Symposium: Ghosts and Spectres – Shadows of History. On the occasion of the Four-Year Anniversary of NTU CCA Singapore


Saturday, 28 October 2017, 9.30am – 8.00pm

Symposium: Ghosts and Spectres – Shadows of History

On the occasion of the Four-Year Anniversary of NTU CCA Singapore

The Single Screen, Block 43 Malan Road, Gillman Barracks

Admission fee S$35. Free for NTU students.

Register at symposium-ghosts-and-spectres.peatix.com

This symposium gathers into conversation the artists in the exhibition Ghosts and Spectres – Shadows of History as well as curators and scholars from the region. The presented artworks serve as points of departure to generate a discussion on muted histories and legacies, as they cast light upon past events that, although largely suppressed, still impact society today, particularly in terms of power structures, corruption, and repression of social freedom. The role of the moving image—the medium used by the four exhibiting artists—will be analysed to demonstrate how it reveals as much as it conceals past traumas that evade representation. Divided into two sessions, the symposium explores deeper the artists’ processes and approaches through structured conversations consisting of lectures, presentations, and moderated discussions.

The focus will be on the sources of artistic inspiration and motivation, the constructions and contestation of narratives and identities, as well as the moving image as a medium.
Ho Tzu Nyen, Nguyen Trinh Thi, and Park Chan-kyong will expand on the various historical events they approach, the specific socio-political contexts that feed into their work, and the different strategies applied to revive collective memory. The lectures by curators Dr June Yap and Hyunjin Kim, as well as the keynote lectures by Dr Clare Veal and Professor Kenneth Dean, aim to articulate the complicated relations within the region during the Cold War in Asia.

The symposium will close with a performance by Ho Tzu Nyen, in collaboration with Bani Haykal, followed by NTU CCA Singapore’s 4th anniversary celebrations.

Session I: Shadows of History

Chaired by Dr Roger Nelson, curator and art historian, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, School of Art Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), and NTU CCA Singapore

Dedicated to the uncovering of neglected histories, this session will look at the construction of historical narratives and their role in reflecting social, political, and cultural conditions. Occluded by the propagation of progress and nation building, what has been left out and rendered unspeakable in the region’s bid to establish national identities and political autonomy? Referencing the works of Ho Tzu Nyen and Nguyen Trinh Thi, this session traces post-war and Cold War legacies in Asia, and investigates their lingering spectres.

Session II: Ghosts and Spectres

Chaired by Dr David Teh, researcher and curator, Assistant Professor, Department of English Language and Literature, National University of Singapore (NUS)

This session deals with notions of ghosts and spectres as allegories of historical moments and dreamlike realities. Embedded in myths and folklore, what roles do they play in constructing an understanding of the past and in reflecting socio-political circumstances? How do cinematic works engage their medium-specificity in a play of historical phantoms and repressed collective memories, to create a language for portraying trauma, loss, dreams, and nightmares?


10.00 – 10.10am
Welcome address by Ute Meta Bauer, Founding Director, NTU CCA Singapore and Professor, School of Art, Design and Media (ADM)

10.10 – 11.10am
Keynote Lecture: “The Art of Uncertainty”
Dr May Adadol Ingawanij, curator and moving image theorist, University of Westminster, London

Session I: Shadows of History

11.10am – 1.10pm
Lecture: “In the Interest of Time”
Dr June Yap, Director of Curatorial Programmes and Publications, Singapore Art Museum

Presentation: “On distances between an Artist and her Subjects”
Artist Nguyen Trinh Thi

Presentation: “Recycled Images: ‘The Critical Dictionary of Southeast Asia’ ”
Artist Ho Tzu Nyen

In Conversation: Dr Roger Nelson with Ho Tzu Nyen, Nguyen Trinh Thi, and Dr June Yap

1.30 – 2.00pm
Exhibition Tour of Ghosts and Spectres – Shadows of History
Khim Ong, co-curator and Deputy Director, Curatorial Programmes, NTU CCA Singapore

Session II: Ghosts and Spectres

2.30 – 4.30pm
Lecture: “Contested Modernity and the Image of History in East Asia”
Hyunjin Kim, curator, writer, and researcher

Presentation: “Colonial Unheimlich”
Artist Park Chan-kyong

Presentation: “The Spectre of Photography in the works of Apichatpong Weerasethakul”
Dr Clare Veal, art historian, Lecturer, MA Asian Art Histories, LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore

4.30 – 5.30pm
Closing Keynote Lecture by Professor Kenneth Dean, Head, Department of Chinese Studies, NUS

5.45 – 6.30pm
Book Launch: Thai Art: Currencies of the Contemporary (MIT Press, 2017)
Introduction by author, David Teh, in conversation with Dr May Adadol Ingawanij and Dr Roger Nelson

7.00 – 8.00pm
The Critical Dictionary of Southeast Asia, Volume 4: V for Voice
Performance by artists Ho Tzu Nyen and Bani Haykal



Professor Ute Meta Bauer (Germany/Singapore) is the Founding Director of the NTU CCA Singapore, and Professor at the School of Art, Design and Media, NTU, and was prior Associate Professor (2005-12) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States, where she served as the Founding Director of the MIT Program in Art, Culture, and Technology. Professor Bauer is a curator for contemporary art, film, video, and sound, with a focus on transdisciplinary formats. Since 2015 she is an expedition leader of TBA21 Academy The Current exploring Pacific Archipelagos and littorals that are most impacted by climate change and human interventions in their environments.

Professor Kenneth Dean (Canada/Singapore) is Head of Chinese Studies Department at the National University of Singapore. His research interests include Chinese religions, temples, and Daoist studies. He received his BA in Chinese Studies from Brown University and PhD in Asian Studies from Stanford University, and has taught at McGill University, where he was Director of the Centre for East Asian Research. Dean has been published widely and is the author of numerous books on Daoism and Chinese religions. He has produced a documentary, Bored in Heaven (2010), about ritual celebrations around Chinese New Year in Southeast China.

Bani Haykal (Singapore) experiments with text and music. As an artist, composer, and musician, Haykal considers music (making / processes) as a metaphor for cybernetics and his projects revolve around modes of interfacing and interaction in feedback / feedforward mechanisms. He is a member of b-quartet and Soundpainting ensemble Erik Satay & The Kampong Arkestra. Manifestations of his research culminate into works of various forms encompassing installation, poetry, and performance. In his capacity as a collaborator and a soloist, Haykal has participated in festivals including Media/Art Kitchen (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Japan), Liquid Architecture, and Singapore International Festival of Arts (Singapore), among others. His current project is an online public repository of canned laughter and applause based on research, which looks into the histories of synthesisers relating to notions of artificiality.

Ho Tzu Nyen (Singapore) makes films, videos, and theatrical performances out of historical and philosophical texts and artefacts. His work has been presented at major museums and institutions worldwide including the Guggenheim Museum (Bilbao, 2015; New York, 2013), DAAD Galerie, Berlin (2015), Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2012), and Tate Modern, London (2010). In 2011, Ho represented Singapore at the Venice Biennale.

Dr May Adadol Ingawanij (Thailand/United Kingdom) is a moving image theorist, teacher, and curator, and co-director of the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM), University of Westminster. She is currently writing a book titled Animistic Cinema: Moving Image Performance and Ritual in Thailand. Her publications include Exhibiting Lav Diaz’s Long Films: Currencies of Circulation and Spectatorship (2017); Nguyen Trinh Thi’s Essay Films (forthcoming); Animism and the Performative Realist Cinema of Apichatpong Weerasethakul (2013). May's curatorial projects include Lav Diaz Journeys (London, 2017), and On Attachments and Unknowns (Phnom Penh, 2017).

Hyunjin Kim (South Korea) is a curator, writer, and researcher, currently teaching at R.A.T School, Seoul. She is an advisor of Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong. Her recent curatorial and interdisciplinary practices explore disparate points of regional modernity, in various forms and productions. She was Director at Arko Art Center, Seoul (2014-2015), and a co-curator of 7th Gwangju Biennale (2008). She curated numerous exhibitions and projects including Tradition (Un)Realized, Arko Art Center, Seoul (2014); Perspective Strikes Back, L’appartement22, Rabat (2010); Plug-In#3-Undeclared Crowd, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2006), and published extensively on contemporary artists including Park Chan-kyong (Colossal Roots, Tradition-Reality and Contestation of Asian Modernity in Flash Art).

Khim Ong (Singapore) is Deputy Director, Curatorial Programmes, NTU CCA Singapore. Prior, she worked as independent curator and held curatorial positions at the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, LASALLE, and Osage Gallery, Hong Kong. She was Manager, Sector Development (Visual Arts), at the National Arts Council during which she contributed to conceptualising NTU CCA Singapore. She co-curated with Founding Director Ute Meta Bauer the exhibitions Incomplete Urbanism: Attempts of Critical Spatial Practice (2016), Amar Kanwar: The Sovereign Forest (2016), and Yang Fudong: Incidental Scripts (2014). Selected curatorial projects include the Southeast Asia Platform, Art Stage Singapore (2015), and Landscape Memories, Louis Vuitton Espace, Singapore (2013).

Dr Roger Nelson (Australia/Singapore) is an art historian and curator, specialized in the modern and contemporary arts of Cambodia and the region. He joined NTU ADM and NTU CCA Singapore as a Postdoctoral Fellow in September 2017. Prior he pursued his PhD research in Phnom Penh. Nelson is a co-founding co-editor of Southeast of Now: Directions in Contemporary and Modern Art in Asia, a journal published by NUS Press. He co-convened Gender in Southeast Asian Art Histories, an international symposium at the University of Sydney (2017).

Nguyen Trinh Thi (Vietnam) is a Hanoi-based moving image artist. Her diverse practice, transcending the boundaries between cinema, documentary, and performance, has consistently engaged with memory and history. Her works have been shown at international festivals and art exhibitions including Jeu de Paume, Paris (2015–16); CAPC musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux (2015); the Lyon Biennale (2015); Asian Art Biennial, Taichung (2015); Fukuoka Asian Art Triennial (2014); and Singapore Biennale (2013). Nguyen is founder and director of Doclab, Hanoi, an independent centre for documentary and experimental films and video art.

Park Chan-kyong (South Korea) is a media artist, film director, and writer. His work often engages with histories and politics of representation by evoking traditional cultures and ritualistic practices. Park’s major works include Citizen’s Forest (2016), Manshin: Ten Thousand Spirits(2013), the award-winning Night Fishing (2011, co-directed with Park Chan-wook), Sindoan (2008), Power Passage (2004–07), and Sets (2000). Park served as Artistic Director of SeMA Biennale Mediacity Seoul in 2014.

Dr David Teh (Australia/Singapore) is a researcher based at the National University of Singapore and is the director of Future Perfect, a gallery and project platform in Singapore. His curatorial projects have included TRANSMISSION, Jim Thompson Art Center, Bangkok (2014), Video Vortex #7, Yogyakarta (2011), Unreal Asia, 55. Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen (2009), The More Things Change, 5th Bangkok Experimental Film Festival (2008), and Platform (2006). His writings have appeared in Third Text, Afterall, Theory Culture & Society, LEAP, Aan Journal and The Bangkok Post. His new book, Thai Art: Currencies of the Contemporary was published in 2017 by MIT Press.

Dr Clare Veal (Australia/Singapore) is a lecturer in the MA Asian Art Histories programme at LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore. She undertakes research on Southeast Asian photography, art and visual culture, with a particular focus on Thailand. She received her PhD from the Department of Art History and Film Studies at the University of Sydney for her thesis entitled Thainess Framed: Photography and Thai Identity, 1946-2010. Veal was the sub-editor for Asian Art for the Routledge Encyclopaedia of Modernism (2016) and has contributed papers to a number of publications, including Journal of Aesthetics and Culture and Trans-Asia Photography Review.

Dr June Yap (Singapore) is Director of Curatorial Programmes and Publications at Singapore Art Museum. Selected curatorial projects include No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia for the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative, The Cloud of Unknowing by artist Ho Tzu Nyen at the 54th Venice Biennale, The Future of Exhibition: It Feels Like I’ve Been Here Before, Institute of Contemporary Arts, Singapore, Das Paradies ist Anderswo/ Paradise is Elsewhere, IFA, Germany, and Bound for Glory, NUS Museum. She is the author of Retrospective: A Historiographical Aesthetic in Contemporary Singapore and Malaysia (2016).

  • The event description was updated. Diff#288764 2017-10-23 03:19:06
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Sat Oct 28, 2017
9:30 AM - 8:00 PM SGT
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The Single Screen, Block 43 Malan Road, Gillman Barracks
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The Single Screen, Block 43 Malan Road, Gillman Barracks Singapore
NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore

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