The Imperial Ghost

Opening Reception: The Imperial Ghost in the Neoliberal Machine (Figuring the CIA)

Wednesday, September 18, 2019 at 12:15pm
College of East Asian Studies Gallery at Mansfield Freeman Center


Click here to view images from this event on Flickr.

The Central Intelligence Agency's efforts to purge sites of communism was a global operation—and East Asia was no exception. Key officials from the agency described acts of espionage and strategic coordination in the 1950s and '60s that ranged from the mobilization of controlled media and mafia groups to the violent suppression of socialist movements. With its title alluding to mind-body dualism, The Imperial Ghost in the Neoliberal Machine (Figuring the CIA) contends with past machinations that are still corporeally present, albeit camouflaged in other forms of manipulation and continuing to shift control and coerce power under new terms.

The exhibition features works by artists Minouk Lim, Yoshua Okón, and Royce Ng, whose works react to anti-communist rhetoric that has suppressed and repressed intellectuals since the 1950s. To ground this narrative within the exhibition, declassified accounts of covert operations by the CIA are displayed as archival documentation.

The CIA’s clandestine activities succeeded in transforming economic policies, sovereign histories, and global perception, irrevocably altering the world’s cultural and political landscape. The exhibition considers the incarnations and reverberations of their strategies, and how they continue to infiltrate today’s political imagination.

The Imperial Ghost in the Neoliberal Machine (Figuring the CIA) was organized by Asakusa and curated by Koichiro Osaka—a curator, writer, producer and the founding director of Asakusa. Asakusa is a 40-square-meter exhibition venue and project space in Tokyo, committed to advancing curatorial collaboration and practices. The space intends to serve as a platform through which to engage with art-historical research and independent exhibition projects, making possible various approaches to work both with public institutions and private initiatives.

The exhibition was previously on view at e-flux, New York, from April 30 to June 15, 2019.

On display at Wesleyan through Sunday, December 8, 2019.

Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from Noon to 4pm.

The exhibition will be closed Saturday, October 19 through Tuesday, October 22, 2019; and Saturday, November 23 through Sunday, December 1, 2019.

The College of East Asian Studies Gallery at Mansfield Freeman Center is curated by Associate Director of Visual Arts Benjamin Chaffee and Exhibitions Manager Rosemary Lennox.

Image: a declassified document on former Japanese Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi from the CIA digital archives.