7 – 12 June 2010, National University of Singapore

Theme: City, Technology, Tradition

The questions the forum hopes to provoke are: What is the nature of the relationships between the Asian city, technology and tradition? How do we reshape or rethink our current perceptions and attitudes towards tradition, and in the process, rethink the way we approach our cultural practices, particularly through the performing and visual arts?

The forum will take a process-driven approach. Lectures, workshops and field trips are designed to weave together theories, personal practices and observations of the city that is called Singapore.

Participating lecturers, workshop facilitators from EML and field trip leaders are cultural practitioners, architects, historians and sociologists who will attempt to provide a unique experience of sharing and collaboration. The field trips to often contrasting areas such as The Padang, Kampong Glam, and Outram are organised to allow explorations and observations into the city’s urban spaces, their physical and social transformations and different attempts at conservation.

In the course of their explorations, EML will help participants to collect sound or visual materials which are useful for their respective practices.

EML will also provide assistance and the use of technical equipment where required by participants to facilitate hybrid projects which may involve electronic components.

Singapore city is an urban backdrop in facilitating reflections on the complexities that exist between the city, modern technology and what is commonly understood as tradition. The city, as a landscape, is presented as a space of unlimited contradictions, where ethnic, religious, linguistic, historical, and class lines are continually contested and re-imagined. Tradition, therefore, is not approached as a static or unchanging concept rooted firmly in the past, but as an evolving expression of identity, shaped by the people’s sense of self, community and history.

In many ways, Singapore typifies the relentless transformation of the Asian city marked by massive change and historical linkages. Technologies associated with communication and consumption are amongst the major driving forces of this constant transformation. With the movement towards global city status and encouraging a more intense mobility of peoples and information, technology not only reshapes the city and society but also encourages certain ideas of “tradition” which need to be sustained. It is along these lines that the 8th ASEAN Youth Cultural Forum seeks to investigate the continuing relevance of tradition in Asia’s ongoing project towards global cosmopolitanism.