webinar register page

"Why are they so afraid of the lotus?," the second book in "A Series Open Questions," launches with an illustrated talk by Astria Suparak titled "Asian Futures, Without Asians"
"“If the war is the continuation of politics by other means, then media images are the continuation of war by other means. Immersed in the machinery, part of the special effect, no critical distance.”
- Surname Viet Given Name Nam (1989) by Trinh T. Minh-ha

A samurai sword on the wall of an evil mastermind's office. A home decorated with Buddha statues. A blonde woman in a cheongsam. A speculative cityscape punctuated with prominent signage in Arabic. What does it mean when so many white filmmakers envision futures inflected by Asian culture, but devoid of actual Asian people?

Astria Suparak discusses the implications of not only borrowing heavily from Asian culture, but decontextualizing and misrepresenting it, while Asian contributors are simultaneously excluded. Her lecture is interspersed with visual examples from popular American science fiction movies and TV shows, from the 1970s through today.

This talk is a launch event for ""Why are they so afraid of the lotus?,"" the second book in an annual series of readers titled ""A Series of Open Questions,"" published by the Wattis and Sternberg Press, and distributed by the MIT Press, Art Data, and Les presses du réel. Each reader includes newly commissioned texts and an edited selection of perspectives, images, and references related to the Wattis’s year-long research seasons. The title of each book comes in the form of a question.

""Why are they so afraid of the lotus?"" takes the work of Trinh T. Minh-ha as its point of departure and explores cultural hybridization and fluidity of identity, digital and migratory aesthetics, memory and landscape, decentered realities, feminist approaches to storytelling, meditations on death and myth, post-coloniality and decolonization, and women's work as related to cultural politics.

Astria Suparak is an independent curator and artist based in Oakland, California. She has curated exhibitions, screenings, performances, and live music events for art institutions and festival

Jun 10, 2021 05:00 PM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

* Required information

By registering, I agree to the Privacy Statement and Terms of Service.