Mar 14–May 18, 2008

Re Asia

Exhibition, Films, Literature, Dance, Conference, Workshops

From Dubai to Vladivostok, a new cultural cartography is taking shape. In daily urban life, pan-Asiatic influences can be seen and felt everywhere. The House of World Cultures is taking a look at the new and different pictures of Asia currently being developed by contemporary artists the world over: in an exhibition, films, a literature festival, dance theatre and much more besides.

The economic and cultural explosion in Asia is increasingly challenging the dominance of Euro-centric perspectives. This is true, for instance, of the comparison between modernity and tradition. For a long time, all that counted as modern in the West were cultural products that completely re-invented themselves. Western modernity has always seen itself in terms of an either/or: either modern or backward. What pictures and stories are created when artists open themselves up to regional traditions as they search for new answers to questions relating to the present?

Global networking is creating relationships between local and global phenomena and forging hitherto unforeseeable constellations. In the globalised culture business, art often loses its contour. Without a context it becomes depoliticised. Countering this trend, Re Asia views regional points of reference in a political context, in which it is always a question of how human beings deal with transformations taking place in the present.

Under the heading Re-Imagining Asia, an exhibition, a conference and a film series will examine the images use to re-invent Asia and the way in which the post-colonial production of knowledge is challenging Euro-centric concepts of art. The curators, Wu Hung and Shaheen Merali, are both established experts of the new Asian arts scene. The paths Asian epics have pursued to the present will be the theme of the literature festival Avatar: Asia's narrators curated by writer Ilija Trojanow. With his project, The Abduction of Sita, choreographer Joachim Schlömer explores new forms of narrating and interpreting traditional material.