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“After Hope Symposium: Future Forms and Alternative Methods” launches in the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco

  • Date:2021-10-29

With the support from Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture, the Taiwan Academy in Los Angeles, partnering with the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, launches “After Hope: Future Forms and Alternative Methods” from November 5 to 6, 2021.

This international interdisciplinary Symposium will invite artists, scholars, and art professionals to participate both physically and online, using the work of artists from across Asia and its diaspora as catalysts for inquiry to explore diverse expressions and legacies of “hope” in contemporary art. Due to the pandemic, Taiwanese artists are unable to participate in the physical symposium. Three artworks, including Isa Ho's Peony, Guang-ming Yuan's Occupation of the 561st Hour and Kuang-Yu Tsui's Stay Calm, have been exhibited in the "After Hope: Videos of Resistance" from March 4, 2021 to May 2, 2022.

Isa Ho's "Peony" juxtaposes two different images of Asian women. One is a Kunqu actress in traditional Chinese costume and the other a Korean K-pop singer. She uses her work to rethink the role and position of women in contemporary society, in relation to the unique development of popular culture. Despite the differences in temporal and spatial backdrops, the performance styles between the two genres did not transform over time. Guang-Ming Yuan's "The 561st Hour of Occupation" films a moment from the 2014 Sunflower Student Movement in Taiwan, during which students occupied Taiwan’s parliament for 585 hours. Yuan uses a slowed-down playback speed of the Taiwanese national anthem by 50% in the empty parliamentary chamber, creating a grandiose soundtrack that turns the space into a churchlike atmosphere, where protest slogans are enshrined and the future political ecology of Taiwan is impacted. In Guang-Yu Tsui's "Stay Calm," he lights a long fuse attached to his body in Chinatown, San Francisco. Amidst the homeless people, tourists, gamblers, and children that flock to this public gathering area, this absurdly dangerous scene of igniting the fuse elicits no reaction from the people around him. In comparison to the energetic words of blessings in the traditional buildings in the square, he feels that any absurdity does not seem to be so strange anymore when these contradictions become part of everyday life.

The Asian Art Museum is internationally renowned for its collection of more than 18,000 artifacts spanning 6,000 years of history from 40 Asian countries. In addition to the video exhibition, the museum has organized a symposium and set up the "After Hope" online platform to present highlights of the works on display, as well as audio and video recordings of the symposium and events.