ARC Seminar: Midori Yamamura

Thursday, October 20, 2022

4:00 pm — 5:30 pm

Hybrid (see description for details)

Open to the Public

Happiness is not in Affluence but in Hard Labor and a New Sense of Community: Japan's Rural Development Using Art and Alternative Values

Admission Price



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Midori Yamamura

Based on Chapter 4 of my book, I will discuss community-based, site-specific art projects those emerged in Japan’s provinces, the regions typically excluded from a capitalist accumulation machine. The exemplary areas include Benesse Art Site Naoshima (1992-), the Seto Inland Sea, followed by the first Echigo Tsumari Art Triennial (2000-), Niigata, and the Kamikatsu Zero Waste Center, Tokushima. While capitalism gives the slightest concern for social or environmental consequences, these areas suffering from the population decrease and environmental despoliation had to cultivate new ideas and alternative values against politically imposed neoliberal principles that became prominent during Junichiro Koizumi’s cabinet (2001-2006). Furthermore, activities in the provinces significantly increased after the Great Tōhoku Earthquake (2011). Involving residents and youth volunteers from the urban center and nurturing a new sense of community, I will discuss ideas that have arisen from the disruptive experience and the new concept of community, referencing the philosophy of Jean-Luc Nancy.

Midori Yamamura, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Art History at the CUNY Kingsborough, specializes in global contemporary art history focusing on Asia and its diaspora. The author of Yayoi Kusama: Inventing the Singular (MIT Press: 2015) and a co-editor of Visual Representation and the Cold War: Art and Postcolonial Struggles in East and Southeast Asia (Routledge, 2021), as a feminist art historian of color, her interest is in exploring the ideas that emerge in marginal space in society. In Spring 2022, Yamamura co-organized a community-based pedagogical exhibition, UnHomeless NYC (March-April, 2022), with a multi-disciplinary group of scholars and housing activists. The critic Billy Anania assessed the show: “The unhoused can teach a master class on survival.” Her new book, Japanese Contemporary Art Since 1989: Emergence of the Local in the Age of Globalization, examines the impact of technocracy on art in neoliberal society and the new ideas that emerged in the spaces devastated by the globally homogenous value system. She is interested in developing a community-based college teaching and learning.

This is a hybrid event. Participants may choose to attend in person at the Graduate Center, room 5318, or online via Zoom. Please register here to receive Zoom connection details.