Assembled from the seven countries of Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam — each with differing histories and traditions, and each with distinct political, economic and cultural situations — the 13 curators of this project have collaborated on developing an exhibition questioning the nature of Media / Art today, which will further evolve through each of its presentations in the cities of Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Bangkok.
At a time when under the banner of globalization all manner of information technology has transcended national borders to enter into people’s lives, and has no small effect on how those lives play out, today’s constantly updating media environment has generated unprecedented new spheres of economics and culture. While it could become the impetus for a major revolution, this situation also carries with it the risk of expanding new forms of oppression and disparity.
Moreover, between Japan and the constituent nations of ASEAN, as well as between the four cities hosting the exhibition, there are stark differences in social context and the positioning in those contexts of “media” and “art.” As suggested by the relationships that have developed between the curators and artists participating in this project, the exploration of mutual differences both large and small also brings with it the necessity of working together — and at times with exhibition visitors as well — to establish new standards of value.
A project addressing the status of media/art in the member countries of ASEAN, “Media/Art Kitchen” is comprised of three components: an “exhibition” that provides an overview of works; a “workshop” for generating deep and multifaceted understanding; and a “laboratory” where visitors are able to produce their own experimentation. The theme “Media/Art Kitchen” is inspired by and encapsulated in the image of a kitchen activated by daily invention and creativity. The subtitle, “Reality Distortion Field,” is meant to suggest the kitchen, as workshop or laboratory, as a space where reality is distorted and the impossible becomes possible; this is also the term that has been used to describe Apple-founder Steve Jobs’ talent for drawing out the maximum potential of the people around him.