Dear members of the Association for Cultural Typhoon,
Dear all presenters at Cultural Typhoon 2020 Nagasaki,
As many of you know, the World Health Organization has declared the COVID-19 virus a global pandemic on March 11th. The new coronavirus has rapidly spread to more than 130,000 people from around the world during this three-month period subsequent to its first reports in December. Within Japan, the government has ordered the cancelation of large-scale events and has asked all educational institutions from primary schools to universities to fully close off in an effort to halt the spread of the virus. Cities around the world are now experiencing lockdowns and domestic and cross boarder travels have been either banned or severely restricted.
As we worked diligently in preparation for “Cultural Typhoon 2020” scheduled on June 27-28th 2020, we have stayed consistently vigilant and critical against excessively conforming to political biases in our measures against the coronavirus. However, given the current situational difficulties for many of our participants to travel from all over Asia, we have made a decision to cancel the Cultural Typhoon this year. We ask for your understanding regarding our decision. To those that have already deposited participation fees, we will be refunding all fees. Please note that the refund process may take some time, but we will ensure you refunds will be processed as quickly as possible. Your patience is appreciated in this matter.
The COVID-19 has brought about a “state of exception”, which as Carl Schmidt and Giorgio Agamben indicated, reveals the universal mechanisms of brutality and violence that make up politics in the modernity. The invisible virus has embodied a sphere in its eerie colored micrograph depiction and has grown scary and malicious in its media representations.
Political leaders have taken every opportunity to stage their political “decisions”. In Japan there has been a political measure to declare a national emergency and to establish a revised influenza law, which enables the government to restrict our human rights sooner or later.
Furthermore, the most power-hungry and “ambitious” political leaders have even instigated Xenophobic and Racist discourse. Amongst the ministers of the Abe administrations, some have not shied away from calling the corona disease “Wuhan Pneumonia” to fuel hostility and hatred towards China. There are forces that encourage political division and conflict between Japan and Korea, in a state of global emergency which should normally warrant transnational cooperation.
In the future, this outbreak will have the worst effects on the disenfranchised in the current neo-liberal order. “Disaster Capitalism” introduced by Naomi Klein, is eagerly waiting for its opportunity to strike and seize more power. Although “Cultural Typhoon 2020” has unfortunately been canceled, the Association for Cultural Typhoon will continue to be critical and will conduct analysis of the current situation in our respective fields, as we see the necessity of a “Cultural Studies of COVID-19.” As soon as the series of disease related confusion settles and further outbreaks are mitigated, we will prepare a virtual or real platform for our members and participants of the Cultural Typhoon to publicly present their discussions. For this reason, we would greatly appreciate time to review and coordinate further measures. Lastly, we would like to assure you that the next Annual Review of Cultural Studies will continue to serve as an intellectual medium that publishes the results of your critical thoughts and practices.
16. March 2020
Secretaries of Association of Cultural Typhoon