Arts and Culture
Immediately succeeding colonial independence, the birth of the Southeast Asian nations and the region as a whole is inextricably linked to the rise of the Cold War. Nowhere else was the Cold War felt the hottest as in the SEA. Experimenting with their new national identities the postcolonial states played their allegiances with the Cold War powers. This paper reflects on how the aesthetics of anti-colonial Soviet/Maoist ideologies and the liberal capitalist democracy influenced the avant-garde and experimental practices of artists in the region at the time. How were the artistic experiments of the time served as experimentations of postcolonial democracy? How did the ‘international’ culture of the Cold War instigate local independent/national practices? How did the Southeast Asian experimentations flow into the transnational art institutions? In particular, this paper will examine the cases of the work of composer/musician/ethnomusicologist, Jose Maceda, and composer/musician/performance artist, Paul Gutama Soegijo, whose works challenged colonial aesthetics with their experimentations of the precolonial sounds with the global avant-garde movement.