IPAM Plenary Seminar
Traveling South East
The first quarter of the twentieth century will not be remembered in human history for 9/11but for the rise of China and India [and Indonesia], an event as momentous as the coming of the Renaissance or the Industrial Revolution in the west.
- Larry Summers
Now in the second decade in the 21st century, the relationship between the major Asian powers and what we used to call the developed world is entering a new phase. Does the rise of Asia in what is being described as "the Asian Century" have implications for those programming festivals and performing art centres in Europe and North America?
Do festival directors and programmers in the developed North, apply different curatorial criteria when they present work from the developing South? Do words like ‘exotic, colourful and cultural’ still have currency and does the term ‘Asian’ applied to performing arts imply that Asian performance occupies a different place in the international landscape from European or American performance?
Are we as artistic gatekeepers part of a web of influences determining the way our societies transact with the world? Indeed is this our responsibility or do we simply programme what we consider to be ‘the best work’?
Can Indonesia, the worlds fourth biggest country, be fairly described as invisible on the international performing arts stage? If so, where does the blame lie – in the minds of foreign curators or are Indonesians themselves complicit in their own invisibility?