The proposed project The Greater Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere is collaboration between Perth-based artists Abdul Abdullah, Casey Ayres and Nathan Beard, tied directly to each artist’s experience of being raised in Australia with the influence of an Asian parent. The outcome of this project aims to accommodate production of a body of work that implicates our cross-cultural upbringing within the context of a Western visual culture that is savvy of the effects of multiculturalism through the modern age of globalization. Specifically, the project will be concerned with how we struggle to reconcile a sense of cultural sensitivity and anomie, fully belonging to neither an Eastern nor Western condition.
The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere is an arcane concept created and developed by the Japanese Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe, in the 1940’s, related to a desire to create a unified “Greater East Asia”, a block of self-sufficient Asian nations free from Western imperialist influences and led by the Japanese. For the Next Wave Festival in 2012, this failed imperialist concept provides a theme and narrative for this collaborative project. The Greater Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere aims to be a working facsimile of a traditional embassy space, acting as a stage for performances and happenings and also as a site for the presentation of artworks relevant to the themes of the project completed before the commencement of the festival. Querying and problematising the archaic model of an embassy space aims to explore, interrogate and critique notions of identity, orientalism, globalisation and the internationalised spectacle of art.
The values and goals of The Greater Asia Co-prosperity Sphere will be developed over an extensive period of research and will be an amalgamation of the historical, cultural and religious traditions of the countries that exist within ‘The Sphere’, that include all the countries in Asia and the Asia-Pacific region. Of particular interest to this line of research are the history of cultural paradigm shifts in the region and the utilisation of mass media by the political bodies that executed these shifts.