12 November 2016, 6.00 pm – 8.00 pm
To ‘Imagine Utopia’ is to imagine a different future. Perhaps today more than ever we need a new imagination of the future to hold onto. Yet if we need to imagine new utopias this begs two questions, what does it mean in practice to imagine the future and what kind of future should we or can we imagine? To this end we are bringing together writers and artists to discuss the different literary and artistic processes which enable us to imagine utopian futures, through participatory art, Steam Punk writing or experimental fiction and non-fiction. Asking what ‘utopia’ means to them, how it relates to their writing and artistic practice and what is the role of art or writing in achieving utopia today.
Moderator: Sabah Carrim
Sabah Carrim has authored two novels: Humeirah (p. 2012) and Semi-Apes (p. 2015). Both stories are set in Mauritius, where she was born. She is a regular contributor to The Bangalore Review and has publications in Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Journal of Creativity and Human Development, FewerThan500 and CQ Magazine, among others. She is now writing a doctoral thesis on the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. Her first novel Humeirah was the subject of a thesis by Masaryk University, Czech Republic. Her next book, a collection of short stories on Malaysian Education (publisher: Gerakbudaya) will be launched in 2017. Sabah is a law lecturer and currently lives in Kuala Lumpur.
Gina Yap Lai Yoong
Gina Yap Lai Yoong is a storyteller with six published books available in bookstores nationwide. Her trilogy entitled ‘Ngeri’ has been on bestseller lists at bookstores and book fairs. Gina travels the country to gather local stories form unsung heroes to be shared with Malaysians so that we get to know each other better as one nation. She also mentors aspiring writers in their writing journey and contributes actively in the local writing community.
Jay Koh (Doctor Fine Art) is an artist-curator, trained in cross-disciplinary artistic research and active as an independent consultant and evaluator. Jay’s recent research was as a member of the Asian Arts and Performance Consortium funded by the Academy of Finland. He is the founder of iFIMA (international Forum for InterMedia Arts) in 1995 and in collaboration with Chu Yuan, initiated public participative and socially engaged art projects across Europe and Asia such as the Open Academy program in Hanoi, Hue, Ulaanbaatar and Yangon. Jay’s book Art-Led Participative Processes: Dialogue & Subjectivity within Performances in the Everyday (University of the Arts Helsinki, 2015; SRID/Gerakbudaya, 2016) discusses holistic and ethical art processes in working relationship and seeks affirmation across sectors and disciplines. Jay contributes contemporary writings for platforms such as focas, Asia Art Archive and Irish Arts Newsletter, translated in several languages.
His most recent concluded activities include convening the conference and workshop on people-centred processes: arts, education and cross-sector collaboration in Asia Centre, Bangkok and present collaborations are in projects on Art & Health, Art & Pedagogic, Arts Education and working on forthcoming books Performing Politics: Arts & Society and a reader for postgraduate research and studies on people-centred and public engagement processes.
Zedeck Siew used to work in Malaysian media, covering art, culture and parliament. As part of the CENTAUR games collective he co-designed POLITIKO, a card game about Malaysian party politics. He is currently working on an illustrated catalogue of imaginary Southeast Asian animals, Creatures of Near Kingdoms.
Tina Isaacs is a Malaysian litigation lawyer who has published short stories in various local and international publications. She was runner-up for the D.K. Dutt Memorial Award for Literary Excellence in 2015 for her story Dash. Her story Undercover in Tanah Firdaus, which appeared in Fixi Novo’s Cyberpunk: Malaysia was chosen for the Short Story Collection of the 2015 SciFi Film Festival in Parramatta, Australia.
Tina is the founder of the one-and-only inclusive support group for writers in Malaysia, the Malaysian Writers Society. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from University of Tampa, Florida and is presently working on her debut novel.
Follow her work at www.tina-isaacs.com.