2015/2016 Curation Topic
Trans-forming Scenes: Reconstituting Democracy

In the past few years, we have witnessed an upsurge of political movements demanding functional democracy in different Asian countries. Anxiety and anger is accumulating among the younger generation, as the western form of democracy that they witness everyday online is absent from their offline reality. But is constitutional democracy, which is fundamentally a cultural import from the modern west, suitable and moreover adaptable to contemporary Asian countries? Concepts such as open public space, the coexistence of the individual and society, and freedom of expression are now being intellectually adopted in many Asian countries before even debating whether or not these ideas actually accommodate our physical reality. Without concrete discussion and conceptualization, what could be called “opaque democracy” is becoming ever pervasive. The question that we pose for the first two years of Scene / Asia project is: “Is democracy, as we know it today, really the best political solution in Asian countries?” Together with curated artworks from five different Asian regions, the Scene / Asia team will delve deeply into this topic.