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Island Hopping Conference:
East Asia Forum

Session 1 /  Artistic Vision: From Island Hopping to the New Cold War

Date:2021.6.26 Sat. 13:00-15:00 (GMT +8)

Host:Dar-Kuen Wu

Panalleist:Jui-Chung YaoPatrick D. FloresGim JungiTomiyama Kazumi


Session 2 /  What Art can do in the post-pandemic era?

Date:2021.7.10. Sat. 15:00-17:00 (GMT +8)

Host:Dar-Kuen Wu

Panalleist:Hui-Yu Su、Ade Darmawan、Tessa Maria GuazonLouis Ho

Island Hopping Conference: East Asia Forum focuses on the central idea of the project “Island Hopping”, discussing that the United States has become an alliance in the Pacific since World War II, and formed a long-term cold war with communism through its containment strategy. In the Post-Cold War era, neoliberalism swept through, and the world situation was controlled by the United States. The island countries like Japan, Taiwan, and the Philippines on the Pacific island chain are deeply influenced by the international situation. However, if the countries can make full use of their flexibility and experimentation of the periphery, and reflect on the past can point out a possible future.


The topics focus on two directions: Post-Pandemic and Post-colonization, the important issues such as decolonization, anti-imperialism, historical trauma derived from World War II. Through sharing experience, we can open the possibility to interchange and imagine, also open the prelude to “Island Hopping” after the pandemic.

Session 1  Artistic Vision: From Island Hopping to the New Cold War

While the whole world is working hard to continue advancing on the road to decolonization, the new Cold War and the techno‑capital colonization soon invade our lives, with international corporations’ expansion. Under the United States’ influence, the confrontation object has also shifted from the Soviet Union to China, leading to the reshuffle of the international relations. VT invites the opinion leaders of the art field from the island chain to put forward proposals and cooperation on the topic of post-colonialism.


#1 Island Hopping Project: The Context of War History and Political Geography in the Pacific Islands /  YAO Jui Chung

Distinct from the Sinocentric system or the trendy southbound thinking, Island Hopping Project shifts the focus back onto the “island chains”, a geopolitical legacy of the Cold War. The island chain strategy mapped out by the United States owed its origin to the island-hopping strategy employed by the Allies in the Pacific War. Within the framework, the project invites artists from these regions to reflect upon and resist the imperial invasion that has begun since World War II and made use of the island chain. Through the project, “art as action” becomes a primary initiative to redefine the cultural context and artistic perspective of the Pacific Island chain.


#2 Okinawa: Is a Regional Art Alliance Possible on the Colonized Island? /  TOMIYAMA Kazumi

Since Okinawa became a territory of Japan in the 1870s, it has been a site for the practice of colonialism and imperialism. The U.S. military, which occupied Okinawa in 1945, has built vast bases on the island and continues to do so under the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty regime, threatening the autonomy and livelihood of Okinawans. Today, with the confrontation between the U.S. and China and the possible Taiwan Strait crisis, the militarization of Okinawa is accelerating. While the people’s movement to resist this absurdity has continued with admirable tenacity for more than 75 years, it is unfortunately difficult to find a lineage of activism among the young Okinawan artists of today. Many artists look very nervous about being labeled as “political.” After more than 140 years of the island losing its right to self-determination and being trampled by the overwhelming power of Japan and the United States, have the artists given up? Or are they searching for a new methodology to approach society? Answering these questions, I will make a short report on the current art movement in Okinawa. The movement was triggered by a new coastal reclamation plan to relocate the U.S. military port in the urban area of Okinawa, following the well-known reclamation of Henoko and Oura Bay. This was also an issue in the mayoral election this year. Does this have potential as a basis for a regional arts alliance in Okinawa?


#3 DMZ on the Korean Peninsula as a base for peace and art  /  GIM Jungi

The Korean Peninsula is divided into two Koreas. On the line of the division, there is the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). The DMZ is a place that symbolizes national division, cold war, confrontation, prohibition and security. The DMZ Peace and Art Movement are taking place to remove this negative image of the DMZ and transform it into a place of peace and ecology. DMZ Peace Art expands the geopolitical location and cognitive horizons of the DMZ from the Korean Peninsula to East Asia, thus preserving the world of peace through artistic practice. DMZ Peace Art will change the DMZ. DMZ Peace Art aims to change the DMZ paradigm from division to unification to reconciliation and cooperation in the Cold War, from military to cultural city, from forbidden land to ecological repository, and from security tourism to dark tours.

Peace Art long March was held as a tour program to share DMZ peace art. Peace Art long March visited many countries and cities to learn about the history of war, violence, pain, wounds, and rebellion, and to learn about peaceful urban identity, cultural policies, civic movements and artistic activities. They visited places representing each city’s agenda for peace and conducted interviews and meetings. We visited 35 cities during the 2019 Peace Art long March. It remains to connect the peace agendas we met there to the main road of DMZ peace art. It brings together different peace festivals depending on the perspective and perspective of each country and city to promote East Asian peace, and even world peace.


#4 The Geopolitical Problem of the Biennale /  Patrick D. FLORES

The talk looks back on the experience of directing and curating Singapore Biennale 2019 with the view of reflecting on how the biennale structure mediates persistent geopolitical issues. Specifically speaking to the construction of the region of Southeast Asia and the imagination of the Asia-Pacific, this reflection seeks to initiate a conversation on the method with which to complicate and hopefully reorient geopolitical imperatives through the varied articulations of contemporary art and its curation. It teases out works from the Singapore Biennale that stage tensions as well as propositions in crossing the expectations put in place by different modes of modernity and the Cold War.