Asia Forum – Fall Digital Gathering 2021

Wednesday 3 November, 12pm GMT: a conversation with artists Irwan Ahmett and Tita Salina, Ho Rui An, and Lawrence Lek

Lawrence Lek, Geomancer, still, 2017. © Lawrence Lek; courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London

Asia Forum invites you to an exciting digital gathering on 3 November 2021, 12pm GMT. Following the last Spring event, this autumn the Asia Forum welcomes artists and curators from Asia and its diaspora to respond to pressing contemporary events. With a focus on the mainstream adoption of digital currency and the surge of non-fungible token assets, amidst ongoing climate change urgencies, this gathering seeks to bridge global concerns of exchange and flow across questions of value, social relations and ecological anxieties. Join artists Irwan Ahmett and Tita SalinaHo Rui An, and Lawrence Lek in exploring diverse notions of ‘liquidity’ via their presentations, followed by moderated conversations with the council members, Annie Jael KwanHammad NasarJohn Tain, and Ming Tiampo, and the public.

Watch the livestream on this page: 3 November 2021, 12pm GMT

The Asia Forum for the Contemporary Art of Global Asias is a new itinerant platform envisioned for discourse surrounding experimental art practices and research that produce hopeful new worlds beyond the North Atlantic. The Asia Forum in 2021/22 is proudly presented by the Bagri Foundation as digital gatherings this spring and autumn, and an inaugural, in person, one-day programme at the historic Fondazione Querini Stampalia in Venice, on 23 April 2022.

The still-unfolding events of the past year have resulted in a fundamental reconfiguring of timelines and work practices. These changes provide an opportunity to imagine with artists, curators, researchers, and activists, new contemporary practices and engage a public eager for debate on urgent issues of climate, democracy, anti-racism, and creative agency for addressing global anxieties through the lens and engine of ‘Asia/s’. 

Through its peripatetic digital and live manifestations, live-streamed via ArtReview in 2021 and 2022, the Asia Forum aims at nurturing a community among diverse artists, curators, thinkers, producers and audiences interested and invested in the arts of global Asias. 

Conceived by Annie Jael Kwan, the Asia Forum works with a council of international curators and researchers, Hammad Nasar, John Tain, and Ming Tiampo, in a sustained dialogue with contributors to navigate the key themes that have arisen in relation to contemporary artistic practices of Global Asias. 

The event is live-streamed digitally via the Asia Forum’s exclusive media partner ArtReview, and is made possible with the additional support of Something Human.


Ho Rui An is an artist and writer working in the intersections of contemporary art, cinema, performance and theory. Working primarily across the mediums of lecture, essay and film, he probes the ways in which images are produced, circulate and disappear within contexts of globalism and governance. He has presented projects at the Bangkok Art Biennale (2020), Asian Art Biennial (2019), Gwangju Biennale (2018), Jakarta Biennale (2017), Sharjah Biennial (2017), Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2014), Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Kunsthalle Wien, Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, Paris, NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore and Para Site, Hong Kong. In 2019, he was awarded the International Film Critics’ (FIPRESCI) Prize at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Germany. In 2018, he was a fellow of the DAAD Berliner Künstlerprogramm.

Lawrence Lek is a London-based artist, filmmaker, and musician. Drawing from a background in architecture and electronic music, he creates fictional versions of real places, reimagined after alternative geopolitical movements and future technological conflicts. Recent projects include the video essay Sinofuturism (1839-2046 AD) (2016), the AI-coming-of-age story Geomancer (2017), the open-world game 2065 (2018), and Nøtel, an ongoing audio-visual collaboration with Kode9 (2016-). His feature film AIDOL (2019) was presented at International Film Festival Rotterdam and transmediale 2020 and at the British Art Show 9 (2021). Lek composes soundtracks and conducts live audio-visual performances, often incorporating playthroughs of his virtual worlds. Soundtrack releases include Temple OST (The Vinyl Factory) and AIDOL OST (Hyperdub). His work has been exhibited widely and he is represented by Sadie Coles HQ. 

Irwan Ahmett and Tita Salina are a self-taught artist duo based in Jakarta. Their work – through performative interventions – brings audiences into the chaotic public space of megapolitan Jakarta, which faces the dilemma of uncontrolled urbanization and pollution. The development of networks in art and activist circles has encouraged their artistic practice to progress towards more profound contexts too. They are currently working on a long-term project related to geopolitical turmoil in the Ring of Fire – Pacific Rim, the region most prone to natural disasters as well as ideological violence. They see their high mobility as the main vehicle to participate in residency programmes, research, field study and exhibitions especially in specific areas, which are often paradoxical (heavenly yet deadly beautiful places on earth). Irwan and Tita want to find answers about planetary anxieties with regard to human existence by means of evolutionary perspectives, and to produce knowledge through arts related to injustice, humanity and ecology.

Working Council

Annie Jael Kwan is an independent curator and researcher whose exhibition-making, programming, publication and teaching practice is located at the intersection of contemporary art, art history and cultural activism, with interest in archives, histories, feminist, queer and alternative knowledges, collective practices, and solidarity. She leads Asia-Art-Activism (AAA), a research network that has presented an active public programme of presentations, talks, workshops, mini-residences and festivals that challenge and complicate notions of ‘Asia’. She currently teaches Critical Studies at Central St Martins, University of the Arts, London, and co-teaches Writing and Curating at KASK, School of Art, in Ghent, Belgium.

Hammad Nasar is a London-based curator, researcher and strategic advisor. He is presently Senior Research Fellow at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, where he co-leads the ‘London, Asia’ project; Principal Research Fellow at the University of the Arts London, Decolonising Arts Institute; and co-curator of British Art Show 9 (2021-22). He was the inaugural Executive Director of the Stuart Hall Foundation, London (2018-19); Head of Research & Programmes at Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong (2012-16); and, co-founded (with Anita Dawood) the pioneering hybrid arts organisation, Green Cardamom, London (2004-12).

John Tain is Head of Research at Asia Art Archive, where he leads a team based in Hong Kong, New Delhi, and Shanghai. He has organized several exhibitions, among them Yasuhiro Ishimoto: Someday, Chicago (2018), “Out of Turn” at the Serendipity Arts Festival in Goa (2018) and “Women Make Art History” and “The Body Collective” during Art Basel Hong Kong (2018, 2019), and most recently, Crafting Communities (2020), which looks at the confluence of feminism, crafts, and social practice in the biennial series of Womanifesto events organized in Thailand from 1997 to 2008.  In 2019-20, he co-convened MAHASSA (Modern Art Histories in and across Africa, and South and Southeast Asia, 2019-2020), a collaboration with the Dhaka Art Summit and the Institute for Comparative Modernities at Cornell University.

Ming Tiampo is Professor of Art History, and co-director of the Centre for Transnational Cultural Analysis at Carleton University. She is interested in transcultural models and histories that provide new structures for understanding and reconfiguring the global. She has published on Japanese modernism, global modernisms, and diaspora. Tiampo is an associate member at ici Berlin, a member of the Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational Advisory Board, a fellow at the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art on the London, Asia project, a founding member of TrACE, the Transnational and Transcultural Arts and Culture Exchange network, and co-lead on its Worlding Public Cultures project.

Bagri Foundation

The Bagri Foundation is a UK registered charity, inspired by unique and unexpected ideas that weave the traditional and the contemporary of Asian culture. The Foundation, with its roots in education, is driven by curiosity and a desire to learn, and aims for each project to challenge, engage and inspire. Through a diverse programme of film, visual arts, music, dance, literature and talks, the Bagri Foundation gives artists and experts from across Asia and the diaspora, wider visibility on the global stage. Recent projects include Chang/ce, a series of digital animations; Tantra: enlightenment to revolutionat the British Museum; Navigating Change: Pivoting and Re-envisioning the Arts; and From Here to Eternity: Sunil Gupta, A Retrospective at The Photographer’s Gallery, London. 

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