Skip to main content
Probing Arts and Emergent Forms of Life (Experimental Futures)

Probing Arts and Emergent Forms of Life (Experimental Futures)

Current price: $104.95
Publication Date: May 26th, 2023
Duke University Press
Special Order - Subject to Availability


In Probing Arts and Emergent Forms of Life Michael M. J. Fischer calls for a new anthropology of the arts that attends to the materialities and technologies of the world as it exists today. Fischer examines the work of key Southeast and East Asian artists within the crucibles of unequal access, geopolitics, reverberating past traumas, and emergent socialities. He outlines the work of artist-theorists---including Entang Wiharso, Sally Smart, Charles Lim, Zai Kuning, and Kiran Kumar---who speculate about changing the world in ways that are attuned to its cultivation, repair, and rethinking in the Anthropocene. Their artistic vocabulary not only undoes Western art models and categories; it probes the unfolding future, addresses past trauma, and creates contested, vibrant, and flourishing spaces. Throughout Indonesia, Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam---and from Kumar's experimental dance to Kuning's rattan and beeswax ghost ships to Lim's videography of Singapore from the sea---Fischer argues that these artists' theoretical discourses should be privileged over those of the curators, historians, critics, and other gatekeepers who protect and claim art worlds for themselves.

About the Author

Michael M. J. Fischer is Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Anthropology and Science and Technology Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the author of numerous books, including At the Pivot of East and West: Ethnographic, Literary, and Filmic Arts and Anthropology in the Meantime: Experimental Ethnography, Theory, and Method for the Twenty-First Century, both also published by Duke University Press.