Parallel Contemporaries: Performance Art from Southeast Asia in the British Context

4 November 2017, 12.00-7.00pm
Presentation by Dr Eva Bentcheva

Since the 1960s, Britain has played host to a number of performance artworks addressing notions of cultural difference, identity and political agency. Its ‘transnational’ history lends a handy context for establishing a contemporary archive of performance art from Southeast Asia. In this archive, iterations of the body, resistance and struggle seem to weave links between the cultural politics of Southeast Asia and Britain. Yet, it also raises concerns around how we present and frame performance art from Southeast Asia. In what ways should we see this archive as part of a lineage of performance artists of Asian, African and Caribbean descent working in Britain? Or rather, do the works from Southeast Asia speak to an altogether different set of concerns and influences? To what extent are identity and politics shared topics across these different performance art histories? In light of the performances of Noel Ed De Leon and Raju Rage, this talk opens up these questions in an effort to invite further inquiries into the unique constellation of staging and archiving Southeast Asian performance art within the contemporary British context.