Sep 10–23, 2007
New York: usAsia
Interaction: Asian-American in New York and New York in Asia
“New York: usAsia” is the House of World Cultures' contribution to the 6th Asia-Pacific Weeks
Whereas Asian immigrants to the USA historically had a stronger presence on the West Coast, the dissemination of Asian culture due to migration and globalisation has long since reached New York, the former Western cultural capital of the modern era. usAsia presents the creative impulses that have arisen as a result.
The journalist and "world citizen" Ian Buruma will give a lecture positing the thesis that the main current impulses toward a modern global culture are no longer emanating from the Atlantic, but rather from the Asian-Pacific region. The literature programme takes up A Free Life, the latest book by Ha Jin . In it, the author – a Chinese native who since 1985 has resided in America – tells the story of Chinese immigration to the USA. Kiran Desai will continue the literary series as she reads from her book about Indian immigrants in New York.
In the performance programme, four New York artists of Asian descent will experiment with the body as a means of non-verbal communication. Michael Joo will use an expansive installation to investigate the effects of science and the media on consciousness. As if altering a picture, Patty Chang will change the appearance of her body and the background against which it is viewed. Terence Koh , a Beijing native, will give a talk about his work, which revolves around such themes as desire, dependency and emotional fragility. Korean-American artist Nikki S. Lee , who portrays women of disparate social groups, will also reflect on her work in a talk. All four of these artists grapple with current societal phenomena and their impact.
The film programme examines the subject of the immigrant – the "other" – in comedies that take the differences between life in the ancestral country and the "New York way of life" as a basis for incisive and humorous characterisations.
In the concert programme, NYC becomes a figurative screen onto which Asian musicians cast their interpretations of bebop, the jazz style most closely associated with New York. Every continent is home to musicians young and old who dream of the days – or rather nights – of Birdland and the Village Vanguard, and for whom the likes of Charlie Parker, Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk have the status of saints. When they cross their bebop passion with native musical idioms, interesting things happen. The programme features three ensembles that in this way open up a new vantage on New York, as well as on the creation of music in their home countries. Japanese pianist and composer Koji Ueno rediscovers 1950s-style jazz by way of punk rock and the Japanese electronic avant-garde. Indra Lesmana, the leading jazz pianist of Indonesia, will present his reading of bebop with a small band. Finally, Du Yinjiao from Beijing will deliver proof of bebop's startling influence in long-insulated mainland China.
"New York: usAsia" is presented as part of "Asia-Pacific Weeks 2007 – Asia-Pacific: Changing the World". Asia-Pacific Weeks receives funding from Stiftung Deutsche Klassenlotterie Berlin DKLB.