Public Seminar & Performance | Junghuhn meets Raffles

[Public Seminar & Performance] Franz Wilhelm Junghuhn meets Thomas Stamford Raffles

[Public Seminar] Franz Wilhelm Junghuhn meets Thomas Stamford Raffles: Footnotes for an Exhibition

Date: Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Time: 4.00pm - 6.00pm 
Venue: Celadon Room, NUS Museum

[Performance] Gunung Merapi by artist collective U5
Date: Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Time: 7.00pm - 8.30pm 
Venue: Crater Studios, Prep Room, NUS Museum

Preceding an upcoming exhibition at the NUS Museum is a series of events related to the research project "Tourism and Cultural Heritage: A Case Study on the Explorer Franz Junghuhn" led by Professors Philip Ursprung and Alex Lehnerer at the ETH Zurich Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore. The crux of the research project are the expeditions from Singapore to Java that follow the traces of Junghuhn to 17 of his favorite volcanoes. Each expedition features a group of artists and scholars. The exhibition at the NUS Museum draws from this research project and provides speculations on history and heritage around the legacy of Junghuhn.

Junghuhn (1809-1864), trained as a doctor in Germany, spent almost his entire life in the service of the Dutch colonial authorities on the island of Java. His legacy in the realm of cartography, botany, geology and writing can only be compared to the role of Thomas Stamford Raffles, Alfred Russel Wallace or Alexander von Humboldt. In fact, he was often called the “Humboldt of Java” but he remains in the shadow of his famous peers. He was one of the first explorers to climb and document Java's volcanoes.

While in reality Junghuhn and Raffles never met, we will arrange an encounter in the realm of the exhibition. How do the archives and collections of the two explorers (stored in Singapore and Leiden, Holland) interact? How can we connect the early 19th century Singapore – where Junghuhn made a stopover in 1848 – with the Dutch East Indies of the same period? How have they changed over time? How can contemporary artists perceive, depict and enact these phenomena?

The seminar will be followed by Gunung Merapi, a performance by the artist collective U5 in Crater Studios, a prep-room program in the NUS Museum. This performance is the second of the series of 17 Javanese volcano-portraits by U5 based on their work within the broader research project.

Image credit: (Left) Detail, F.W. Junghuhn (1855) Kaart van het eiland Java. C.W. Mieling Gravenhage, Amsterdam. (Right) Detail, J. Walker (1817) A map of Java: Chiefly from surveys made during the British administration constructed in illustration of an account of Java by Thomas Stamford Raffles Esq. J. Murrary, London.


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