Heritage and the Politics of Culture
This panel explores different forms of experience in Southeast Asia and Japan. The presenters seek to demonstrate cultural politics, which often play a role in in the arts and cultural activities in neighbourhood communities, facing the past, the reception of sound, and human mobility. The notion of embodied elements links each presentation, and enables a critical investigation into people’s everyday life experiences.
Akemi Minamida examined people’s experience in Singapore’s community arts programmes, which are constrained by government censorship and political correctness, yet continue to exposure people to aesthetics and social critique. Additionally, Ritsuko Saito discussed the impact of Japanese visitors to World War II heritage sites in Singapore, whose existence is inevitably included in the physical representation of war embodied by the memorial. In his study, Fang-Tze Hsu focused on the aesthetic uses of sound in films produced by Okinawa artistic practitioners to examine the portraiture of war memory in present-day Okinawa. Nien-pu Ko problematises empiricist historiography by focusing on personal experience and memories of Japanese workers in 1940’s Malaya, such as prostitutes, prison guards, and war artists.
The panel is timely for providing a platform for scholars to discuss concepts and methods for researching the embodied experience in Southeast Asia and Japan.