Futurographies: Cambodia-USA-France, a Multi-Media Exhibition Exploring Alternate Futures, on View at Parsons School of Design

Sheila C. Design Center, Arnold and Sheila Aronson Galleries, 66 Fifth Avenue

Opening Reception: Thursday, Nov. 19, 6-8 p.m.

*Featuring spoken word performances by Monica Sok and Peuo Tuy*
On View: Friday, Nov. 20 through Sunday, Jan. 10

Cambodian Space Project_Have Visa No Have Rice_2012_video still


NEW YORK, November 5, 2015—The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center(SJDC) at The New School’sParsons School of Designpresents Futurographies: Cambodia-USA-France, an exhibition that re-imagines the shared histories of Cambodia, the United States and France.

While Cambodia, the United States and France share a violent past—colonial repression, war, bombing campaigns, genocide, migrations of refugees, deportations, and forced ‘repatriations’—this multi-media exhibition explores another set of parallel histories in which alternate futures were (and are) written, proposed and even determined. Featuring visual art, photography, music, performance, sculpture, installation and text, it reveals the ways in which people imagine and generate futures in contexts most often represented as ones of crisis, disaster and victimhood.

For example, documents and video demonstrate the outcome of years of U.S. inflicted violence in Southeast Asia that imposes a future in which Cambodian refugees settle in the United States and France where they forge new identities and ways of belonging.  Thirty-five years later, Cambodian-Americans, forcibly “repatriated” by the U.S. to Cambodia, reflect on and demand a relationship to their “home” country—the U.S.— through hip hop and spoken word.

Curated by an interdisciplinary group of students from across The New School, the exhibition is the outcome of an experimental workshop that brought together ethnographic and curatorial methodologies, including 10 months of research in New York with brief fieldwork in Phnom Penh and Paris. It will travel to the Parsons Paris Gallery in April 2016 and is expected to go to Phnom Penh as well.

“We were repeatedly struck by people’s drive to create and tell new—or previously unheard—stories; stories that signal the way people are dreaming new ways of thinking and being into existence,” said the curators. “This creativity is (re)surfacing with full force today in artistic and political movements. In these fragile yet bold gestures, we find an infectious momentum and excitement, an energy that could offer us another window into the past even as it proposes a future.”

Futurographies is the culmination of a series of internationally focused exhibitions in the galleries this fall—from childhood material culture in Cuba to filmmaking from Syria— which reflect our commitment to connecting the work of the university to wider global issues,” said Radhika Subramaniam, director and chief curator of the SJDC.

“Our challenge was to create an entirely new pedagogical experience, combining creative curatorial strategies and ethnographic research methodologies, and to do so while being attentive to three interlinked, yet individually complex, histories,” said Jaskiran Dhillon and Miriam Ticktin who, with Subramaniam, are the New School faculty members who co-led the interdisciplinary workshop. “This was a real experience of encounter, research and reflection for all of us.”

The exhibition features work by Binh Danh, Genealogy of Bassac Group/Pen Sereypagna, The Cambodian Space Project, Chath Piersath, Eng Rithchandaneth, Charles Fox, Stuart Isett, Klap Ya Handz/Sok “Cream” Visal, Komlang Khmer, Dave Kyu, Roland Neveu, Michelle Nugent, Peuo Tuy, Pete Pin, Monica Sok, Studio Revolt/Anida Yoeu Ali and Yim Maline.

Curators: Laura Belik (Parsons School of Design ’16), Elise Gerspach (New School for Social Research ’15), Andrea Gil (Eugene Lang College ’15), Quizayra Gonzalez (Parsons School of Design ’16) and Veija Kusama-Morris (Eugene Lang College ’16)

Faculty Directors: Jaskiran Dhillon, Radhika Subramaniam and Miriam Ticktin.

This exhibition and workshop was made possible with the generous support of the Provost’s Office Innovations in Education Grant; MA Design Studies, a graduate program of the School of Art and Design History and Theory, Parsons; Parsons Cross-School Funds; the Student Life and Outreach Committee, Lang; and the University Student Senate.  Additional support was provided by Global Studies, School for Public Engagement and the New School for Social Research Dean’s Office.

For details on dates and times, visit http://www.newschool.edu/sjdc

The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center (SJDC) is an award-winning campus center for Parsons The New School for Design that combines learning and public spaces with exhibition galleries to provide an important new downtown destination for art and design programming. The mission of the Center is to generate an active dialogue on the role of innovative art and design in responding to the contemporary world. Its programming encourages an interdisciplinary examination of possibility and process, linking the university to local and global debates. The center is named in honor of its primary benefactor, New School Trustee and Parsons Board of Governors Member Sheila C. Johnson. The design by Rice+Lipka Architects is the recipient of numerous awards, including an Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects. Visit http://www.newschool.edu/sjdc.

Parsons School of Design is one of the leading institutions for art and design education in the world. Based in New York but active around the world, the school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the full spectrum of art and design disciplines. Critical thinking and collaboration are at the heart of a Parsons education. Parsons graduates are leaders in their respective fields, with a shared commitment to creatively and critically addressing the complexities of life in the 21st century. Visit http://www.newschool.edu/parsons.

Founded in 1919, The New School was born out of principles of academic freedom, tolerance, and experimentation. Committed to social engagement, The New School today remains in the vanguard of innovation in higher education, with more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students challenging the status quo in design and the social sciences, liberal arts, management, the arts, and media. The New School welcomes thousands of adult learners annually for continuing education courses and calendar of lectures, screenings, readings, and concerts. Through its online learning portals, research institutes, and international partnerships, The New School maintains a global presence. Learn more at www.newschool.edu.


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