Join us for Flaudette May Datuin’s keynote lecture ‘The Wind in the Trees: From Tradisexion to Womanifesto’ as part of the Gender in Southeast Asian Art Histories II symposium Art, Digitality and Canon-making? The symposium is presented by the Power Institute, together with the School of Literature, Arts and Media and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney.


The Wind in the Trees is a metaphor used by Josephine Barker to draw attention to the state of our planet, which is now approaching, or perhaps has even gone beyond, the tipping point towards catastrophic disequilibria. If we, art historians, artists and scholars/educators in the arts and humanities were to respond, what options do we have for confronting this planetary crisis?

In this presentation, Datuin briefly looks back on more than 30 years of research, curation and teaching in the field of feminist art criticism and art historiography, with focus on Womanifesto as case in point—paying attention not just to the visible but also the murky and at times unknowable, invisible interiors of what Legaspi-Ramirez terms as women’s ‘maintenance work’, of archiving, organizing, curating and writing on and about women.  In this personal journey of reflection and self-critique, Datuin hopes to demonstrate in their current research, writing and pedagogical directions the ways by which they are rethinking and redirecting their own practice towards a planetary, body-centered, affective, sensuous and tactile level, as suggested by Barker’s method of examining cinema’s tactile eye in terms of skin, musculature and viscera. By situating and linking the already existing patterns of social inequality in terms of geography (ie Southeast Asia), race, class and gender with ecological damage, Datuin wishes to suggest a transdisciplinal, bioregional approach to art making and art-writing. This approach involves a process of ‘reinhabitation’—one that involves crossing the divide between science as the realm of natural phenomena and the humanities as the realm of the interpretation of the ‘records left behind by man’ (Panofsky) where nature becomes a mere lifeless and inert object of symbolic and iconographical resource. Datuin suggests a critical art-historical method and practice that not only goes ‘Against Interpretation’ (Sontag), but also makes us think about talking to each other across generations and geographies as well as to scientists, historians of science, ecologists, meteorologists, herbalists, engineers, fishers, farmers, and so on, so that we can work together and spark a bioregional collaboration that is attuned, not just with political realities and vernacular cultures but also keenly attentive to Barker’s term the ‘Wind in the Trees’, and the manifold textures and shapes of the human and non-human worlds.



Flaudette May Datuin, PhD is Professor, Department of Art Studies, College of Arts and Letters at the University of the Phillipines. Aside from graduate and undergraduate courses on art and society, art theory and aesthetics, art history and art criticism, she teaches an interdisciplinary course on Disaster Risk Mitigation, Adaptation and Preparedness Strategies (DRMAPS) based at the College of Engineering. Her current research interests include gender issues in the arts, art and ecology and art and healing.


Datuin has written numerous publications in national and international publications. Her latest co-publication—Contemporary Philippine Art From the Regions—is a textbook for a K12 core subject (2018). Her first book, Home Body Memory: Filipina Artists in the Visual Arts, 19th Century to the Present, emerged from her engagement with women artists in the Philippines and Asia.  From her research on women artists in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, South Korea and Japan (through grants from the Asian Public Intellectuals and the Asian Scholarship Foundation, Japan Foundation Asia Center, among others), she curated and organized exhibitions and forums, among them Women Imaging Women (Manila, 1996-1997), REMAP ASIA (EWHA University, South Korea, 2005) trauma, interrupted(Manila, 2006-2007), and Nothing to Declare(multiple venues in Manila, 2010-2011).




Friday 18 October 2019

New Law School Foyer

Eastern Avenue

University of Sydney NSW 2006



The Power Institute, together with the School of Literature, Arts and Media and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney, presents the symposium ‘Art, Digitality and Canon-making?’ as part of the Gender in Southeast Asian Art Histories project. Following the symposium, on 19 October the exhibition Archiving Womanifesto opens at Cross Art Projects, with original works by members of the Womanifesto collective. Join us for two days of exciting presentations, conversations and art. 

This symposium continues conversations first initiated in Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok in April this year entitled Art, Design and Canon-making? By harnessing the potential of digital tools and methodologies in academic research and digital humanities, the symposium aspires to form a bridge between the tools and ideas in the hope of providing a platform for the presentation of new research on gender broadly, and for the rethinking of frameworks, approaches and methodologies in the writing of feminist and area art histories.



We aim to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment, including for parents and care-givers. The organisers offer reimbursement for childcare services required by participants during the symposium and related events. This reimbursement is offered in place of on-site childcare, which regrettably we are unable to provide. If you require childcare support during your participation, please contact the organisers no later than 5 October 2019.


This symposium is supported by the Power Institute together with the School of Literature, Arts and Media and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney. The organisers gratefully acknowledge the partnership of Cross Art Projects for the Womanifesto archive exhibition, and the support of Asia Art Archive and John Cruthers and Professor Elaine Baker.