Supported by Department of Cultural and Religious Studies, MA in Visual Culture Studies, Videotage, Hong Kong Arts Development Council.
Wandering Scholars is an interdisciplinary symposium about contemporary culture, art, media and scholarship that focuses on acts of “walking” and “wandering” as strategies of thought and expression. It will consider the importance of processes of walking, elements of distraction, chaos, non-productivity, non-linearity and “failure”, as well as the fascination of a peripatetic way of disseminating knowledge. Whether we are making solitary journeys or moving in groups, we are constantly drifting and perceiving with five senses, or using technological devices, while sensing the rhythms and languages constituted by spaces, times and people. The symposium invites artists, scholars and audiences to develop participatory modes of education as acts of walking.
The symposium hopes to create art and theory in the midst of societal transformation and envision a kind of radical-creative pedagogy that may capture a younger generation in search of languages to approach identity and democracy. Can we still pursue “radical” ways of doing scholarship through arts and humanities? How can art and political-cultural criticism illuminate each other rather than being segregated into highly codified domains? In this sense, the symposium interprets Jack Halberstam’s notion of “art of failure” to question the foundations of scholarship, its tendency to become politically elitist, formally stagnant and self-absorbed. The symposium also treasures the importance of “nobility of failure” in the journey of scholarship, as suggested by Leo Lee. It is a way for academic scholarship to nurture its relationship and dialogue with evolving artistic communities, as well as alternative styles of thought and expression.
The style that we will pursue for the symposium is that of the “Longtable Format.” The Long Table format, invented by performer/professor Lois Weaver, is a means of generating open discussion about a specified topic, using a stylized environment and participation protocol to turn ordinary conversation into a performance. ‘The Long Table’ experiments with participation and public engagement by re-appropriating a dinner table atmosphere as a public forum and encouraging informal conversation on serious topics.