SOUTHEAST ASIAN ARTS FORUM 2023:  Sustainability 2.0: Coding the World that Will Remake Itself

Orang Asli, commonly known as indigenous people, perform the symbolic healing ritual of Sewang.

The Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) presents Southeast Asian Arts Forum 2023: Sustainability 2.0: Coding The World That Will Remake Itself, a two-day hybrid forum hosting livestreamed presentations, performances, and dialogues. The Forum is a continuation from last year’s sustainability-centred theme, “Imperishable: Sustainable. Arts. Together.” which saw over 300 online and in-person attendees over the two days. Against the backdrop of deepening social and environmental issues, this year’s edition continues to inspire and highlight creative practices aimed at attaining harmony between humans and our surrounding ecology.

The Southeast Asian Arts Forum aims to forge and nurture connections through facilitating critical discourse on practice, politics, and education of creative arts. Organised by the Institute of Southeast Asian Arts (ISEAA) at NAFA, this fourth edition of the Forum will see 11 regional artists, designers, artisans, and scholars from a gamut of creative and academic disciplines, gather at the academy to speak on the concept of sustainable consumption and production.

With a diverse representation of artists and speakers from countries such as Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam; the Forum highlights artistic practices metaphorising an algorithm which subconsciously codes a new pattern of behaviour. A key speaker includes Vietnamese art practitioner KieuAnh Nguyen from Ba-Bau Art Collective, touching on their work, On the

(non)physicality of space that discuss the possibilities of creating spaces as platforms beyond the constraints of physical spaces.

Malaysian-based writer and researcher, Wen Di Sia, will be sharing about the indigenous arts and culture, particularly in topics such as indigenous knowledge, cosmologies, and eco-critical thoughts in Rivers, Rituals, and Ruai: A Cosmology of Care. Understanding humanity’s relationships with nature, Wen references the rich system of beliefs, practices and traditions upheld by The Semais, one of Malaysia’s largest Indigenous groups and how the connection to their ancestral lands’ ecosystem and environment imparts a valuable lesson in temperance and moderation.

A snippet from Avashesh by Shuchita Kapur

NAFA student and creative practioner Shuchita Kapur, will take the audience on a journey into the subconscious, inspired by Hindu practices. Facilitating a conversation between the subconscious and materials that comes from the earth, incense – Shuchita created a ritual of her own to form symbols representative of her dreams. Avashesh welcomes viewers to peek into the artist’s subconscious as they lay down and ponder their own.

Latest performance by Flying Balloons Puppet, SOSI: Pieces of Reminiscence, explores relations between puppet, object, and actor.

Inspired by the interaction of the Pemali River and humans, Indonesian puppet theatre company, Flying Balloons Puppet, interprets the complex relationship into a theater performance of objects and bodies. Jala Lan Jana: The Everlasting Dance explores the inseparable demands of modernity as well as the intense culture of consumerism and hopes for the audience to consider a future where humans are not the exclusive focus of existence.

Join us at the Southeast Asian Arts Forum 2023. We welcome you to participate in this assembly for artists and educators – join us online, or via small live audience groups at NAFA. Participants are to register their interest at