Miss Chloe Ho4, Miss Katherine Bruhn1, Mr. Laurence Marvin S. Castillo4, Miss Anissa Rahadiningtyas2, Mr. Syed Muhammad Hafiz3
1University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, United States of America, 2Cornell University, Ithaca, USA, 3National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore, 4University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
Spirituality and religious practice permeate everyday Southeast Asian life. With a long history of indigenous beliefs, exposure to world religions through processes like maritime trade and the rapid movement of peoples in the contemporary era, religion is everywhere. Yet, at the same time, religion is seemingly nowhere in contemporary discourse concerning Southeast Asian creative practices.
Organized around an interest in the role that the spiritual may play in creative practices including contemporary art, film, music and architecture, this double panel moves beyond a defensive argument for the presence of religion and spirituality in art from Southeast Asia. Instead, it asks what we may gain or lose by engaging spirituality as an alternative frame for the examination of creative practices across Southeast Asia. Through an investigation of how we might begin to define an “aesthetics of the spiritual” as both unique to and defined by the diversity that characterizes Southeast Asia, we will be raising theoretical and methodological questions that will, in turn, advance further inquiries concerning the role that spirituality, understood as associated with but potentially separate from more formal adherence to world religions, has on the work of creative practitioners in varied fields across the region.