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Medi(t)ation—Asian Art Biennial
Date: 1 Oct 2011 - 1 Jan 2012

In view of the rapid polarization of our society in terms of the social, political and cultural disparities, this year's Asia Biennial proposes to entertain the notions of “mediation” and “meditation” as potentially sustainable solutions to the current challenges faced by increasing numbers of Asian societies. From the perspective of social criticism as well as that of sensuous consciousness, this year's Asia Biennial gives a broad view of how artists from various Asian countries communicate differences and come to terms with both inner and outer conflicts through art and, in so doing, open the space for negotiations and dialogues.

The exhibition examines the structural crisis currently facing many of the Asian societies: the arrival of what Japanese economist Kenichi Ohmae calls the “M-shaped society”, the rise of the “fluid lifestyle”, the widespread fear and anxiety among members of the societies, the breakdown of the social security system as well as conflicts arising from cultural differences. At present, Asian cultures are threatened with crisis from both internal and external causes – namely, uncertainty and conflicts within the societies, as well as the split and evolution caused by forces from the external environment such as competition in global and regional markets. In the constantly changing social-cultural landscapes, Asian art practitioners increasingly have to come to terms with encounters between oneself and others, and to resolve conflict between inner and outer realities. By proposing the two “M-words” i.e. “mediation” and “meditation” as the possible solutions, we hope to explore the possibilities of making peace with oneself as well as with others, and to develop more inclusive cultures in today's globalized world characterized by a constant interaction of, and exposure to, different peoples, cultural-historical traditions, languages as well as ways of life.

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