Cultural practices shape and alter spaces, often reflecting or impacting spatial dimensions in everyday and ritual life-worlds. They likewise respond to and generate social reproduction, the constitution of particular groups, communities, societies at large. Moreover, cultural production such as art, literature, and media allow for the circulation of ideas and concepts, and have thus been of interest to ‘global studies’ as much as transculturalism or transregionalism. In this vein, they have also been relevant for a critical rethinking of area studies.
However, we propose that a more systematic focus on the ways in which art or media (which includes producers, prosumers, biographies of art works or media productions) would better allow us to study the ‘Shaping’ of Asia. This topical line does not limit itself to the study of art works, or media products, but sees their relevance in socio-political practices such as media or art activism, global protest movements on local scales, the production of populist or democratising rhetoric, or reflections on labour (national or transnational) and urban lifestyles.
Our effort to pay attention to connectivities, comparison and collaboration seems particularly fertile and timely for grasping the role of art, media and aesthetics in “Shaping Asia”. This may concern media practices not only in everyday worlds (heritage, creativity) and artistic practice in the context of globalising art markets and urbanisation, but also the ways in which they reflect changing dynamics of work conditions, of demographic change or notions of media publics, citizenship and civil society.