The promise of the (foreign) image: post-post-internet art from the Philippines (and other notes from the field)

In the post-1989 landscape of what is now termed global art, the previously untouched artistic peripheries have, seemingly, forced their way to the centre. From India to China, Cuba to Indonesia, both the art and the artists of these formerly marginal regions have come to inject themselves directly within this visual battleground, opening up the contemporary art milieu to practices and practitioners outside of the traditional mainstream.

Yet within this purportedly horizontal landscape, the peaks and troughs of everyday global realities (as much as the swings and roundabouts of global capital) can, of course, be detected. Within the purported flatness lies congestion, within the polished circuit, resistance. In the Philippines, the work of artist and curator Yason Banal in particular explores this particular dynamic, teasing out the disjunctures in global art whilst simultaneously teasing it through a critical display of over-identification. Focusing on his post-internet art practice in particular, his aesthetic of slow broadband, his exploration of the visuality of traffic (both vehicular and virtual), this paper will thus explore how Banal’s work exposes the smooth whiteness of the post-internet as a highly racialized zone. It will explore, through the promise of the foreign image, not simply the uneven ground of global art, but the ways in which practitioners such as Banal have come to artistically explore this friction in their work, the ways they have not just exposed the bumpy terrain but used this imbalance to their advantage. 

Departmental Seminar Michaelmas Term 2017

Fridays, 3.30pm, Lecture Theatre, 64 Banbury Road

Convened by Morgan Clarke and Chris Morton.