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Missing Links: A series of moving images exhibition from Southeast Asia Curated by: Gridthiya Gaweewong Venue: Jim Thompson Art Center, Bangkok Date: 22 May - 31 October 2015

Participating artists:
     First part: Modernization and Urban Conditions (22 May - 31 July, 2015)
   Jompet Kuswidananto (Indonesia), Maria Taniguchi (Philippines), Uudam Tran Nguyen (Vietnam/USA), The Maw Naing (Myanmar), and Souliya Phoumivong (Laos)

     Second part: Diaspora and Identity (1 August - 31 October, 2015)
   Chris Chong Chan Fui (Malaysia/Canada), Nipan Oranniwesna (Thailand), Brian Gothong Tan (Singapore), Anida Yoeu Ali & Khmer Arts / Studio Revolt (Cambodia/USA)

     Southeast Asian countries have continually strived to advance their evolution and progress to keep up with the global community. This turbulent area’s development suffered from colonization, world wars, wars of independence and cold wars. Since 1967 the region has been constructed into a collective entity as a result of a second wave of regionalism, steered and convened by the United States.  The goal of this initiative was for the region to work collaboratively in politics to fight against the communist threats from Russia and China coming through Vietnam.
     When the national boarders continued to dominate the conceptualization of Southeast Asia not only in the academic world, but other disciplines such as political agencies, private sectors and the art world as well. To understand Southeast Asia with an alternative perspective we would like investigate this area from a transnational approach. We should not forget that this area had been the ‘contact zone’ for Chinese Diaspora, locals and the West since the 17th century and even earlier. In pre-modern and pre-nation state times, the communal sense of sharing among this region was highly regarded, both geopolitically and mentally. Kingdoms, both mainland and the archipelagoes, had no boarders, but had continuing territorial wars. When the Silk Road and spice trade routes were established, connecting this part of the world to the West, trade and economics resulted in mobility within the continent, its sub-regions and beyond. Fluxes of European and Middle Eastern traders started to contact and play crucial roles in the courts of Siam, Java, Burma, Vietnam and so forth. Over a period of centuries Arab, Portuguese, Dutch, English, French, and British traders and nations played an important role in the region, in order to expand their territory and gain natural resources from this area, resulting in the region’s colonial history.
     In Siam, the birth of a multicultural and cosmopolitan society was already established from very early periods and because of the mobilization of the people in the region and beyond, the golden land, or Suwannabhumi, area in the mainland of Southeast Asia constantly became the home for the Chinese, groups of immigrants and other tribes from the northern areas. Plural societies emerged, and to acknowledge the difference, while attempting to establish some keyword to connect the region, I would like to explore the historical narratives that illuminated this development. The goal will be to encourage audiences to rethink the background of this area and how it relates to today’s reality.  This will be done by exploring the rupture that occurred, and the consequences of colonial and post-war history. How the locals dealt with these situations after their independence and the wars, will also be considered. The fluxes of migration in the cold war are different from other periods. To further study the region, its people and the networks, by using works of art as an inspiration, we should be able to understand the situation better. Through works of art by regional artists, aesthetic experiences, sometimes going beyond national borders, can be shared.
The Exhibition:
     The exhibition, “Missing Links” will serve as a platform to uncover, investigate and revisit the issues of the people's sensorium during the process of modernization, industrialization, urbanization and migration in this area.  Missing Links is an art exhibition featuring video, moving images and time based works by artists from the Southeast Asian region and beyond, whose artistic practice addresses and explores the modernization period through their own contexts either by colonial forces or self-determination, and its consequences to the present.  It does not pretend to show the whole picture of the regional situation, but attempts to address some key issues which are still resonant and relevant such as the relationship between the urban and rural condition, migration, diaspora and trans-regional economy.
     The show is split into two parts, two exhibition featuring 4 or 5 artists in each part for 3 months. This sequential exhibition will hopefully bring audiences back to see the exhibition twice, to ponder, to contemplate and to enjoy the visual experiences offered.
     The Missing Links exhibition is on view daily from May 22nd to October 31st, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at The Jim Thompson Art Center, Soi Kasemsan 2 (National Stadium BTS station). Admission is free.