With independence in the mid-20th century, the appearance of many cities in Southeast Asia changed. Hand in hand with the task of constituting themselves as a nation was the desire for a symbolic new beginning in architecture and urban planning. International Modernism provided the aesthetic program in which the expectations of progress and prosperity were reflected, and which at the same time served to emancipate itself from the colonial powers.
Contested Modernities brought the discourse around Southeast Asian modernity to Berlin – with an exhibition at the Haus der Statistik, online symposia, and a publication in the German and English editions of ARCH+. The project was part of the long-term network Encounters with Southeast Asian Modernism and is based on a multi-year exchange between the Berlin curatorial team and scholars, architects, artists, and curators from the region.
Contested Modernities was initiated by curators Sally Below, Moritz Henning, Christan Hiller and Eduard Kögel.
The project was supported by the Hauptstadtkulturfonds Berlin and the Federal Ministry of Housing, Urban Development and Construction.