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Conference: “There is no such thing as documentary

26 Feb 2021, Fri 04:00 PM - 07:00 PM
27 Feb 2021, Sat 01:30 PM - 07:00 PM

As the concluding programme of the exhibition Trinh T. Minh-ha. Films. (17 October 2020 – 28 February 2021) at NTU CCA Singapore, this four-part conference brings together scholars and practitioners across filmic, anthropological and curatorial disciplines, addressing notions of multivocality, performativity, and truth in fiction, through Trinh’s practice as a filmmaker and theorist.

As Trinh wrote: “There is no such thing as documentary…The words will not ring true.” Both a response and homage to Trinh’s provocation, and at once a close but also an opening, the conference extends multiple threads of inquiry beyond the ontological frames presented in Trinh’s films, to further explore the theoretical parallels and proximities between arrangement and composition, territorialisation and deterritorisalisation, that underscore Trinh’s cinematic works.

Co-organised by Dr Erika Balsom (Canada/United Kingdom), Prof Ute Meta Bauer (Germany/Singapore), Dr Marc Glöde(Germany/Singapore), and Dr Ella Raidel (Austria/Singapore)

Presented in collaboration with King’s College London

Supported by NTU Centre for Liberal Arts and Social Sciences





Friday, 26 February 2021, 4.00 – 7.00pm (SGT)

Session 1: Speaking Nearby
Chaired by Dr Erika Balsom (Canada/United Kingdom), Reader, Film Studies, King’s College London (KCL)

This session will explore historical and contextual approaches to films and writings of Trinh T. Minh-ha, putting her work into dialogue with questions of intercultural cinema, the critique of documentary naturalism, and the relationship between film theory and film practice. In particular, speakers will think through how notions of “speaking nearby” and “speaking about” may serve as a lens through which to open broader considerations of the aesthetics, ethics, and politics of Trinh’s cross-disciplinary work.


4.00 – 4.10pm               Introduction

4.10 – 4.25pm               Welcome address by Prof Ute Meta Bauer

4.25 – 5.15pm               Keynote Lecture: Is there still no such thing as documentary? by Dr Erika Balsom

Some thirty years ago, Trinh wrote, “There is no such thing as documentary… The words will not ring true.” This presentation will explore the context and meaning of this declaration. With reference to Trinh’s What About China? (Part I of II, 2020–2021) and other recent works of experimental nonfiction, it will question how this notion resonates today, some thirty years after its original formulation. 

5.15 – 5.45pm               Break

5.45 – 6.15pm              Presentation: What about Foreigners? Or, How Far Away is Nearby? Notes about Harmony, Trinh T. Minh-ha’s What About China? and  Michelangelo Antonioni’s Chung Kuo, Cina by Prof Chris Berry (United Kingdom), Professor, Film Studies, KCL

This presentation draws on the juxtapositions between Trinh’s focus on harmony in What About China? (Part I of II, 2020–2021) and Michelangelo Antonioni’s very un-harmonious experiences with his 1972 film Chung Kuo, Cina, which was denounced by the Chinese government that had invited him to film in the country. The maintenance of a “harmonious society” (和谐社会) is an ancient Chinese ideal, much cited by the Chinese Communist Party in the twenty-first century. Was Antonioni’s film lacking in aesthetic harmony? Was Antonioni’s behaviour un-harmonious? Is Trinh’s famous “speaking alongside” a harmonious mode of filmmaking? What are some of the different ideas about harmony and the treatment of foreigners that might inform our understanding of these films?

6.15 – 6.45pm              Presentation: ‘About’ theory. About. by Dr Nicolas Helm-Grovas (Spain/United Kingdom), Lecturer, Film Studies, Education, KCL

‘About the cinema. About. The words will not ring true.’ In “Documentary Is/Not a Name,” Trinh asks: “How is one to cope with a “film theory” that can never theorise “about” film, but only with concepts that film raises in relation to concepts of other practices?” Whereas film theory is frequently understood as a form of metalanguage—as a systematic, explanatory, conceptual and/or speculative discourse that speaks about an object discourse, film—here it is precisely the relation of ‘aboutness’ that is criticised. This talk unpacks this objection to ‘aboutness’, arguing that it has both a political or ethical dimension, drawing on a Foucauldian critique of the disciplinary nature of speaking about, closely tied to Trinh’s critique of historic forms of documentary representation; and a conceptual or discursive dimension, based on a Barthesian critique of the distinction between science and literature from the standpoint of ‘writing’. Destabilising distinctions between theoretical discourse and artistic discourse, films and writing, theory and practice, what does this critique mean for the practice of film theory, and for the designation of certain films, including Trinh’s, as ‘theoretical’?

6.45 – 7.00pm              Response by Dr Daniel Mann (Israel/United Kingdom), Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, KCL



Saturday, 27 February 2021, 1.30 – 7.00pm (SGT)

Session 2: Filmic Interferences
Chaired by Dr Marc Glöde (Germany/Singapore), Assistant Professor, NTU School of Art, Design and Media

Filmic Interferences is a panel that will highlight the aspect of filmmaking from the perspective of contemporary filmmakers. It will address the changing role of categories like “documentary” and the increasing interferences that challenge these ideas. The presentations will take a closer look at the impact of forms and strategies from experimental film and discuss the impact on other filmic discourses such as visual anthropology, feminism or intercultural cinema. By taking the films of Trinh T. Minh-ha as a resonating point, the panel will investigate how these debates have created a development that has changed how we think through the filmic medium, how we think about film, and about filmic representation. Apart from aspects that are very closely related to the ideas of fact, fiction and narration, another focus will be directed towards the general frames of perception and discussion of film. 


1.30 – 2.00pm               Welcome

2.00 – 2.15pm               Introduction by Dr Marc Glöde

2.15 – 2.45pm               Presentation: Framing the Frame by Tan Pin Pin (Singapore), film director

In this presentation, Tan will speak about her film practice that now spans over twenty years. She will address the relationship between documentary and experimental film-making in her own work and how some of her filmic topics have oscillated between these fields. Apart from this journey through the formal and thematic aspects of her films, the presentation will delve into how specific institutional frames have created very different dynamics that have an impact on the general perception of the work. These raise the question: how do the works function in the different contexts, for example of the university, the museum, the cinema, or the festival, in society at large?

2.45 – 3.15pm              Presentation: Stories and Histories by Nguyễn Trinh Thi (Vietnam), artist and filmmaker

In this talk, Nguyễn will share her thoughts about her own filmic practice, addressing aspects of how the process of filmmaking connects with the process of remembering and critical reflection. Her work is always an engagement with socio-cultural environments and never shies away from a critical confrontation—either in relation to surrounding obstacles of society or in relation to the filmic form itself. She addresses these issues in her practice often by combining original footage gathered through extensive field research and found footage which complicates the distinctions between video art and documentary filmmaking. The outcomes of these meticulous compositions are always complex and multilayered renderings of Vietnam’s past and the continuing reverberations of historical events in the present. By highlighting some of these aspects in her works Nguyễn will offer a deeper insight into how this practice asks for alternative methods of accessing unwritten histories. 

3.15 – 3.30pm              Response by Dr David Teh (Australia/Singapore), Associate Professor, Department of English Language and Literature, NUS

3.30 – 3.45pm              Break


Session 3: Performing the Documents
Chaired by Dr Ella Raidel (Austria/Singapore), Assistant Professor, NTU ADM and WKWSCI

This panel attempts to define documents and performativity in filmmaking in terms of its methods, artistic processes and cultural political significance. To perform the documents means to take action to reveal their inner logic of cultural representation. Through the consideration of documents in relation to poetics, participation and activism it shows the way how colonial truth and knowledge are being constructed and how diasporic histories are experienced. Films become not only cultural-political texts, but also visual and acoustic apparatuses in making aware one’s origins and destinies.


3.45 – 4.00pm               Introduction by Dr Ella Raidel

4.00 – 4.30pm               Presentation: The Acoustics of the Archipelagic Imagination in Southeast Asian Artists’ Film, Dr Philippa Lovatt (Scotland), Lecturer, Film Studies, and Co-Director, Centre for Screen Cultures, University of St Andrews

How do we conceptualize films in relation? As we seek to trace the connections and affinities we see, hear, and feel across a regional cinema, what kinds of alternative cartographies (affective, aesthetic, cultural, or industrial) emerge? How do we think through and with the aesthetic practices of artists and filmmakers in a way that enables us to avoid both re-inscribing arbitrary lines across territories and disavowing the specific historic and lived conditions of the nation?  Drawing from Trinh T. Minh-ha’s writing on the acoustic experience of diaspora and Édouard Glissant on the poetics of relation, this talk will focus on Nguyễn Trinh Thi’s Everydays the Seventies (2018) and Shireen Seno’s Nervous Translation (2017), and will reflect on how we might consider regionality through the acoustic, affective, and emotional cartographies depicted in these works, both of which explore experiences of migration in and out of the region during the 1970s and 1980s.  

4.30 – 5.00pm             Presentation: Performative Documentary Practices from The Epistemological South by Rosalia Namsai Engchuan (Germany/Thailand), anthropologist and filmmaker

In a world where everything and nothing has changed¾in a state of ongoing coloniality of knowledge production in the aftermath of epistemicide¾this talk acts as a space to valorise and explore artistic epistemologies as openings towards other futures. Contemplating the echoes of Trinh’s seminal provocation of documentary’s indexicality with truth, the talk proposes a shift in the focus of research from objects of art towards artistic processes, through an ethnographic exploration of the processual, dialogical, social, and material nature of knowledge formation. Drawing from her own artistic practice as well as ongoing conversations with the artists Korakrit Arunanondchai, Stephanie Comilang and Cahyo Prayogo, Rosalia Namsai Engchuan’s presentation responds to Boaventura de Sousa Santos’ call for epistemologies of the South, unfolding other ways of learning and knowing, that performatively transcend modernity’s temporally-conceived, institutionalised, and normative divisions of (official) knowledge formation inherited from the colonial order.

5.00 – 5.15pm              Response by Silke Schmickl (Germany/Hong Kong), Curator

5.15 – 5.30pm              Break


Session 4: Reverberations—Spatialising the Temporal, the Sonic, and the Pictorial
Chaired by Prof Ute Meta Bauer (Germany/Singapore), Professor, NTU ADM and Founding Director, NTU CCA Singapore

Reverberation: the prolonging of a sound, a continuing effect. Taking the exhibition Trinh T. Minh-ha. Films. as its starting point, this panel session discusses the spatio-temporal resonances of Trinh’s cinematic works when curated in an exhibition setting. The panel also explores collaborative curatorial practices, expanding into the realms of research, programming, and production, and how the Trans-Institutional Partnership among NTU CCA Singapore, Rockbund Art Museum, Würtembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, and the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts enables ongoing reverberations of support for an artist’s work across borders and time while allowing for distinction and differentiation based on each organisation’s context and approach.


5.30 – 5.45pm               Introduction by Prof Ute Meta Bauer

5.45 – 6.15pm                Presentation: Textures by Larys Frogier (France/China), Director, Rockbund Art Museum

Frogier’s presentation is a sincere engagement to go along with the work of Trinh T. Minh-ha, being fully available to unfold multiple relations to in/visibility, opacity, sound/silence, time, displacement and locality. Rather than identifying Trinh as a filmmaker, theoretician, poet, musician, Frogier suggests that it is worthwhile to return to a simple question: how do the textures that surface through image, text and sound making in Trinh’s work make us come alive as people, institutions, and political subjects? How about considering poetry, music, cinema, and theory not only as artistic, intellectual or academic disciplines, but as fundamental acts of life? It further explores the possibilities of curating Trinh’s work as an art institution, sometimes in extremely challenging ideological contexts, in order to develop a vision that, instead of a display or programme, has more to do with the subtle but deep distillation of soul, intuition, and movement.

6.15 – 6.45pm              Presentation: Loops and Entries: Performing Film in Exhibition Formats by Iris Dressler (Germany), Co-director, Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart

Since the 1990s, Iris Dressler and Hans D. Christ have been working in close collaboration with diverse artists on different models of presenting film in the exhibition space. The loop as a mode of repetition and shifting, in particular the shifting of entry points and thus of narrative orders, plays a central role, as well as aspects of the choreography of movement, light, and sound, experiments with the juxtaposition of extreme divergent sizes or with open and closed spaces. Dressler will present a selection of these approaches in her talk.

6.45 – 7.00pm              Response by Dr Karin Oen (United States/Singapore), Deputy Director, Curatorial Programmes, NTU CCA Singapore




Dr Erika Balsom (Canada/United Kingdom) is Reader in Film Studies at King’s College London. She is the author of, most recently, After Uniqueness: A History of Film and Video Art in Circulation (2017) and An Oceanic Feeling: Cinema and the Sea (2018), and the co-editor of Artists’ Moving Image in Britain Since 1989 (2019). Alongside her academic work, she regularly writes criticism for publications including Artforum, 4Columns, and Cinema Scope, and co-curated the film programme “Shoreline Movements” for the 2020 Taipei Biennial. In 2017, she was awarded a Leverhulme Prize.

Prof Ute Meta Bauer (Germany/Singapore) is the Founding Director of the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore, a national research centre for contemporary art, and has been a tenured full professor at the School of Art, Design and Media since 2013. At the NTU CCA Singapore, Bauer has curated and co-curated The Posthuman City: Climates. Habitats. Environments (2019–20), Trees of Life: Knowledge in Material (2018), The Oceanic (2017–18), Tarek Atoui: The Ground: From the Land to the Sea (2018), Charles Lim Li Yong: SEA STATE (2016), and Allan Sekula: Fish Story, to be continued (2015). In 2015, she and Paul Ha, director of the MIT List Centre for Visual Art, co-curated Joan Jonas’ works for the US Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale; the exhibition received a Special Mention in the juried awards for national pavilions. Bauer has edited numerous publications, including The Impossibility of Mapping (Urban Asia) (NTU CCA Singapore and World Scientific Publishing, 2020), Place.Labour.Capital. (NTU CCA Singapore and Mousse Publishing, 2018), and Tomás Saraceno: Arachnid Orchestra. Jam Sessions (NTU CCA Singapore, 2017).

Prof Chris Berry (United Kingdom) is Professor of Film Studies at King’s College London. His academic research is grounded in work on Chinese-language cinemas and other Chinese-language screen-based media, as well as work from neighbouring countries. His publications include: (edited with Lu Xinyu and Lisa Rofel), The New Chinese Documentary Film Movement: For the Public Record(Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2010); and (edited with Kim Soyoung and Lynn Spigel), Electronic Elsewheres: Media, Technology, and Social Space (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010).

Iris Dressler (Germany) is with Hans D. Christ the director of the Württembergischer Kunstverein (WKV) in Stuttgart since 2005. One of her focuses is on the exploration of collaborative, transcultural and transdisciplinary practices of curating. In 2019 Dressler and Christ were the artistic directors of the Bergen Assmebly, a triennial for contemporary arts in Norway. At the Kunstverein she presented solo exhibitions of artists such as Lorenza Böttner (curated by Paul B. Preciado), Imogen Stidworthy (2018), Alexander Kluge (2020 and 2017), Ines Doujak (2016), Pedro G. Romero (2012), Teresa Burga (2011, curated by Miguel Lopez and Emilio Tarazona), Michaël Borremans (2011), Daniel G. Andújar (2008), Anna Oppermann (2007, curated by Ute Vorkoeper), or Stan Douglas (2007). Recent group exhibitions include Actually, the Dead Are Not Dead (since 2019 in Bergen and Stuttgart with various constellations of co-curators), 50 Years after 50 Year of the Bauhaus (2018), Tito’s Bunker (2017, with Biennial of Contemporary Art Sarajevo, at Tito’s Bunker in Konjic and WKV), The Beast and the Sovereign (2016, with MACBA, Paul B. Preciado and Valentín Roma with at WKV and MACBA) or Acts of Voicing (2012, with a core group of twelve cocurators). Dressler teaches regularly at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Stuttgart and elsewhere. She largely published texts on contemporary art and its political and theoretical contexts. In 1996 she founded with Hans D. Christ the Hartware Medienkunstverein, which they directed till 2004.

Rosalia Namsai Engchuan (Germany/Thailand) is a social anthropologist and filmmaker based between Berlin and Southeast Asia. Her PhD research at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, Germany looks at practices of community filmmaking in Indonesia, investigating how cinematic epistemologies produce and socialize knowledges. Her latest video work Complicated Happiness is a speculative research, pivoting around the Thai Park in Berlin, that aims to undo the underlying structures of colonialism, race, gender and class that shape the production of our worlds. Rosalia curates screenings and dialogical encounters with a focus on independent and experimental works from locales of the ‘epistemological’ South, often in collaboration with the Berlin based collective un.thai.tled and she is the 2021 Goethe-Institut fellow at Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin.

Larys Frogier (France/China) is the Director of the Rockbund Art Museum (RAM) in Shanghai since 2012. As a curator, critic and art historian, he is involved in artistic and social challenges in post-global contexts where ongoing social, economic, cultural transformations demand new ways of interrelations, citizenship and reinvented creativity. Since 2013 he is the Chair of the HUGO BOSS ASIA ART jury and he conceived this new award, exhibition and research programme as an evolving platform to question Asia as a construction to investigate rather than a monolithic area or fixed identities. Frogier is also engaged in sound, music, image and text creation under the artist name Ocean. He is the co-founder of Wavz with Alfie Chua.

Dr Marc Glöde (Germany/Singapore) is a curator, critic and film scholar. His work focuses on the relationship between images, technology, space, and the body, as well as the dynamics between art and film. He was senior curator of Art Basel’s film programme and was head curator of art berlin contemporary. He collaborated with Experimenta Festival 2007 in Mumbai/Bangalore and has curated exhibitions including STILL/MOVING/STILL (Knokke), Filmic Reflections on the Document (Bonn), Tadeusz Kantor (Edinburgh/Berlin) and What a great space you have (New York/Los Angeles). More recently, Glöde co-curated the A+ Online Festival of Video Art (2020), and NTU CCA Singapore’s film programmes such as Resonating Structures which accompanied the exhibition Siah Armajani: Spaces for the Public. Spaces for Democracy. (2019). He received his PhD at the Free University Berlin. Since 2017, he is Assistant Professor at NTU ADM, Singapore, and Co-Director of the MA in Museum Studies and Curatorial Practices. He authored the book Colored Space of Light (2014) and his writing has been published in publications such as The Impossibility of Mapping [Urban Asia] (2020), State of Motion 2019: A Fear of Monsters (2019), among others.

Dr Nicolas Helm-Grovas (Spain/United Kingdom) is Lecturer in Film Studies Education at King’s College London. He completed a PhD on the films and writings of Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen at Royal Holloway, University of London in 2018. His writing has appeared in Moving Image Review & Art Journal, Radical Philosophy and Oxford Art Journal (forthcoming in the latter) and in edited collections. With Oliver Fuke he is co-curator of a series of interrelated exhibitions on Mulvey and Wollen: ‘Art at the Frontier of Film Theory’ (Peltz Gallery, London, 2019), ‘A is for Avant-Garde, Z is for Zero’ (Cooper Gallery, Dundee, 2020) and ‘Intersections in Theory, Film and Art’ (GAK Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst, Bremen, 2021, forthcoming).

Dr Philippa Lovatt (Scotland) is a Lecturer in Film Studies at University of St Andrews. Her research focusses on artists’ moving image, sound, eco-cinema, and independent film and video cultures in Southeast Asia. She is currently writing a monograph on the politics of sound and listening in artists’ film and is also working on an oral history project with Jasmine Nadua Trice: “Parallel Practices: Oral Histories of Southeast Asian Film and Video Cultures.” She has edited two dossiers for Journal of Cinema and Media Studies (“Theorizing Region: Film and Video Cultures in Southeast Asia” co-edited with Trice) and Screen (“Tracing the Anthropocene in Southeast Asian Cinemas” with Graiwoot Chulphongsathorn) both forthcoming in 2021. She has previously published her research in ScreenSound, Music and the Moving ImageThe New SoundtrackSoundEffects, and Southeast of Now: Directions in Contemporary and Modern Art in Asia

Dr Daniel Mann (Israel/United Kingdom) is a London-based writer and filmmaker. Mann’s writing has been published with journals such as Screen, Media Culture & Society and World Records. His forthcoming book, titled “Occupying Habits: Media and Warfare in Israel-Palestine”, will be out next year with Bloomsbury Press. His films have been exhibited at The Berlinale, The Rotterdam Film Festival, Cinéma du Réel, Hong Kong Film Festival and the ICA in London. Mann earned his PhD from the Media Department and the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths. Currently, he is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the Film Studies Department at King’s College London. 

Nguyễn Trinh Thi (Vietnam) is a Hanoi-based independent filmmaker and video/media artist. Her diverse practice has consistently investigated the role of memory in the necessary unveiling of hidden, displaced or misinterpreted histories; and examined the position of artists in the Vietnamese society. Nguyễn studied journalism, photography, international relations and ethnographic film in the United States. Her films and video art works have been shown at festivals and art exhibitions including the Asia Pacific Triennale of Contempory Art (APT9) in Brisbane; Sydney Biennale 2018; Jeu de Paume, Paris; the Lyon Biennale 2015; Asian Art Biennial 2015, Taiwan; Fukuoka Asian Art Triennial 2014; Singapore Biennale 2013; and the Rotterdam International Film Festival.Nguyễn is founder and director of Hanoi DOCLAB, an independent center for documentary film and the moving image art in Hanoi since 2009.

Dr Karin Oen (United States/Singapore) is Deputy Director, Curatorial Programmes, at the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore. She received her PhD in the History, Theory, and Criticism of Art and Architecture from MIT. A global modernist, she has recently focused on curatorial projects that explore transmediatic, transcultural, and transhistorical discourse. Oen is the curator of the forthcoming exhibition teamLab: Continuity at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, where she was a curator from 2015-2019.

Dr Ella Raidel, Ph.D., (Austria/Singapore) is a filmmaker, artist and researcher. She is Assistant Professor at NTU, ADM School of Art, Design and Media and WKWSCI School of Communication and Information. In her interdisciplinary work—films, videos, writings—she focuses on the socio-cultural impact of globalization with a focus on urbanisation and Asian cinemas. She is interested in reflexive forms of narration in questioning the representation in documentary films. Her film-making corresponds with her writings on cinema for researching the poetics in image-making. Her work has been presented and distinguished in numerous international film festivals, exhibitions and biennials. She is the co-editor (with Peng Hsiao-yen) of Altering Archives, The Politics of Memory in Sinophone Cinemas and Image Culture (Routledge Contemporary China Series 2018) and has published on Tsai Ming-Liang’s work.

Silke Schmickl (Germany/Hong Kong) was previously curator at the National Gallery Singapore, the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, a researcher at the German Art History Center in Paris and the co-founding director of Lowave, a Paris/Singapore based curatorial platform and publishing house for artists’ moving images. She has initiated and directed numerous art and film projects dedicated to emerging art scenes in the Middle East, Africa, India, Turkey and Singapore. Recent exhibitions at the National Gallery include include Minimalism: Light. Space. Object, Rirkrit Tiravanija: untitled 2018 (the infinite dimensions of smallness) and Haegue Yang: Forum for Drone Speech – Singapore Simulations.

Tan Pin Pin (Singapore) is a Singapore filmmaker who questions gaps in history, memory, and processes of documentation. Self-reflective in their addressing of the complexities of the filmic medium, her films include: Moving House (2001), Singapore GaGa (2005), Invisible City (2007), To Singapore with Love (2013), and In Time To Come (2017). They have been shown at numerous international film festivals around the world and have won multiple awards. She had retrospectives at RIDM Montreal, DOK Leipzig. She was the executive producer of award-winning Unteachable (2019). She is a co-founding member of filmcommunitysg, a community of independent filmmakers and was a board member of the Singapore International Film Festival, The Substation and the National Archives of Singapore. She was awarded the S. Rajaratnam scholarship to study for an MFA at Northwestern University, USA. She was awarded the S. Rajaratnam scholarship to study for an MFA at Northwestern University, USA, and was called to the Singapore Bar upon completion of her law degree from Oxford University. In 2018 she was admitted to the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences, USA.

Dr David Teh (Australia/Singapore) is a writer, curator and Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore. His research spans art history, critical and cultural theory, with an emphasis on Southeast Asian modern and contemporary art. He was a co-founder of Fibreculture, an online community for digital culture and politics. His curatorial projects have included Unreal Asia (55. Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, 2009), Video Vortex #7 (Yogyakarta, 2011), TRANSMISSION (Jim Thompson Art Center, Bangkok, 2014), Misfits: Pages from a Loose-leaf Modernity (Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, 2017) and Returns, a project for the 12th Gwangju Biennale in 2018. He is currently a co-curator of the 17th Istanbul Biennial (with Ute meta Bauer and Amar Kanwar). David’s writings have appeared in Third Text, Afterall, ARTMargins, Theory Culture & Society and Artforum. His book Thai Art: Currencies of the Contemporary was published in 2017 by MIT Press, and he was co-editor (with David Morris) of Artist-to-Artist: Independent Art Festivals in Chiang Mai 1992-98 (2018), for Afterall‘s Exhibition Histories series.


Presented in collaboration with Kings’ College London (KCL), United Kingdom


Supported by Centre for Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore


Image: Trinh T. Minh-ha., What About China? (Part I of II, 2020–21), film still. Courtesy the artist.