Stranger Next Door Lecture Series (Grilling Borders Satellite Program)

Stranger Next Door Lecture Series (Grilling Borders Satellite Program)

After the launch of Grilling Borders: 2024/2025 Art-Actor Network in May 2024, TheCube Project Space will initiate its satellite project Stranger Next Door Lecture Series on 29th June, creating a pathway to understand unfamiliar history, politics, societies, and culture of Taiwan’s Southeast Asian neighbors. This is part of TheCube’s Act for the Future project.

Stranger Next Door Lecture Series in the summer of 2024 starts from reflections on Grilling Borders. TheCube invites 3 groups of researchers, writers, and artists from Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan to deliver 3 lectures from the perspectives of literature, visuals, history, society, and politics. A multi-dimensional discussion on ethnic and national borders will take place at TheCube on 3 consecutive Saturday from 29th June. The word “Stranger” in the original Greek text refers to “the people outside the fence, that is, the alien people.” Stranger Next Door Lecture Series originated from some thoughts on Taiwan’s southward policy. The exchanges and transactions carried out under the policy are like the construction of relationships with strangers. Through the unconsciousness or subconsciousness hidden under the word “stranger (person)”, Stranger Next Door Lecture Series hopes to loosen the invisible borders or boundaries and develop an action to understand the gaps in each other’s historical, social, political, and cultural networks.

Grilling Borders: 2024/2025 Art-Actor Network satellite project Stranger Next Door Lecture Series will then continues in 2025.

6/29 – 7/13   Stranger Next Door Lecture Series

[6/29]  May 13: The body, Memory, Gender and Beyond

Speaker: Show Ying Xin (Lecturer , School of Culture, History and Language, Australian National University)
Discussant:  Ku Yu-Ling (Associate Professor, School of Humanities, Taipei National University of the Arts)
Time : 2024.06.29 (Sat), 2pm – 4pm
Venue:  TheCube Project Space, Taipei

★ This event is conducted in Mandarin, speaker will present online and have a conversation with discussant on site.

The numbers “513” have long become a symbol in Malaysian history. Racial conflict, violence, the official death toll of 196, declassified files, the New Economic Policy, national unity, the plights of the Chinese community… It seems that there is an invisible watershed that separates Malaysia before and after May 13, 1969, dividing the past from the future. What was once is no longer there, and what follows is fraught with unspeakable difficulties. Half a century later, while the “truth” of May 13 remains elusive, it has been a subject of concern for writers and artists, continuously reimagined in various forms. This talk focuses on the recurring themes of bodies and memories in narratives about May 13, especially highlighting the female characters penned by women writers. How are their memories of May 13 different? Can we have different memories of May 13? What stories and emotions do their bodies convey that are distinct from male/national memories of May 13?

[7/6]  The Malay’s Trauma Memory of the Malayan Communist Party

Speaker: Richard Yeoh  (Researcher, Social, Economic and Democracy Advancement Project)
Date:  2024.07.06 (Sat), 2pm – 4pm
Venue: TheCube Project Space, Taipei
Registration |

★ This event is conducted in Mandarin.

The Malayan Communist Party played a pivotal role during various stages in Malaysia’s history, including World War II, the post-war British colonial period, the independence of Malaya in 1957, and the founding of Malaysia in 1963. The government of Malaysia has continuously reconstructed and disseminated anti-communist narratives according to historical contexts and political needs, indirectly creating incommensurability among different ethnic and memory groups. Facing up to each other’s tragic experiences and  the complex structure behind traumatic memory and national history would be a possible path to reconciliation and resolving the dichotomy between different memory paradigms and historiography of nationalism in Malaysia.

[7/13]  On The Same Lifeboat with Those I Hate

Artists:  Irwan Ahmett and Tita Salina (Indonesian Artistic Duo)
Sound Collaborator:  Jared Xu
Date:  2024.07.13 (Sat), 2pm – 4pm
Venue: TheCube Project Space, Taipei

★ This event is conducted in English and Indonesian language, Chinese translation available.
★ This event is in collaboration with The Inconvenience in the Southern Linguistics Project.

Since 2018, Irwan Ahmett has periodically undertaken the Ziarah Utara (Pilgrimage to the North)  by walking along the northern coastline of Jakarta. In the process, it took him more than 15 days to cover a distance of approximately 150 km. This slow process impacted his sensory perception when faced with the anthropocentric tsunami, the situation of conscience poverty, or the future spaces submerged in a sea of industrial-natured humans. After the journey, Irwan revisited certain points where he intuitively released the anchor of his soul. He poured out interventions expressing his anxiety towards the impurity that faithfully clings to the land, water, and air of Jakarta city.

Anchoring the soul began with adopting an abandoned old boat named Sri Rumput from the waters at the end of Muara Angke. Irwan weaves narratives that are scattered by drawing the boundaries of personal gaps and treading the meaning of individuality amidst the tempting hustle and bustle of a collective spirit fiercely promoting harmony. He too was carried away in melancholic solitude and flooded his memories with non-human relationships, exposing the bright and dark sides into a spectrum of feelings that further fueled his obsession with Sri Rumput. In locked situations, forced to face the regime of self-censorship, strategizing with bureaucracy, and savoring the taste of hypocrisy when swallowing his own spit.

After casting off bad luck through a mystical coastal ritual, the journey of Sri Rumput continued in pursuit of the dream of conquering the sea wall. Skeptically, Irwan rowed his imagination, tossed by ambition, past the islands of illusion, towards the peak of the phantom mountain shrouded in an invisible substance.\

Satu Sekoci Dengan Yang Kubenci (On The Same Lifeboat with Those I Hate)” is an exposition of a series of interventions by Irwan Ahmett, consisting of several works that have been and are being carried out. As an artist, he intends to breathe an atmosphere of discomfort, create sparks of risk, and explore the estuaries of reality that resonate on the edge of disharmony.

About Grilling Borders

The unfixed and unknown fluid state of invisible borders, are like organisms that transforms with different contexts and conditions. The Chinese character “烤” (kǎo) is used as a homophone for “考” (kǎo), which means “to investigate” or “to excavate”. It points to the meaning of textual research and excavation, and on the other hand, borrows its connotations of heat and the gathering of heat and temperature. In the late 19th century, photographic imaging and development techniques often resulted in overexposure or even combustion due to excessive contact between the single-frame image on the film and fire or light, ultimately leading to the destruction and even death of the image. The fluidity of “borders” and the gathering characteristics of “grilling” seem to be a paradox, but fluidity and gathering also happen to form organic, non-fixed, and meaningful multiple combinations through the dynamics of the two, echoing and unfolding the notion of “border” as something organic. Through the fluidity of the “border” and the unstable scene formed by the idea of “grilling”, Grilling Borders focuses on the dialectic of border imaging, launching an exploration journey of the boundaries of geopolitics, skin color, nationality, nature, and images.                                      

Taiwan, located on the border between the South Sea and the East Sea, has been developing interactions with Southeast Asia region following the flow of monsoon since a long time ago. The path for Grilling Borders: 2024/2025 Art-Actor Network follows the trajectory and season of the monsoon, re-opening the possible imagination on borders between Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia. 

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