writing a book titled Animistic Cinema: Moving Image Performance and Ritual in Thailand. Her publications include Long Walk to Life: the Films of Lav Diaz (2015); Animism and the Performative Realist Cinema of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, (2013). May's curatorial projects include Lav Diaz Journeys (London, 2017), and Attachments and Unknowns (Phnom Penh, 2017). She teaches at CREAM, University of Westminster.
Lucy Steeds is Reader in Art Theory and Exhibition Histories at Central Saint Martins (CSM), University of the Arts London (UAL). She is Senior Research Fellow for Afterall at CSM - leading on the Exhibition Histories strand - and she teaches on the MRes Art: Exhibition Studies course. Her recent books include The Curatorial Conundrum (co-edited with Paul O’Neill and Mick Wilson), MIT Press, 2016; and Exhibition (for the Documents of Contemporary Art series), Whitechapel Gallery and MIT Press, 2014.
David Teh is a curator and researcher based at the National University of Singapore. His essays have appeared in Afterall Journal, Third Text, ARTMargins and Theory, Culture and Society, and his book Thai Art: Currencies of the Contemporary was published this year by MIT Press. His most recent curatorial project, Misfits: Pages from a loose-leaf modernity, is showing at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin until 3 July.
Tate Research Centre: Asia has been established with generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. In association with Afterall, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London.