Lecture Series “Eastern Aesthetics as a Field in Progress”
Eastern aesthetics is a field of study that was established inthe modern era with reference to the aesthetics originating from the West but has not yet been properly positioned. This lecture series aims to examine the scope and nature of the so-called “Eastern aesthetics” from the perspective of EAA. The goal of this event is not to regard Eastern aesthetics as a fully established field of study and to introduce the latest research on it, but rather to explore how it is developing as a field in progress, paying attention to fields such as philosophy and aesthetics, but will also consider other related fields including literature, art criticism and art history.
Violence as Medium: Body, Relationality, and Autonomy in the Performance Art of Lin Yilin and Wafaa Bilal
This talk explores performance art of two leading critical voices from East and West Asia, Lin Yilin (b. 1964) and Wafaa Bilal (b. 1966), focusing on how physical violence against the body in their respective work is sublimated into an artistic medium formalizing the brutality of China’s rapid industrialization on the one hand and the state terrorism of the 2003 US-led military invasion and occupation of Iraq on the other. Drawing from a longer genealogy of body and performance art originating in the 1950s and ‘60s, these two contemporary artists both extend and intensify the signifying practices of self-subjection and mutilation by incorporating oppressive technologies of racialization, surveillance, and labor expropriation vital to the operations of present-day disaster capitalism. In violently exposing the body to a range of abrasive materials, whether concrete blocks, paintballs, or surgical implantations, I suggest, both artists creatively interrogate prevailing conceptions of aesthetic autonomy, revealing how Kantian disinterest may simultaneously cultivate spaces for critical reflection as well as callous indifference to human suffering induced by the exercise of lethal instruments of biopolitical control.
Dr. Smith is currently an assistant professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at UC Berkeley. He received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature with a designated emphasis in Critical Theory from UC Davis in 2019. His scholarly practice is concerned broadly with aesthetics and politics in colonial Korea and its aftermath, pursuing questions of uneven development, literary form, and periodization comparatively across East Asia and Euro-America. His theoretical influences include Western Marxism, posthumanism, and psychoanalysis. He has published articles on Korean and Japanese modernist poetry, painting, and photography which have appeared in Journal of Korean Studies; positions: east asia critique; Modernism/modernity; Trans Asia Photography; Cross-Currents: East Asian History Review; and Azalea: Journal of Korean Literature & Culture. He is currently completing his first book manuscript, Shuddering Century: Modernist Poetry in Colonial Korea and the Poetics of Belatedness which examines the uneven and accelerated reception of the avant-gardes by Korean poets in the 1920s and ‘30s.
Qin Wang is an associate professor in Area Studies at the University of Tokyo. He received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from New York University. He is the author of『魯迅を読もう』 (2022) and Configurations of the Individual in Modern Chinese Literature (2019). He is also the translator of the Chinese edition of Jacques Derrida’s La bête et le souverain I and Donner la mort; Karatani Kojin’s Tankyū I&II; David Harvey’s A Brief History of Neoliberalism, among other translations.
Yi Ding finished her PhD program in aesthetics from Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology, University of Tokyo in 2022, and is currently working as a Project Research Fellow at EAA. Her main research interests include the development of modern Chinese aesthetics, comparative studies of Eastern and Western aesthetics, and art theory in general.
Date & Time: 10.00-12.00 JST, Wednesday April 12, 2023
18.00-20.00 PST, Tuesday April 11, 2023
(Speech ca. 50 mins + Comment ca. 10 mins + Discussion ca. 50 mins)
via Zoom (registration required):
Organizer: East Asian Academy for New Liberal Arts, the University of Tokyo (EAA)