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Postgraduate Workshop: Asian Art Research Now 

in association with 2021 AAANZ Conference Emerging Scholars Program

7 December 2021, 9am-12:30pm

Zoom Online Meeting/Seminar 


Asian Art Research Now is the inaugural event of the Australasian Network for Asian Art (an4aa), a collegial group of Australian and New Zealand researchers who have come together to strengthen a sense of scholarly community in this field. In keeping with AN4AA’s objective to highlight the vitality and immediacy of Asian art research being undertaken by emerging scholars, Asian Art Research Now showcases the work of recent PhD graduates and current PhD students from the Australian National University and University of Melbourne. As a continuing annual event organised by AN4AA, future editions of the workshop will be expanded to feature the work of emerging scholars from other locations. The day-long workshop will foster an atmosphere of supportive critique and generate greater cross-pollination and conversations across institutional boundaries, as well as those of geography and temporality within the field of Asian art history.

Convened by the Australasian Network for Asian Art (an4aa) in conjunction with Asian Art Research at the University of Melbourne (AAR) and Asia: Innovation and Transformation at Australian National University (AIT) and the 2021 AAANZ Conference Emerging Scholars Program at the University of Sydney. Workshop is supported by a Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) grant,


Invited Guest Speakers: Post PhD Perspectives


Photo credit: Leiden University Libraries

Antariksa is an independent historian and artist. His main research interest is art history and mobility of ideas in 1930s-1940s Japanese-occupied Asia. In 1999 he co-founded KUNCI Study Forum & Collective, a collective focusing on experiments with methods in producing and sharing knowledge through the acts of studying together at the intersections between affective, manual and intellectual labor. Antariksa has been a research fellow at art and academic intitutions including Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Ujazdowski Centre for Contemporary Art, NTU Centre for Contemporary Art, ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute, Leiden University Libraries, and Foundation Maison des Sciences de l'Homme. Antariksa uses exhibitions as a medium to make archives and their stories public, physical and interactive. His installations have been presented at galleries, institutions and biennials including Europalia, Taman Ismail Marzuki, Sharjah Biennial, Asian Art Biennial, Gallery SOAP Kitakyushu, Contemporary Art Museum Kumamoto, and Orange Regional Gallery.


Photo Credit: Luke Casey.

Sabine Cotte is a French-Australian private conservator, based in Melbourne (Australia) since 2001. She holds conservation degrees from Institut National du Patrimoine (Paris), ICCROM (Rome) and a PhD from University of Melbourne, Australia, on the materials and techniques of Mirka Mora. Her PhD led to a book for the general public:  Mirka Mora, a life making art, published by Thames and Hudson Australia, in 2019. She has participated in several workshops in the Himalayan region for UNESCO, ICCROM and private NGOs, focusing on training local people in conservation and in disaster recovery. She has published many articles and given many talks in professional journals and conferences. She is an Honorary Fellow of the Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation, a casual lecturer in the Masters of Cultural Materials Conservation and a tutor in the Masters of Curatorship, University of Melbourne.

Michelle Wun Ting Wong is a Hong Kong-based researcher and curator. From 2012-2020, she was Researcher at Asia Art Archive, where she researched on histories of exchange and circulation through exhibitions and periodicals, and the personal archive of the late Hong Kong artist Ha Bik Chuen (1925-2009). She was Assistant Curator of 11th Gwangju Biennale (2016). She collaborates with artist Wei Leng Tay on the long term collective project Sightlines. Since Yokohama Triennale 2020, she works with curator Kabelo Malatsie and artist Lantian Xie, exploring how curatorial thinking expresses itself infrastructurally. She is currently a PhD student of Art History at The University of Hong Kong. Her writing has been published in Ambitious Alignments: New Histories of Southeast Asian Art, 1945–1990 (2018), the journal Southeast of Now (2019), Oncurating, Ocula Magazine, and SOUTH SOUTH. She is the curator for the exhibition Portals,  Stories, and Other Journeys, presented by Asia Art Archive at Tai Kwun Contemporary (2021).

Bullock, Michael _Asian art research now_conference app.jpg

Michael Bullock

Artist and Early Career Researcher, Teaching Associate, MADA, Monash Art Design and Architecture, Melbourne.


Origins, Arrangements, Returns. (The past catches up)

For this paper, “Origins, Arrangements, Returns, (The past catches up)”, I begin with a photograph that I took in late 2013. The photograph was taken in Bangalore, India, at the Gujri, or junk-yard market, and presents a street seller’s display of second-hand wares laid out on the ground. The focus of this photograph is a half-formed collection of brass letters and numbers. I have kept returning to this image, firstly by giving this image a name, Found Alphabet, then generating my version of these letters and numbers into artworks, and in 2019, prompting a return to the actual site of my first chance encounter of this arrangement.


The title of the paper serves as a scaffold for the form of the paper, while identifying an artistic methodology at the heart of my creative practice. I aim to frame a series of Returns; of retrieval, recycling, recognition, and reconstruction through the discussion of several artworks; of mine, and others. I draw on the writing of Walter Benjamin, along with his interpreters such as Michael Taussig, Jennifer Gabrys and Susan Buck-Morss, to understand the temporality and materiality of this market, and the used objects and imaginations that circulate within.


Priyanka Jain 

PhD candidate, School of Art, RMIT University, Melbourne campus

Rasa under the Microscope


Erotic poetry celebrating fertility was enjoyed in the Indian subcontinent from circa 1000 BCE (as Sanskrit verses of the Rig Veda) till the 18th century, permeating into visual and performing arts, architecture and even into the cult of Krishna. British colonization (1757- 1947) imposed Victorian morality, which cast the concept of Kama (pleasure, one of the goals of Hindu life) as obscene and Indians practiced self-censorship to please the colonizers. In the formation of a national identity for a new independent India (1947), ideas of India’s sensual past were further dropped to the effect that contemporary India has little safe space for sexual discussions.


My artistic studio practice seeks to decolonize, contemporize and make visible some classical forms of erotic poetry as proposed by Walter Mignolo. Using research from neuroscience, microbiology and phytochemistry, short verses seek to explore the theme of erotica. The source of passion, which was placed within the Divine in the classical past is now placed under the agency of the human microbiome, which researchers have found to be able to communicate with the brain and influence moods and behaviors. My research aims to focus on the role of practice in decolonization.​

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Yi Won Park

PhD candidate, RMIT University in Fine Art

Who can claim authenticity?


I examine the experience of feeling culturally adrift within my own hybrid Korean- Australian identity, using the aesthetic and symbolic framework of Korean shamanism and autoethnographic reflection. Interdisciplinary practices, such animation, installation, projection and performance, are explored for their potential to unpack cultural hybridity. Hybrid animal motifs serve as autobiographical metaphors through which to investigate the psychological complexity of hybrid cultural identity, drawing on notions of shamanic spirit animals. A key motif is the ‘Jindgo’, a personal invention that weaves together narratives of the Korean Jindo dog with those of the Australian dingo. Storytelling, a fundamental aspect of Korean shamanism, also forms a core element in this autoethnographic study, through the use and analysis of interdisciplinary visual narratives. IMAGE: Yi Won Park, Jindgo story, animation work in process, single channel video, 2021


Chris Parkinson 

PhD Candidate & Sessional Lecturer, Victorian College of the Arts | Faculty of Fine Arts and Music | University of Melbourne

What’s a social practice under conditions of social distancing?

In being a body of research located in the temporal and spatial drift of a global pandemic, with the subject matter as art and cross-cultural collaboration, this research is indebted to inbetweeness; a temporary landing place. In sitting in this drift, the PhD research explores the practices of artists - collectively and independently - in Yogyakarta, Indonesia and Dili, Timor-Leste, seeking to interrogate their visual and spatial politics and practices of community building.


In negotiating this temporary landing place, the research is a non- representational ethnography, cultivating, as Phillip Vanini proposes, “an affinity for the analysis of events, practices, assemblages, structures of feeling, and the backgrounds of everyday life against which relations unfold in their myriad potentials.” How do these artists perceive their relationship to art and the political in their specific social context? To what extent do local restrictions and global networks allow a regional proposition of urbanity, creativity and identity in the context of a pandemic?


Soo-Min Shim

PhD candidate, Centre for Art History and Theory, Australian National University

Sites of Un-Belonging: The Performance Art of Lisa Myeongjoo

In contrast to normative cultural diplomatic relations between Korea and Australia, adoptee artists disrupt the nation-state-centric frameworks of both Australian and Korean contemporary art. Situating performance artist Lisa Myeongjoo in a history of Korean-Australian politics, history, and cultural relations, it is possible to see her performance art as an interrogation into the limits and imaginative potentials of the adoptee body in undoing the borders of the nation-states of Korea and Australia. In this presentation, I analyse Lisa Myeongjoo’s use of the spatio-temporal dimensions, transience, and site- specificity of performance art and its subsequent documentation to suggest a conscious un-belonging to place. Her use of performance interrogates biological and cultural essentialist paradigms of family and state, problematising the Korean-Australian label by constructing imagined territories and new connections of belonging. IMAGE: Lisa Myeong-Joo Keighery and Dahn Gim, Derive for Seoul (2016-2017) . Bubble Wrap, durational performance, 8 hours 30 minutes. Photo courtesy: the artist.


Bic Tieu

PhD candidate at the Australian National University, Associate Lecturer at the University of New South Wales (UNSW)

In-Betweenness Through The Making of Objects


I am now in the final stages of my PhD candidacy where I have undergone submission and awaiting examination of theses. This presentation will present the research established from my PhD research with a focus on the interdisciplinary intersections and dialogues. My PhD research is an investigation of material culture around contemporary design and craft dialogues in relationship to personal migration and narratives of my Southeast Asia and Australian lineage. I refer to the collection of personal objects as instruments to contextualise my own experiences of living interculturally. Through this process, I discover a framework to develop a visual language which articulates living in-between my Chinese, Vietnamese and Australian cultures.


The shape of the practice-led research unfolds through a range of interdisciplinary investigations informed by; third space theory, object theory and design methodologies. In experimenting with traditional and modern craft processes enable designed material paradigms. The focus of this presentation will look at how the intersection of design methods; graphics, animations, traditional and contemporary metal craft approaches can lead to innovative making and meaning and offer alternate and tangible perspectives of living interculturally.

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