Event: Ghost Story Campfire Night Session II
This series of event will simulate the atmosphere of a campfire night, where participants would get to share or listen to supernatural tales, no matter true or imaginary, and reflect on one’s fascination or hidden fears as may be tied to such tales. One may also simply sit around and share food and drinks while listening, for a cool night of recapturing a lost art of storytelling.
Ghost Stories Campfire Night - Session II by Zarina Muhammad
Girls and Ghosts in Trees: Beyond Fatimah Rocker
Friday 16 Sep 2016, 7.30pm
In mapping out an inventory of the otherworldly and the supernatural, where should we begin? Sea-faring, earthy, chthonic, tree-inhabiting, flapping, winged avian spirits have played significant roles in the mythologies and cultural histories of maritime Southeast Asia. How and why do certain monstrous, grotesque, spectral and ethereal entities haunt our imagination? Fanged, shrouded, dismembered, inverted, many of these beings come to garner curious euphemisms or monikers. Yet, why is it that some are represented in more customarily crowd-pleasing, predictably sensationalistic, exoticised and tiresomely clichéd ways than others? Is there such a thing as a region-specific ‘nusantara’ or a Southeast Asian ghost or how valid, accurate or limiting is it to see these figures through the lenses of gender, sexuality, race, age and environmental contexts? With regards to ghosts and all else that we cannot see, what is retained, passed down, adapted or forgotten in cultural memory?
Through sharing stories, revisiting historical texts and questioning the extent art, literature and ethnography lends itself to myth-making and offers a looking glass to shifting human subjectivities, it is intended that this discussion, debate, gathering, seance find ways to destabilize, decentre, expand the voice(s) of the storyteller and expose the ventriloquist we can all be at risk of becoming.
About the Facilitator
Zarina Muhammad is an independent researcher, curator and educator based in Singapore. She lectures on art history and cultural/contextual studies at LASALLE College of the Arts. She is also one of the editors of Body Boundaries, an anthology of women’s writing published by The Literary Centre, Singapore. Currently, Zarina is working on a multidisciplinary research project on cultural translations pertaining to ritual magic, Southeast Asian mythologies, animism and folk religion, sacred sites and the cross/intercultural interpretations of witchcraft. She has presented her work in Indonesia, Cambodia, Japan, Hong Kong and Australia. At present, one of her key projects is to develop a series of collaborative performances that aim to deconstruct and respond to the contested histories, texts and definitions pertaining to the intersections between witchcraft, magic, myth, ethno-medicine, monstrosity, the demonized/ the demonic, gender-based archetypes and the broader contexts of myth-making. She is particularly interested in the intergenerational and interregional translations, appropriations, adaptations and sometimes contradictory, anachronistic and multi-headed quality of these narratives.
[Part of Survey: Space, Sharing, Haunting, curated by Post-Museum]