This roundtable discussion gathers key contributors from Beyond Imperial Aesthetics: Theories of Art and Politics in East Asia, a forthcoming anthology co-edited by the organizers of the roundtable that will be published by Hong Kong University Press in Spring, 2019. By foregrounding aesthetics and art as the sites whereby imperial categories of knowledge and politics are often reinforced but can also be critically undone, the four presenters will discuss how aesthetic imaginations critically intervene into the habituated link between experience and thinking, or between empiricism and theory in East Asian studies today. If aesthetic sense-making produces an experience that necessarily escapes the dominant figures of culture, region, nation, and race as the constituent categories of imperial biopolitics in the past and the present, the discussants will address how an aesthetically grounded theorizing of this experience opens a space of viability that has been unimaginable under regionalist or nationalist mothods of knowledge production.
Naoki Sakai offers a genealogical critique of the mutual constitution of “Europe” as the space of transcendental inquiry and of “Asia” as the location of empirical knowledge production. Sakai finds instances of “imperial aesthetics” that subtends this colonial regime of knowledge production in the works of Takeuchi Yoshimi and Edmond Husserl.
Mayumo Inoue examines painter Adaniya Masayoshi’s abstract landscape paintings of Okinawa under U.S. military occupation and especially his “parergonal aesthetics” that deforms and deconstructs the figurations of “Okinawa” as the site of tradition and of “the U.S.” as the subject that indexes modernity.
Chang-min Yu reexamines key works of the Hong Kong New Wave and reconceptualizes “Hong Kong” itself as a zone of care and intimacy that remains irreducible to the markers of culture or nation.
Steve Choe will serve as moderator.
The roundtable will consist of four 5 to 10-minute presentations and discussion among the presenters and the moderator as well as a Q-and-A with the audience.