Sight & Sound: Conference on War and Conflict in Asia
Cover image: A still from recently uncovered footage of Korean 'comfort women' in Japan's Imperial Army when they were caught by the US-China joint forces in Lungling, China, 1944. Courtesy of US National Archives and Records Administration.
Sight and Sound - Challenges and Ethics of Visual Representations of War and Conflict in Asia
Cable and internet-based news outlets increasingly beam in vivid footage of on-going wars into our homes and handheld screens. This phenomenon is not limited to contemporary events. In museums, portrayals of past conflicts have undergone marked new curating with the availability of new platforms—high definition monitors, interactive interfaces, and impressive aural installations. Thousands of hours of ‘old media’ – film footage and still photographs from archives around the world – have been digitized in recent years. This extensive exposure purportedly imbues us with new knowledge and in some cases with a concomitant responsibility; we are no longer allowed to say we did not know. There is, however, also concern that ‘over-viewing’ risks blurring the distinction between visual media’s critical potential and its naturalizing of violence. Who are the primary stakeholders forming these new narratives – are they journalists, academics, governments, NGOs, victims themselves – how and why do their representations vary? With these considerations in mind, SUTD has invited scholars and journalists in an attempt to addresses the aural, visual, and material representations of war and conflict.
8:30AM Registration (Participants to be seated by 08:55AM)
9:00AM Opening Remarks by Sun Sun Lim, Head of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, HASS
9:15AM Aanchal Malhotra, Museum of Material Memory, New Delhi — “Tracing Migration and Memory of the Partition of India through Material Culture”
10:00AM Nico de Klerk, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for History and Society, Vienna — “A 1912 cinematographic reconstruction of the 1898 Pedir Expedition, Aceh”
10:45AM Coffee Break
11:00AM Keynote: Patricia Spyer, The Graduate Institute, Geneva
11:45PM Thai Panel: Violence and Dissent in the Modern Thai Archives
Chair: Samson Lim, Singapore University of Technology and Design
Malinee Khumsupa, Chiang Mai University — “Virtual Politics and the Coming of Micro-Counter Hidden Transcripts”
Sudarat Musikawong, Mahidol University — “Archiving Political Violence in Contemporary Bangkok”
Clare Veal, LaSalle College — “Nostalgia and nationalism: Facebook ‘archives’ and the constitution of Thai photographic histories”
2:00PM Rohingya Panel: Reporting on the Rohingya: Views from the Field
Chair: Maitrii Aung-Thwin, National University of Singapore
Lam Shushan, Channel News Asia, Singapore — “Ethics of presenting war victims on social media”
Sören Kittel, Funke Media Group, Berlin — “Telling their story means believing them – Ethics and Challenges of Video Reporting at the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh”
Taimoor Sobhan, Fortify Rights, Bangkok
—”VISUAL OVERKILL: ‘Compassion Fatigue’ in Filmed Reporting of the Rohingya Crisis”
Drew Ambrose, Al Jazeera Media Network
— “Beyond the lens: how reporting conditions shape the documentary narrative when reporting on the Rohingya Crisis”
3:30PM Coffee Break
3:45PM Antariksa, KUNCI, Cultural Studies Center, Yogyakarta
— “Co-Prosperity: Art and design in Japanese-occupied Indonesia, 1942-1945”
4:00PM Han Sang Kim, Ajou University — “Can the ‘Comfort Women’ Footage Speak? The Afterlives of the Film as a Document and the Flow of Life”
4:45PM Sandeep Ray, Singapore University of Technology and Design — “Versions of Internment: Chinese-Indians in the Deoli Camp, 1962”
5:30PM Concluding remarks
*Please note that the programme may be subject to changes.
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