Asian Feminist Studio for Art and Research (AFSAR)
Berlin / Amsterdama-fsar.com
From Where I Stand
Asian Feminist Studio for Art and Research (AFSAR) is a Berlin-based initiative and translocal network. Its practice is dedicated to artistic and curatorial research, knowledge production, and community organizing. The group's ongoing project, "From Where I Stand(FWIS)," is a series of reading-led programs that aim to uncover multiple narratives from Asian and diasporic perspectives.
Throughout this journey, we have received generous support from Callie’s Berlin and its sister bookstore, a.p.. We are thrilled to join the NNN Fair at Framer Framed, continuing this journey with our FWIS working group members Eugene Hannah Park, Emily Shin-Jie Lee, and Jiyoung Kim, who are all based in Amsterdam.
Saturday Session(15th, July) title: Holes for Travelers
Speaker: Eugene Hannah Park
A thousand year old palm-leaf manuscript called Perfection of Wisdom in Eight-Thousand Stanzas was more than a simple manuscript. The manuscript is living proof of trade routes within Asia. Through the rich network between culture and belief, the manuscript became a communication channel from Northern India, Nepal, and Tibet to Central Asia and China through the silk route.
The Holes for Travelers appropriates the palm leaf manuscript's aesthetics, imagining a monk traveling across the desert and mountain to learn and spread knowledge. The core question of the reading group is to discuss transportation and translation of knowledge by traveling. The ancient manuscript that played as a medium of cross-cultural encounter will be the carrier of thinking practices of translation beyond the Western-centralized perspective. How can knowledge be shared across different localities and languages? Will learning as a motivation help us overcome tourism? By looking into various texts connected by a string(reading) through holes(keywords), the audience is invited to navigate multiple passageways of traveling.
Sunday Session(16th, July) title: Unfolding Everyday Practices: A collective reading on Intimacy and safe space
Speaker: Emily Shin-Jie Lee & Jiyoung Kim
This reading session, co-organized by Framer Framed researchers Jiyoung Kim, Emily Shin-Jie Lee and artists M.C. Julie Yu and Lu Lin, features stories of banal objects, everyday bodies, and routine labor. Starting from M.C. Julie Yu’s essay In a Masseur’s Mind and Lu Lin’s zine project Reading My Panties, the session aims to create a space for collective reading, sharing, and discussion around the notion of intimacy and safe space from (migrant)women’s perspectives.
M.C. Julie Yu’s ‘In a Masseur’s Mind, published by Errant Journal #3, Discomfort, tells three stories of a migrant masseur, that shift around layers of the discomfort of the profession through the lenses of race, gender, nationality, and stigmatization. Julie furthermore links these complexities to the disappointed global labor chain structure. Since the publishing of the essay, Julie has been staying with the massage work not only to pay up her study loan but also to practice rethinking and reclaiming this position that once made her feel trapped. Her collaborative work with Sol Enae Lee is associated with this rethinking journey and will participate in the Non Native Native Fair, this year.
Discussing or revealing panties is considered taboo, improper, and defiant, resulting in an unconscious sense of shame surrounding women's identities due to intimate and unspoken circumstances. Reading My Panties is a zine created through correspondence initiated by Lu Lin and responded to by anonymous individuals. Recognizing the similarities in women's experiences, she utilizes this zine as a space to open up conversations in the cross-cultural context. During her session, Lu will share the stories behind the zine creation and read excerpts from the text to provide a better understanding of the context.
Asian Feminist Studio for Art and Research (AFSAR) was founded by Mooni Perry and Hanwen Zhang in 2020 and joined by Eugene Park and Yu'an Huang in 2022, with the aim of establishing connections between contemporary art, scholarly discourse, and activism anchored in (Asian) Feminist thought. The prefix ‘Asian’ evokes ESEA localities to conceptualise a space for engaging in dialogues with diverse partners. Localities are also manifested in diasporic people’s engagement with their place of residence, the land of their heritage, and places beyond. AFSAR constructs a place for archiving contemporary feminist discourse and artistic research. Its online platform serves as a decentralised virtual space that brings together a wide range of practitioners from a variety of disciplines, fostering collective research to develop and support sustainable interactions.
Eugene Hannah Park explores the possibility of learning by collective minds. Her practices intersect different histories and localities, creating schisms and holes in the homogenous hegemony. She curates and produces tools and platforms as an ingredient to share questions and translate worlds; and is interested in collaborating to create the carrier of plural futurity.
Jiyoung Kim works at Framer Framed in public programs and research. Her current focus is on developing a new methodology of research by facilitating cross-national, interdisciplinary conversations between Europe and Asia.
Emily Shin-Jie Lee currently works at Framer Framed with a focus on art residencies and cross-institutional collaborations. Since 2022, she has been conducting a PhD project at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA) at the University of Amsterdam, in which she studies art residency and its critical engagement with ecological, feminist and decolonial inquiry.