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Call for Papers: ANTENNAE. The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture 


Call for Papers:  

ANTENNAE: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture 

‘Uncontainable Natures: Southeast Asian Ecologies and Visual Culture’

Guest-editors: Kevin Chua, Lucy Davis, and Nora A. Taylor


For this issue of Antennae: Journal of Nature in Visual Culture, the editorial team seeks submissions from writers, artists, curators, and cultural theorists working with nature, ecology, and post-humanistic philosophy in Southeast Asia.

The past few decades have seen a resurgence of forms of containment in Southeast Asia, whether political (new governmental exclusions and repressions) or epistemological (new scientific understandings of nature). More acutely, certain governments and non-governmental organizations have utilized and underwritten a politics of nature, instrumentalizing nature for their own ends. This issue will gather papers and artistic contributions that contest this new reality. How have recent “scientific” understandings of nature in the region reaffirmed capitalism? How is nature uncontained and uncontainable in Southeast Asia?

It is a truism to say that the extended region of Southeast Asia – which encompasses the Western shores of the South China Sea, the Eastern shores of the Indian Ocean and the archipelagoes of Indonesia and the Philippines – has its own diverse yet particular ecologies. Nor is it any surprise to find various permutations of climate disasters and climate crimes in the region, from deforestation, haze, land reclamation, mudslides, to seas of plastic and flooding. This issue will propose new ways of thinking about nature as politically and epistemologically uncontainable, ungovernable, and irreducible. How have artists thought and practiced in interconnected lifeworlds – making ecology (a) practice – via an engagement with regional geographies, cultures and histories? How have artists drawn on indigenous animisms or the colonial production of “nature” to create an eco-politics of the present?

Ultimately, Uncontainable Natures seeks to push against the ever-recurring specter of anthropocentrism. From China to Singapore, technological “fixes” to climate change tend to reinstall human centrality. How have artists and exhibitions critically engaged anthropocentric tropes of colonial natural history or modern representations of the natural world? How have non-human actors intervened in or subverted modern orders of representation? How do pre-modern nonhuman agents or spirit ecosystems animate contemporary art practices in urban Asia? How have artists working with biology and new technologies in Southeast Asia troubled anthropocentric hubris, expanding our understanding of what it means to be human? How have they challenged deep-seated notions of “life,” and questioned capitalistic vitalisms of various kinds? How has our current ecological crisis brought about new porous understandings of the entanglement of nature and culture in the Southeast Asian region?


Topics considered include, but are not limited to:

Climate change, past and present

Political economics of nature

Species loss

Rights to land, air and water



Ghosts, spirits, specters

Spirit lives of objects

Feminist, LGBTQ/ intersectional recuperations of ‘traditional’ eco-lore

Non-human ecological agents: animals, plants, mountains, forests, oceans

Ecological ramifications of recent archaeological research (for example the Sulawesi cave paintings) and associated art historical shifts

Non-visual sensual ecologies and knowledges: sonic, haptic, energetic fields

Urban nature cultures

New migrant species, viruses or bacteria

Critical technological interconnectivities

Critical internet ecologies and cosmologies

Science fictional and speculative ecologies

Southeast Asian eco-hack-and-tinkerings

Politics and cultures of waste


Guest Editorial Team

Dr. Kevin Chua is Associate Professor of Art History at Texas Tech University, USA, where he writes and teaches on 18th and 19th century European art, and Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian art. He obtained his PhD in the History of Art from the University of California at Berkeley, and has published widely on tigers in colonial Singapore, Nanyang painting of the 1950s, Simryn Gill, Donna Ong, Ho Tzu Nyen, Jeremy Sharma, Guo Liang Tan, Charles Lim, and the Migrant Ecologies Project. His work has appeared in Representations, Art History, Art Journal, Third Text, Yishu, and FOCAS: Forum on Contemporary Art and Society.

Lucy Davis is a visual artist, art writer and founder of The Migrant Ecologies Project. Her international publishing, and multi-award winning film and exhibition practice encircles natures and cultures, materialities and memories, primarily but not exclusively in Southeast Asia. Alongside Migrant Ecologies publications, Lucy has been a Southeast Asia Contributor for ANTENNAE, The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture and has contributed to: Why Look at Plants?; Performance Research; Mountains and Rivers (without) End: An Anthology of Eco–Art History in Asia; Intercalations 3 Reverse Hallucinations in the Archipelago; Considering Animals; The DOCUMENTA #12 READER; BROADHSEET Art & Culture; Art Asia Pacific; Inter-Asia Cultural Studies; NU The Nordic Art Review. Lucy was Founding Editor of the journal FOCAS Forum on Contemporary Art & Society 2000-2007. She was also founding faculty member of the School of Art Design & Media Nanyang Technological University 2005-2016. In 2016 she was forced to leave Singapore in 2016 following a government intervention in her residency status. From 1 August 2018 Lucy will be Professor of Practice in the Master’s Degree Programme in Visual Cultures, Curating and Contemporary Art at Aalto University, Finland.

Dr. Nora Annesley Taylor is the Alsdorf Professor of South and Southeast Asian Art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the author of Painters in Hanoi: An Ethnography of Vietnamese Art (Hawaii 2004 and Singapore 2009). She is also editor of Studies in Southeast Asian Art: Essays in Honor of Stanley J. O’Connor (Cornell SEAP 2000) and co-editor of Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art, An Anthology (Cornell SEAP 2012) as well as numerous essays on Modern and Contemporary Vietnamese and Southeast Asian Art on topics ranging from art historiography, performance, gender and memory.


Submission guidelines:

Academic essays = length 6,000-10,000 words

Artists’ portfolio = 5/6 images along with 1,000 words max statement/commentary

Interviews = maximum length 8000 words

Fiction = maximum length 8,000 words

Roundtable discussions = 5,000 words



Abstracts: August 31st 2018 (Please submit a 350 words abstract along with a CV and one or two images)

Selection process is finalized and feedback sent by: October 31st

Submissions of final pieces: March 31st

Please email any questions to: Giovanni Aloi: Editor in Chief of Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture (