Yamashiro Chikako’s Eco-Fantasy—Toward an Ecosophy of the Island/s

Event time: 
Thursday, February 15, 2024 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm
Humanities Quadrangle (HQ), 136 See map
320 York Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 

This talk delves into Okinawa-born artist Yamashiro Chikako’s (b.1976) recent moving image works. Focusing on the artist’s recent video installations, Chinbin Western: Representation of the Family (2019) and Reframing (2021), this project argues that these works may be seen as a type of eco-fantasy highlighting contentious, and oppressive infrastructural imaginaries. My question specifically concerns what art(-making) can achieve through exposing Okinawa’s colonial status quo, its border politics and security-infrastructural regime, and how works like Yamashiro’s may intervene in the social and intersubjective experience of living under conditions of policing and confinement without turning a blind eye to the deteriorating ecosphere. The concept of eco-fantasy, grounded in Felix Guattari’s ecosophy, is used as a critical heuristic to highlight the affective and emotive connections in Yamashiro’s work between the body, the infrastructural regime, and the ecosphere. I suggest that as a meta-genre of ecological thinking, eco-fantasy defies the differentiations between reality, imagination, and memory, and creates lines of flight that can pierce the entrapping, colonial time loop and envision alternative future(s) for human and nonhuman/other-than-human beings.

Ma Ran is an Associate Professor in the international program of “Japan-in-Asia” Cultural Studies (JACS) and Screen Studies (Eizogaku) at Nagoya University, Japan, and a Harvard-Yenching Institute Visiting Scholar for 2023-2024. Her research intersects Inter-Asia studies, transnational film and screen cultures, and film festival studies, leading to contributions in multiple journal articles and book chapters. Currently, she focuses on the dynamics of translocality, infrastructure, and affects within the context of transnational media across East Asian locales. Ma is also the author of Independent Filmmaking across Borders in Contemporary Asia (Amsterdam University Press, 2019). In addition to her research, Ma has curated screening events for Asian independent films both online and in cities like Osaka, Beijing, Nagoya, and Tokyo.