AMP (Asiatic Mode of Production)

07 / 04 / - 16 / 07 / 00
Exhibition / Events

AMP (Asiatic Mode of Production)
forms of contemporary popular asian culture
from a second generation perspective
produced by haus.0 / Ruby Sircar (D)

"Lotus" column, main element in "amp" exhibition design system

see also:
AMP project page


AMP is a project developed through the media narratives created by commissions to Asian participants from various cultural fields.

The project works with issues related to the term "Asiatic Mode of Production", which originally described a shift from feudalism and mercantilism to capitalism, and offered a description of society defined by the outlines of a geographic space.

In the last decade theorist Gayatri Spivak chose to redefine the term AMP for the field of Cultural Studies by referencing it to the developments after colonialism and in terms of globalisation, from independent nation, to vast economic emigration, to cultural 're-colonisation'. Asian cultural production today can not be defined by virtue of geographical boundaries, thus leaving ethnic identity as one parameter. Spivak introduced a changing psychological level to her new definition of AMP, and linked this to the 'Native Informant' (NI), a figure related to a notion of culture bound directly to an actual geographical site and nation. Spivak argues that today the N.I. is now alienated. A contemporary expression of that condition is 'living abroad' - the term used by second-generation Asians to describe their current state of being. For this generation, two main responses appeared to develop - one links back to the security of a mythologized native culture, in order to 'recolonize' it by reflecting an ideal picture of their inherited culture onto the actual existing nation.The other response reflects conditions linked to living abroad, as the material to create a variety of understandings pertaining to the role of culture and identity and new kinds of community formations.

While Spivak's ideas are based on colonial, racist and sexist issues pertaining to the original generation of the Native Informant, Sircar's curatorial narrative goes on to inscribe the second generation NI. This generation creates a new semantics of identity to correspond with a complex reality made through the various projections onto them. One important structuring relationship belonging to 'recolonisation' finds that the previous generation perceive their children in terms of a static picture that mirrors an idealised ‘native’ society, as meanwhile that picture’s actual indexed society is comprised of dynamic cultures that have been transforming family values and societal constructions.

AMP creates mappings of the semantics at work from the second generation NI. In particular, Sircar has selected from popular and contemporary Asian culture relevant to her own point of view, specific to gender and generational themes, in order to assemble perspectives on the changing representation of the category 'woman'. Sircar emphasises the role of women within Asian society as that continues in transition from the private sphere as a cultural heritage to the public education and its particular links to public media. AMP intertwines both the desire to shape a new expression for the feminist struggle to script spaces by creating women's voice anew, and the unique search-patterns set up by the character of the second generation as NI.
Through this interplay AMP suggests the recognition of other notions of cultural identity and community by orienting new links to a mix of past and futures. Already early in its development, bringing together the project AMP raised ideas to initiate a different type of forum for the local second generation, which Sircar makes further manifest in the project. The combination of dialogs shapes the project further, and a reminder of the integral role cultural institutions can play in production for a corresponding interface to the many new semantics underway.