Curriculum Vitae

PERSONAL DETAILS

DR. SIMON SOON SIEN YONG


BIOGRAPHY

Hello! Welcome to my profile page, where you get to learn a bit about the many many many things I do. I also have a personal homepage, which I hope you will find the time to visit. You can find my academic writings deposited at my academic.edu page.

MY RESEARCH PHILOSOPHY
My research focuses primarily on 19th and 20th-century art and visual culture in Southeast Asia - although the region that I study is framed along two temporally and spatially expansive and overlapping corridors - the Indian Ocean and the Third World. I graduated with a BA (first-class honours) in art history from the University of Melbourne. I also have a second major in English Literature and read a lot of anthropology.

I then received my PhD from the University of Sydney under an Australian Postgraduate Award fellowship (thank you Australia Government!), where I wrote a dissertation on the spatio-visual practices of postwar left-leaning art movements in Singapore/Malaya, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines from the 1950s - 1970s under three awesome supervisors - Adrian Vickers, John Clark and Stephen Whiteman. Over and beyond research, each of them taught me many life-skills to find a home for myself in the otherwise cutthroat world of academia. 

I characterise my research very broadly as social art history, which reflects an interest in approaching 'art history from below'. I also have a broader interest in Asian modernities as a discursive method and in the broader field of art historiography (e.g. how is history being written? By whom and by what means?).

Principally, topics related to how social energies are expressed through visual forms interest me. I do have a strong interest in examining art or cultural phenomenon through understanding them as intersections of history, memory, and mythology. Then, there's also side interest of mine in modern architecture. Much more than critical thinking, I value imaginative scholarships on art and cultural histories that change our understanding of ourselves, the world and our relationships with one another.

I'm also a big advocate of open-access knowledge and sharing research information. I've created a resource guide on digital resources on colonial history of the Malay World and a map of photo studios in Malaysia and Singapore. 

WHAT ARE MY CURRENT OBSESSIONS
Currently, I spend a lot of time exploring empire critique through a 19th and early 20th-century cross-ethnic processional culture that was celebrated on the first 11-13 days of the Islamic New Year (Muharram). The Muharram procession commemorates the martyrdom of the Prophet Muhammad S.A.W.'s grandsons, Hassan and Hussain. But the festival also gained new purpose when indentured migrant labourers and marginalised local communities used the festival's mnemonic reckoning with social injustice as a form to register political presence and disrupt colonial ordering of space and people across the world. Poems, paintings, prints, music culture, photographs, travelogues, ethnographic papers, police report constitute my source materials in theorising the imagistic power of the composite. I hope to develop my research into a book project that looks at how permutative and agglutinative principles underpinning the composite help to produce and distribute a 'pathosformel of Hussain'. A preliminary mapping of my research can be found here.

Another long-term project I've embarked on focuses on the history of art terminologies in the Malay language. It began with a rather innocent question, when was the word 'seni' first used? How did it come to mean 'art'? The project explores the changes to art terminologies across a period of 300 years, accounts for the emergence of new aesthetic registers, and tracks the fertile conversations across the Malay archipelago. Words like tulis, gambar, kontemporari, moden, masakini, sezaman, seni rupa baru, lukis, hikmat are examined genealogically. A preliminary study can be viewed here. I hope to write a different kind of cultural history of the Malay language, to understand what makes the undercurrents of desire political, and how do they shape our sense of beauty.

MY LIFE BEFORE ACADEMIA
Prior to undertaking academic research, I have worked as a curator in the field of Southeast Asian modern and contemporary art. My experiences range from staging independent pop-up exhibitions and happenings in abandoned shophouses, curating for up-scale commercial galleries, churning out auction catalogue entries, running an arts blog for two years, participating in art residency programmes and going on research trips across Asia. As I was figuring life out, I also started doing some hard thinking about the places I was traveling to across Southeast Asia.

When it was time to get serious about my future, I applied for grad school and very luckily got in. Grad school gave me the much-needed space to think and grow intellectually. Upon graduation, I was initially helping to set up ILHAM Gallery. Hence, many of my recent curatorial projects are co-curated with Rahel Joseph for ILHAM Gallery. They include Chia Yu Chian: Private Lives (2019), Gerak Rupa Ubur Penyataan 1957-1973 (2018), Love Me in My Batik: Modern Batik Art from Malaysia and Beyond (2016). My most recent curatorial project with ILHAM is a collaboration with Azril K Ismail and Hoo Fan Chon on 'Bayangnya itu timbul tenggelam: Photographic Cultures in Malaysia' (2020). 

When the opportunity to teach at UM came about, I took up the challenge and here I am. Besides supervising students who are teaching me new things every day, I teach two Masters-level courses, one semester on the art and architecture of Southeast Asia before the 20th century, another semester on modern (and contemporary) Southeast Asian art. I've recently created a resource guide on digital archives related to the colonial history of the Malay World. The resource guide grew out of a number of workshops on 'Researching Colonial History like a Millennial' that I used to run. Those interested can visit the resource guide here.

THE COMMUNITIES THAT I BELONG TO
I am a co-founder and a member of the editorial collective of SOUTHEAST OF NOW: Directions in Contemporary and Modern Art in Asia, a peer-review journal published by NUS Press. I also spend a lot of time at Malaysia Design Archive, an archival, research and education platform on visual cultures of the 20th century. As one of the three heads, I do a lot of community-building work - that includes running workshops (Researching Colonial History Like A Millennial). I used co-host a weekly radio programme called BFM Night School where I get to invite all my geeky friends to come on air to talk about their obsessions. 

Funnily enough, I have also started making artworks! My works have been shown in Warsaw, Yangon, Hong Kong, Dhaka, Bangkok, Shanghai, and Manila. I find art practice to be an important avenue for me to pursue research on a different level - and my art project provides me with opportunities to collaborate with other makers. I tend to focus on the adaptive reuse of historical images found in the public domain to explore their myth-making and story-telling potentials. I think poetically about this as shoring up colonial fragments and debris to produce a new understanding of our place in the world. Check out my work here and here.

PEOPLE I LIKE TO MEET
Other interests of mine include global flows in art, architecture, and visual cultures of Asia (early modern, colonial, modern/contemporary), discursive power of colonial/nationalist visual regimes, mercantile cultures and patronage, migrant cosmologies, cultural histories of political theology, knowledge and power in Buddhist art, Islamicate knowledge networks and cultural imagination across the Indian ocean, urban and spatial histories, modern esoteric movements and ritual practices, museum studies and curatorial practice, abstraction and modernism in Asia and Africa, history of photography, artistic and cultural modernities in the Malay world, anthropology of art, digital humanities and gaming cultures.

To say that my interests are catholic is an understatement :-) Students interested to explore imaginative vectors in any of the above areas of research are welcome to contact me. You can make an appointment to see me by clicking here.

ADMINISTRATIVE DUTIES
(Role),(Level),(Duration)
  • COORDINATOR, Faculty, 23/06/2021 to 23/06/2022
  • Working Committee, National, 01/11/2018 to 01/12/2020
  • COORDINATOR, University Malaya, 01/07/2018 to 01/04/2020
  • COORDINATOR, Faculty, 17/03/2017 to present
  • COORDINATOR, Faculty, 20/08/2016 to present
ACADEMIC QUALIFICATION
(Qualification),(Field),(Institution),(Year)
  • PhD, ARTS, UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
  • BA, ARTS, UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA
MEMBERSHIPS
(Organisation),(Role),(Duration),(Level)
  • SOUTHEAST OF NOW: Directions in Contemporary and Modern Art (Journal, NUS Press), Advisory Board, 2016 to 2022 (International)
  • Malaysia Design Archive, Board of Directors, Since 2016 (National)
  • College Art Association, Member, 2017 to 2018 (International)
SPECIALIZATION
(Area)
Area of Expertise
  • CULTURAL HISTORY (Indian Ocean, Third World, Southeast Asia )
  • community-building, research-practice (museum studies, curatorial practice, contemporary art practice, blog publishing, independent archive prractice)
  • MULTICULTURAL, INTERCULTURAL AND CROSS-CULTURAL STUDIES (Modernities in Asian Art, art historiography, comparative art history, third world aesthetics)
  • POST AND COLONIAL AND GLOBAL CULTURE STUDIES (Global flows in art, architecture and visual cultures of Asia [early modern, colonial, modern/contemporary], social art history, colonial and postcolonial scopic and visual regimes)
  • PUBLICATIONS
    (Title of publication in APA style)
    Refereed Journals
    2020
    • Soon, S. (2020). Decolonizing Art History [Catherine Grant and Dorothy Price]. Art History, 43(1), 46-51. (WoS)
    • Soon, S. (2020). Learning from the Region; Learning in the Region; Learning from the Internet - Teaching the History of Modern and Contemporary Art of Southeast Asia. Southeast of Now: Directions in Contemporary and Modern Art in Asia, 4 (1), March, 117-120 (Non-WoS/Non-SCOPUS)
    • Soon, S. (2020). Descending into Foreignness: Datuk Fatimah and the Home of the Pendatang. South East Asia Research, 28(2), https://doi.org/10.1080/0967828X.2020.1771200 (WoS)
    2019
    • Soon, S. (2018). Creativity in Dissent: From the Politics of Pedagogy to the Art of Pedagogy. Southeast Asian Studies, 7(3), 449-470. (SCOPUS)
    2018
    • Soon, S. (2018). Malay: The Hikmat [Inner Workings] of Seni [Art]: Gambar [Picture], Lukis [to Paint or Draw], Moden/Moderen [Modern], Sezaman [of this Age], Baru [New], Kontemporer/Kontemporari [Contemporary], Kagunan [Beneficial Refinement], Imajan [Imagery]. SOUTHEAST OF NOW: Directions in Contemporary and Modern Art in Asia, NUS Press, October, 2(2), 119-166. (Non-WoS/Non-SCOPUS)
    • Soon, S. (2018). /Cloud/ Watching or Portrait of a Young Artist in 1990s Kuala Lumpur. Afterall Journal. Issue 45 Spring/Summer 2018. 97 - 107. (WoS)
    2017
    • Soon, S. et al (Eds.). (2017). Editorial: Discomfort. SOUTHEAST OF NOW: Directions in Contemporary and Modern Art in Asia. Singapore: NUS Press. (Non-WoS/Non-SCOPUS)
    2016
    • Soon, S. (2016). Images without Bodies: Chiangmai Social Installation and the Art History of Cooperative Suffering. Afterall: A Journal of Art, Context and Enquiry. No. 42 Autumn/Winter 2016, 36-47 (WoS)
    2015
    • Soon, S. 2015. Fabric and the Fabrication of a Queer Narrative: The Batik Paintings of Patrick Ng Kah Onn. Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific. Issue 38, August 2015. (Non-WoS/Non-SCOPUS)
    2014
    • Soon, S. 2014. Converging Extremes: Exhibitions and Historical Sightlines in 1990s Malaysia. Yishu Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art. Vol. 13 No 2, March 2014 : 85 - 97. (Non-WoS/Non-SCOPUS)
    2012
    • Soon, S. 2012. Spatio-Temporal Currency: The Kalachakra Sand Mandala as Cultural Object in Performance. Modern Art Asia. Issue 12. (Non-WoS/Non-SCOPUS)
    Non-Refereed Journals
    2015
    • Soon, S. 2015. Terms of Collectivity. Discipline. Issue 4: 12 - 40.
    Book
    2021
    • Soon, S., Powell, R. and Liyana Hasnan. 2021. BEP 100: BEP Akitek Sdn. Bhd. 1921-2021. Kuala Lumpur: Adaptus Design System Sdn Bhd.
    • Lim, SY, Ong, KJ, and Soon, S. 2021. Banned in KL, Astroboy Rides the wave to Sky Kingdom on a Grasshopper: Malaysia Melalyu Lima Belas Poskad. Kuala Lumpur: Cloud Projects
    2020
    • Soon, S. 2020. Sha'er Datok Keramat dengan Sang Mualim. Kuala Lumpur: OUR Art Projects.
    2019
    • Yong, B., Nur Hanim Khairuddin, Yap, SB.,and Soon S. (2019). Narratives in Malaysian Art Vol. 4: Perspectives, Kuala Lumpur: RogueArt.
    Book Chapter
    2020
    • Soon, S. (2020) Engineering the human soul in 1950s Indonesia and Singapore. In Galimberti, J., de Haro Garc a, N. and Scott, V. (Eds.), Art, Global Maoism and the Chinese Cultural Revolution (pp. 53-66). Manchester: Manchester University Press.
    • Soon, S. (2020). Boria Everywhere in the World: A Penang Burlesque and the Politics of Heritage. In Sharmani Patricia Gabriel (Ed.), Making Heritage in Malaysia: Sites, Histories, Identities. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
    2019
    • Soon, S. (2019). Bearing witness to many private lives. In Rahel Joseph (Ed.), Chia Yu Chian: Private Lives (pp. 66-83). Kuala Lumpur: Ilham Gallery.
    • Soon, S. (2019). Converging Extremes: Exhibitions and Historical Sightlines in 1990s Malaysia. In Yong, B., Nur Hanim Khairuddin, Yap, S.B., Soon, S. (Eds.), Narratives in Malaysian Art Vol. 4 - Perspectives (pp. 148-162). Kuala Lumpur: RogueArt.
    2018
    • Soon, S. (2018). Place of Learning: The Contested Cultural Topographies of Nanyang University and The Chinese University of Hong Kong. in S. Whiteman, S. Abdullah, Y. Low, P. Scott (Eds.) Ambitious Alignments: New Histories of Southeast Asian Art, 1945 - 1990 (pp. 139-163). Sydney and Singapore: Power Publications and National Gallery Singapore.
    2017
    • Soon, S. 2017. On Unlearning and Relearning. Dlm. Tsiung Han See (pnyt). Latihan: Selected Studies by Wong Hoy Cheong, hlm. 4-10. Kuala Lumpur: OUR ArtProjects.
    • Soon, S. (2017). The Woman and the Vista: Intimate Revolt of the Cultural Left.. In S. W. Low and P.D. Flores (Eds.), Charting Thoughts: Essays on Art in Southeast Asia (pp. 202-214). Singapore: The National Gallery of Singapore.
    • Soon, S. (2017). Kedai-kedai. In Nur Hanim Khairuddin (ed.), Bumi Larangan: Zulkifli Dahlan (pp. 40-50). Kuala Lumpur: Dulkifli Dahlan Gallery, Teratak Nuromar and National Art Gallery, Malaysia.
    • Soon, S. (2017). Notes on GRUP. In Rahel Joseph (ed.), Gerak, Rupa, Ubur, Penyataan (pp. 1-20). Kuala Lumpur: Ilham Gallery.
    • Soon, S. (2017). The Athame and Other Malay Weapons: A Postwar Performance and Productive Power. In Cosmin Costinas and Ana Janevski (eds.), Is the Living Body the Last Thing Left Alive?: The New Performance Turn, Its Histories and Its Institutions (pp. 185-89). Hong Kong and Germany: Parasite and Sternberg Press.
    2016
    • Soon, S. 2016. Rethinking Curatorial Colonialism. Dlm. Ute Meta Bauer dan Brigitte Oetker (pnyt). SouthEastAsia Spaces of the Curatorial. Berlin: Sternberg Press.
    • Soon, S. 2016. Reading Tsang Tsou Choi: Margin, Madness and a Hong Kong Avant-Garde. Dlm. Ferreboeuf, R., Noble, F. & Plunkett T. (pnyt). Preservation, Radicalism, and the Avant-Garde Canon. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
    • Soon, S. 2016. Batik and the Grand Design for Modern Art. Dlm Joseph, R., Khairuddin N.H. & Simpson, F. (pnyt). Love Me in My Batik: Modern Batik Art from Malaysia and Beyond, hlm. 6-21. Kuala Lumpur: Ilham Gallery.
    2015
    • Soon, S. 2015. When was East and Southeast Asia's Modernism in Art?: Comparisons and Intersections. Dlm. Lindgren, A. & Ross, S. (pnyt). The Modernist World, hlm. 78-87. London: Routledge.
    • Soon, S. 2015. Moving Suara for Sovereignty: Reading the shifts in 1950's Modern Art Discourse in Malay through Kamus Politik (ENG and MLY). Dlm. Joseph, R. & Khairuddin N.H. (pnyt). Dato' Hoessein Enas: From His Personal Collection, hlm. 116-137. Kuala Lumpur: Ilham Gallery.
    • Soon, S. 2015. Photography and the Grid. Dlm. Wong, H.C., Nge, C. & Tan, J. (pnyt). Ismail Hashim: Essays, Interviews and Archives, hlm. 32-46. Kuala Lumpur: Fergana.
    2013
    • Soon, S. 2013. An Empty Canvas on which many shadows have fallen. Dlm. Khairuddin, N.H., Yong, B., & Sabapathy, T.K. (pnyt). Narratives in Malaysian Art: Vol. II/ Reactions - New Critical Strategies, hlm. 55-69. Kuala Lumpur: RogueArt.
    • Soon, S. 2013. Four Currencies in Contemporary Practice. Dlm. Khairuddin, N.H., Yong, B., & Sabapathy, T.K. (pnyt). Narratives in Malaysian Art: Vol. II/ Reactions - New Critical Strategies, hlm. 319-333. Kuala Lumpur: RogueArt.
    Mass Media(Newspaper,Radio,TV,Popular Magazine)
    2020
    • Soon, S. [speaker] (18 May 2020) "International Museum Day 2020" [radio broadcast] In Sharmilla Ganesan [Producer] BFM The Bigger Picture. Kuala Lumpur: BFM Studio
    • Soon, S. [speaker] (23 October 2020) "Archiving for the Future of Malaysia" [radio broadcast] In Adeline Choong [Producer] BFM Evening Edition. Kuala Lumpur: BFM Studio
    • Soon, S. [speaker] (3 August 2020) "Would You Pay Higher Fees for A Humanities Degree?" [radio broadcast] In LimSue Ann [Producer] BFM The Bigger Picture. Kuala Lumpur: BFM Studio
    2019
    • Soon, S., Lim, C. and Haniff Baharudin [speakers] (17 Oct 2019) "Hong Kong - Everyday Engagement and Intergenerational Reconciliation under Duress" [radio broadcast] In Haniff Baharudin [Producer] BFM Night School. Kuala Lumpur: BFM Studio
    • Soon, S., Chen, E. and Haniff Baharudin [speakers] (14 Oct 2019) "Marginalia - Migrants and Refugees" [radio broadcast] In Haniff Baharudin [Producer] BFM Night School. Kuala Lumpur: BFM Studio
    • Soon, S., with Lee, C. L., Yee, K. Aiman Rashad [speakers] (1 Oct 2019) "New Compulsory Courses in Public Universities" [radio broadcast] In Loo Juosie [Producer] BFM Evening Edition. Kuala Lumpur: BFM Studio
    • Soon, S., with Sharmilla Ganesan, Sumitra Selvaraj, Kelly Anissa [speakers] (30 Aug 2019) "The Daily Digest: What is a Museum in Today s World?" [radio broadcast] In Haniff Baharudin [Producer] BFM The Daily Digest. Kuala Lumpur: BFM Studio
    • Soon, S., and Haniff Baharudin [speakers] (14 March 2019) "Researching the Hidden Narratives of KL" [radio broadcast] In Haniff Baharudin [Producer] BFM I Love KL. Kuala Lumpur: BFM Studio
    • Soon, S., Joseph, R. and Sharmilla Ganesan [speakers] (21 Feb 2019) "The Private Lives of KL City" [radio broadcast] In Sharmilla Ganesan [Producer] BFM Front Row. Kuala Lumpur: BFM Studio
    • Soon, S., Ong, K.J. and Haniff Baharudin [speakers] (23 Sep 2019) "Virtual Lives - A New Kind of Human or a Post-Human?" [radio broadcast] In Haniff Baharudin [Producer] BFM Night School. Kuala Lumpur: BFM Studio
    • Soon, S., Sugiyama, A. and Haniff Baharudin [speakers] (15 Sep 2019) "Western Opera in Asia and Imperial Culture" [radio broadcast] In Haniff Baharudin [Producer] BFM Night School. Kuala Lumpur: BFM Studio
    • Soon, S., Lim, S.Y., and Haniff Baharudin [speakers] (15 Sep 2019) "Remembering a Malaysian Future - Wawasan 2020" [radio broadcast] In Haniff Baharudin [Producer] BFM Night School. Kuala Lumpur: BFM Studio
    • Soon, S. and Haniff Baharudin. [speakers] (18 Sep 2019) "All New Night School" [radio broadcast] In Haniff Baharudin [Producer] BFM Night School. Kuala Lumpur: BFM Studio
    • Soon, S., and Haniff Baharudin [speakers] (30 Dec 2019) "The Weight of Memory" [radio broadcast] In Haniff Baharudin [Producer] BFM Night School. Kuala Lumpur: BFM Studio
    • Soon, S., Luqman Lee and Haniff Baharudin [speakers] (23 Dec 2019) "The Senario of Malaysian Television Culture (1996-2003)" [radio broadcast] In Haniff Baharudin [Producer] BFM Night School. Kuala Lumpur: BFM Studio
    • Soon, S., How, R. and Haniff Baharudin [speakers] (16 Dec 2019) "Fostering Discussion on Land Justice in Singapore" [radio broadcast] In Haniff Baharudin [Producer] BFM Night School. Kuala Lumpur: BFM Studio
    • Soon, S., Rodrigue, F.N., and Haniff Baharudin [speakers] (9 Dec 2019) "Interconnected Histories of Zamboanga" [radio broadcast] In Haniff Baharudin [Producer] BFM Night School. Kuala Lumpur: BFM Studio
    • Soon, S., Wan Azriq and Haniff Baharudin [speakers] (2 Dec 2019) "Social Media in the 19th Century Malay World" [radio broadcast] In Haniff Baharudin [Producer] BFM Night School. Kuala Lumpur: BFM Studio
    • Soon, S., Smith, C.C., and Haniff Baharudin [speakers] (15 Sep 2019) "Crossing Knowledge Boundaries in the Early Modern World" [radio broadcast] In Haniff Baharudin [Producer] BFM Night School. Kuala Lumpur: BFM Studio
    • Soon, S., Qaleeda Thalib, and Haniff Baharudin [speakers] (11 Nov 2019) "The Ajaib-khana - The Museum Today and Wonder" [radio broadcast] In Haniff Baharudin [Producer] BFM Night School. Kuala Lumpur: BFM Studio
    • Soon, S., Joe Kidd and Haniff Baharudin [speakers] (30 Sep 2019) "Making One's Way in the World through Punk" [radio broadcast] In Haniff Baharudin [Producer] BFM Night School. Kuala Lumpur: BFM Studio
    • Soon, S., Abdennour Bidar, and Haniff Baharudin [speakers] (4 Nov 2019) "Believing in Conversations" [radio broadcast] In Haniff Baharudin [Producer] BFM Night School. Kuala Lumpur: BFM Studio
    • Soon, S., Nadine Azalea Faisal, and Haniff Baharudin [speakers] (21 Oct 2019) "Beyond Fakta - New Values in Thinking Historically" [radio broadcast] In Haniff Baharudin [Producer] BFM Night School. Kuala Lumpur: BFM Studio
    2018
    • Soon, S. and Suzy Sulaiman. [speakers] (25 Jan 2018) "Merata Suara: Decentering Conversations" [radio broadcast] In Ahmad Fuad Rahmat [Producer] BFM Night School. Kuala Lumpur: BFM Studio
    2017
    • Soon, S.[speaker] (14 Feb 2017) "ON LEARNING AND UNLEARNING, WONG HOY CHEONG" [radio broadcast] In Lim Soon Heng [Producer] The Bigger Picture: Front Row. Kuala Lumpur: BFM Studio.
    • Soon, S.[speaker] (26 May 2017) "UNDERSTANDING VISUAL LANGUAGE I" [radio broadcast] In Lim Soon Heng [Producer] The Bigger Picture: Front Row. Kuala Lumpur: BFM Studio
    • Soon, S.[speaker] (28 July 2017) "UNDERSTANDING VISUAL LANGUAGE III: EDO JAPAN & WOODBLOCK PRINTING" [radio broadcast] In Lim Soon Heng [Producer] The Bigger Picture: Front Row. Kuala Lumpur: BFM Studio
    • Soon, S.[speaker] (23 June 2017) "UNDERSTANDING VISUAL LANGUAGE II: Haussmannisation and the Avant-garde of 19th century Paris" [radio broadcast] In Lim Soon Heng [Producer] The Bigger Picture: Front Row. Kuala Lumpur: BFM Studio
    • Soon, S. and Joseph, R. [speakers] (3 Nov 2017) "Pioneer Modern Malaysian Artists" [radio broadcast] In Lim Soon Heng [Producer] The Bigger Picture: Front Row. Kuala Lumpur: BFM Studio
    • Soon, S. and Tong, M. [speakers] (13 Jan 2017) "Activist Art Leaps Forward" [radio broadcast] In Lim Soon Heng [Producer] The Bigger Picture: Front Row. Kuala Lumpur: BFM Studio
    2016
    • Soon, S.[speaker] (26 Mar 2016) "What was left of Art" [radio broadcast] In Ahmad Fuad Rahmat [Producer] Night School.The Business Station. Kuala Lumpur: BFM Studio.
    RESEARCH PROJECT
    (Project title),(Role),(Duration),(Level)
    Impact-oriented Interdisciplinary Research Grant IIRG
  • Alam Gema dan Alamatnya: History and Historical Performance of the Malay Gamelan, Principal Investigator(PI), 2020 - 2022 (National)
  • International Funding
  • Constructing Decolonial Art History of Southeast Asia, Director, 2017 - 2018 (International)
  • Constructing Decolonial Art History Of Southeast Asia, Principal Investigator(PI), 03/09/2017 to 12/10/2021, British Academy, UK (International)
  • Getty Foundation Connecting Art Histories Initiative
  • Site and Space in Southeast Asia. Site and Space in Southeast Asia, Principal Investigator(PI), 2017 - 2020 (International)
  • Others MOHE - Top 100 (IIRG)-SAH
  • Locating and Compiling Materials on the Malay Gamelan, Co-Researcher, 07/12/2020 to 06/12/2022, Research University (Government)
  • Doing Public History and Making Public Domain for the Malay Gamelan, Principal Investigator(PI), 07/12/2020 to 06/12/2022, Research University (Government)
  • SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY ACTIVITIES
    (Contribution to Society),(Duration),(Level)
    • Launched the Malaysian Art Resource Index/ Index Sumber Seni Malaysia. A multi-lingual collaborative digital resource library on Malaysian art: https://bit.ly/malaysianartresource | https://bit.ly/sumbersenimalaysia, 01/12/2021 to 01/12/2021 (National)
    • Digital edition of Narratives in Malaysian Art Vol. 1-4 is available for download, published under an Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives Creative Commons License. This ensures the availability of NMA/NSRM to current and future researchers and general readers both locally and abroad. , 25/11/2021 to 25/11/2021 (National)
    • Invited to participate in a group exhibition organised by Kadist Asia Program, curated by Hyunjin Kim for the Times Museum Guangzhou. The exhibition runs from 12 Dec 2020 - 7 Feb 2021. As a participating artist, I collaborated with animator/graphic artist Stella and art historian Roger Nelson to create a series of animated GIFs that explores alternative histories of Southeast Asian performing arts. , 12/12/2020 to 07/02/2020
    • Publish a resource guide website on digital repositories related to the colonial history of the Malay World (https://sites.google.com/um.edu.my/colonialhistoryofthemalayworld/). The resource guide grew out of a year long conversation with colleagues in Department of Art History at SOAS, University of London on 'Constructing Decolonial Art History Of Southeast Asia' in 2017, funded through the Newton-Ungku Omar Fund by the British Academy and the Akademi Sains Malaysia. Subsequently, I also ran four workshops titled 'Researching Colonial History like a Millennial' in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Singapore while developing this guide. In addition to the website, I also maintain a facebook group for community-building and audience engagement with members from all over the world., 05/08/2020 to 06/08/2020
    • I was the co-curator together with Azril K Ismail and Hoo Fan Chon for the highly popular exhibition 'Bayangnya Itu Timbul Tenggelam: Photographic Cultures in Malaysia' at Ilham Gallery, Kuala Lumpur. Due to movement restriction orders resulting from the pandemic, we have also created a virtual exhibition for those unable to visit the exhibition in person. , 21/07/2020 to 11/02/2021
    • Staged my first solo exhibition 'The Tyger and the Navigator' at The Back Room, KL.Press coverage includes: - https://www.bfm.my/podcast/the-bigger-picture/front-row/where-art-meets-history - www.thestar.com.my/lifestyle/culture/2020/03/15/the-tyger-and-the-navigator-star-in-a-history-inspired-art-exhibition - https://penangartdistrict.com/5-ways-artists-can-work-through-the-covid-19-crisis/, 07/03/2020 to 30/05/2020
    • Participated in research and drafting of a statement from the members of the Malaysian Arts and Culture Community to the new Pakatan Harapan government on 18 May 2018. Statement available in Malay, English, Chinese, Tamil, Iban, Kadazan-Dusun. Signed by 3523 signatories from the arts and culture community of Malaysia by 20 May 2018. The statement was submitted to the new Pakatan Harapan government following a press conference that resulted in a number of media coverages on 21 May 2018. , 18/05/2018 to 21/05/2018
    • Commented on modernist painter Latiff Mohidin accorded a solo show at the Centre Pompidou in Paris in a feature article 'Latiff Mohidin: first Southeast Asian artist to be exhibited at world famous Paris museum' written by Kate Mayberry and published by Southeast Asia Globe., 16/03/2018 to 16/03/2018
    • Convenor of one-day public symposium 'Modern Architecture and the City: Knowledge and Social Memory of Modern Architecture' at ILHAM Gallery, Kuala Lumpur. Leading experts from Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand and Hong Kong met in Kuala Lumpur to discuss the historical, cultural and spiritual significance of modern architecture in region and beyond., 13/01/2018 to 13/01/2018
    • Malaysia Design Archive (I am a co-director) was awarded the Grand Award for Culture at the DFA (Design For Asia) Awards at Hong Kong Design Centre in 2017. We have also successfully staged an exhibition titled, 'As We See It: History Through Visual Design' at the National Art Gallery of Malaysia, with grant from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO). The News Straits Times wrote a feature piece on Malaysia Design Archive on 9 Dec 2017 and also mentioned my role as an educator at UM. , 08/05/2017 to 09/12/2017
    • Invited as a guest speaker to a public programme organised Galeri Petronas to share my experiences working as a researcher on Southeast Asian art. The title of the panel discussion is 'What it takes to be a Southeast Asian Art Curator/Researcher', 17/12/2016 to 17/12/2016
    • Commented on the exhibitions held at the National Gallery of Singapore since it's opening in 2015 in a feature article 'Museum "can improve and grow"' written by Huang Lijie and published by The Straits Times, Singapore, 09/11/2016 to 09/11/2016
    • Co-convenor of one-day public symposium Trade, Ties, and Transformation: Stories on Textile and Modernity at ILHAM Gallery, Kuala Lumpur. Leading textile experts from India, Thailand, Australia and Malaysia, working in different areas of studies from art history to heritage to anthropology, met in Kuala Lumpur to discuss the historical, cultural and spiritual significance of textiles in the region and beyond, 14/05/2016 to 14/05/2016
    ACADEMIC/PROFESSIONAL SERVICES
    Academic/Professional Services
    (Contribution),(Duration),(Level),(Role)
  • Terms and Conditions of Art Writing and Publishing in Southeast Asia, 01/11/2021 to 23/12/2021, International, (Mentor)
  • Advisory staff, 23/02/2021 to 23/02/2025, National, (Expert Advisor)
  • Evaluation Activity
    (Activity),(Duration),(Category)
  • Peer-reviewer for World Art Journal , 2020 to 2020 (Article in Journal)
  • Peer-reviewer. , 2019 to 2019 (Article in Journal)
  • Peer reviewer for SARJANA. December 2018., 2018 to 2018 (Article in Journal)
  • Peer reviewer for Kajian Malaysia (ISI/SCOPUS). February 2017., 2018 to 2018 (Article in Journal)
  • Peer reviewer for Journal of Vietnamese Studies. May 2018., 2018 to 2018 (Article in Journal)
  • Peer reviewer for Kritika Kultura (ISI/SCOPUS). May 2017. , 2017 to 2017 (Article in Journal)
  • Peer reviewer for South East Asia Research Journal (ISI/SCOPUS). February 2016. , 2016 to 2016 (Article in Journal)
  • Peer reviewer for Australian and New Zealand Journal of Art. February 2016. , 2016 to 2016 (Article in Journal)
  • PAPER PRESENTED
    (Title),(Event),(Date Presented),(Organiser),(Level)
    INVITED SPEAKER
  • Observational Skills, Language in Medicine, 01/12/2021 to 01/12/2021, Medical Education and Research Development Unit (MERDU) (University)
  • What can we learn about UMMC's history from a series of colourful paintings made by an artist when he was a patient at the hospital? , Private lives; public hospital, 07/10/2021 to 07/10/2021, Medical Humanities and Ethics Unit in collaboration with Faculty of Creative Arts (University)
  • Sezaman/Contemporaneity: Tikar in the Expanded Field, CHAT (Centre for Heritage Arts and Textile) Talk Series, 23/09/2021 to 23/09/2021, CHAT (Centre for Heritage Arts and Textile), Hong Kong (International)
  • Discussant, Southeast Asian Forum (SEAF) , 22/09/2021 to 22/09/2021, Konferensi Pertunjukan dan Teater Indonesia 2021 (International)
  • BEP 100, BEP 100 Monograph, 28/03/2021 to 28/03/2021, Adaptus Designs System (National)
  • Panels 'Institutional Critique and Aspirations for Alternatives' and 'Potential and Issues for Global Art History', Networking Avant-Gardes in Asia - taking up 'Awakenings' for discussion, 13/10/2018 to 13/10/2018, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo and The Japan Foundation Asia Center (International)
  • Writing the World: Storied Spaces of the Visual , Uncommon Pursuits: A Temporary School for Emergent Curators in Southeast Asia, 31/07/2018 to 03/08/2018, San Art (International)
  • The Brown: Race, Coldwar and the Context in Art History, Rethinking Art and Politics in Cold-War Southeast Asia, Panel Discussion, 23/06/2018 to 23/06/2018, National Gallery of Singapore (International)
  • Crackling and bristling with energy: Decoloniality and Batik's Futurism, Decoloniality, Global Batik, and Art's Politics and Publics in Malaysia, 05/06/2018 to 05/06/2018, Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts, SOAS, University of London (International)
  • Crackling and bristling with energy: Batik and Decoloniality, Perverse Decolonization , 19/05/2018 to 20/05/2018, Para Site Hong Kong and Academy of Arts of the World in Cologne (International)
  • 'Colonial Cosmopolitans', Class lecture for the subject 'Saying No to Imperialism', Visualising Freedom', 27/02/2018 to 27/02/2018, Atreyee Gupta, History of Art Department, University of California, Berkeley (International)
  • Homely and Unhomely Presence in a Klang House Temple, CAA-Getty International Program Preconference Colloquium, 20/02/2018 to 20/02/2018, CAA-GETTY INTERNATIONAL PROGRAM (International)
  • 'The impossibility of not writing: Diasporic Affinity and Intellectual Memory as Resistance', Creative Cultures of Anglophone Southeast Asia, 05/12/2017 to 05/12/2017, Department of English, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Malaya (National)
  • 'SOUTHEAST OF NOW: Directions in Contemporary and Modern Art', TRANSLATION, UNDERSTANDING THE DIFFERENCE AND DISTANCE IN CONTEMPORARY ART CROSS ASIA, 20/04/2017 to 20/04/2017, Zero Station and Asian Center, Japan Foundation (International)
  • "Who is this Coomaraswamy?": S. Durai Raja Singam and the Allegory of Diasporic Affinity, International Symposium 2017 - Archival Turn: East Asian Contemporary Art and Taiwan (1960-1989), 08/04/2017 to 09/04/2017, Spring Foundation and Taipei Fine Arts Museum (International)
  • 'The Sanggar as Collective', The role of independent art spaces and collectives in Southeast East Asian art history and practice, 13/03/2017 to 13/03/2017, La Salle, College of the Arts (International)
  • 'Creativity in Dissent', Malaysian Studies Workshop, 22/02/2017 to 23/02/2017, Graduate Research Institute of Policy Studies (GRIPS), Tokyo (International)
  • 'Datok Fatimah in Chinese Body: Homely and Unhomely Presence in a Klang House Temple', 'Datok Fatimah in Chinese Body: Homely and Unhomely Presence in a Klang House Temple', 16/02/2017 to 16/03/2017, Malaysia Chinese Research Centre (National)
  • 'Concrete, like a nation, is ambitious', Conference: The Impossibility of Mapping (Urban Asia), 25/11/2016 to 26/11/2016, Nanyang Technological University Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore (International)
  • 'Images without Bodies: Chiangmai Social Installation and the Art History of Cooperative Suffering', Regions of the Contemporary: Transnational Art Festivals and Exhibitions in 1990s Southeast Asia, 05/11/2016 to 07/11/2016, Afterall Journal and University of Melbourne (International)
  • PRESENTER
  • 'Datok Fatimah in Chinese Body: A House Temple typifying Homely and Unhomely Presence', 2nd SEAARC (Southeast Asia Architecture Research Collaborative) Symposium: Modernity s Other Disclosing Southeast Asia s built environment across the colonial and postcolonial worlds, 05/01/2017 to 07/01/2017, Southeast Asia Architecture Research Collaborative (International)
  • OTHERS
  • Art historian TK Sabapathy, moderated by Simon Soon (senior lecturer, Visual Arts Department, Universiti Malaya), How Easily Modernism Could Be Disturbed, 01/12/2018 to 01/12/2018, National Gallery of Singapore and Ilham Gallery, Kuala Lumpur (International)
  • Session 2: KL, I love you, but... - Forming support systems for the visual arts in Malaysia, beyond Kuala Lumpur, Mejabulat: Sidang Suara Seni, 10/11/2018 to 10/11/2018, CENDANA in partnership with RogueArt.  (National)
  • N/A, The CIMAM 2017 Annual Conference, 10/11/2017 to 12/12/2017, National Gallery of Singapore (International)