Christine Erhard: TAIFUN Beijing Intervention / Christine Erhard: 北京干预
Curated by Lico Fang
TAIFUN Beijing Intervention is approaching the capital city with German artist Christine Erhard, a discussion storm is predicted as well.
“The photographs shouldn’t be viewed as isolated objects but should be experienced as one element within dialectic of image and space.
Although the picture space in my photographs appears to be extremely heterogeneous and broken, the images are not photomontages in the conventional sense. The photographs bear witness to a sculptural process that took place in my studio.
The spaces that we were unable to directly experience had become images. What interests me above all in this, is the question to what extent our general imaginary space is far more determined by images than by our own personal experience.”
—— Christine Erhard
*TAIFUN, an international art project by curator Lico Fang, acts as a medium and catalyst for cultural and intellectual exchange through 3-day art exhibitions, theater, screening, and literature events at specifically selected locations in Germany and other countries. It both transports heterogeneous points of view, concepts, and approaches and initiates dialogues and debates.
台风-北京干预 将带来德国摄影艺术家 Christine Erhard (克莉斯蒂娜·艾哈德) 的摄影／空间干预作品和一场讨论会。
The U-Cloister - Ma Jianfeng’s solo project / U型回廊 - 麻剑锋个人项目
A constellation of walls, floors, and hangings acts as the foundation for Ma Jianfeng’s current show, creating a three-dimensional material and spatial experience by interweaving indistinct imagery and abstract symbols with artifacts and artworks. It is undeniable that we cannot use words such as sculpture, mural, or “environmental installation” to describe this presentation, the same as the artist himself has always done. The specific scenes that emerge from the artist’s contextualization and appropriation seem to emphasize the usefulness of the works as a crucial part of the ritual in this “judgement ground”, purposefully presenting these barbarous, rough, primitive and totemized images and objects like tools, with mysterious “protocols” of use. Yet they are simultaneously autonomous artworks, independent from any functionality and purpose. Ma’s practice points to the directions of the transmissions of tensions between image and fact via actions, thus emphasizing the significance of manipulation to his practice. Most interestingly, in his search for integrity and abstraction in variation, we can regard abstraction as both artistic extraction and philosophical problem, and as a method (of politics) and socio-economic force for Ma.
On one hand, Ma’s works establish and destabilize the configurational relations between understanding, imagination,and embodiment, thus opening up a field of ambiguity. This space of manipulated ambiguity is generative, and it produces possibilities for the orientation of thought. Therefore from our perspective, besides purifying and extracting the complex image-object relations, abstraction can also be activated by the mutual perturbations of thought and matter. In this light, the task of abstraction is to liberate the (virtual) subject. On the other hand, social life is dominated by “real” abstractions such as money, socially necessary labour time, commodity exchange and the like, whereas abstraction can also analyse and describe operations of thought and ideology which generalize too much, thus neglecting specificity. Simultaneously, “abstracting out” is the only way to discern patterns and tendencies, to get to the “big picture”. Such a tension is particularly notable in the relationship between theory and practice in artistic production, as well as in political activity.
As the artist said, “the nihilism that abstraction produces is the norm of life and society.” The concern over this nihilism of abstraction perhaps comes from the paradox embedded within Ma’s works: the abstractions of value in capitalism; the dialectical relation between artworks associal form and as commodity. Is the value of an artwork doomed to be determined by dominant forms of market exchange and value-producing labour? The distinction between art and non-art objects lies in the differences in the practices and conditions of each creative process, whereby art objects differ from commodities in that the artistic process, from the perspective of value-producing labour-time, seems more like a perverse form of self-exploitation and speculative labour. However, as Adorno suggests, the uselessness of an artwork is the basis of its critique and its autonomy – and this autonomy does not arise out of distance from the commodity, but from the complete symbiosis of the artwork’s immanent form, structure and logic. This manifests the idea that the more the artwork is abstracted from the use-value, the more it constitutes a negation of the rule of value.
正如艺术家本人所提到的：“抽象所产生的虚无是生命和社会的常态。”而这种对抽象的虚无的担忧，或许是嵌入艺术家作品内在的矛盾 – 在资本主义系统中价值的抽象化 - 作为社会表现形式的艺术品和商品之间的辩证关系。艺术品的价值是否表现在它根植于市场交换和价值生产劳动的支配形式当中？艺术品和非艺术品的不同存在于在创造过程的实践和条件的相似经验下，与商品不完全相同的是，艺术品的价值生产可以被看做一种反常的“自我剥削”形式和“投机劳动”。阿多诺曾指出艺术品的无用性是它的评判和自主性的基础，然而，自主性不是出于与商品的距离疏远，而是出自艺术品内在形式、结构和逻辑的完全沉浸和共生。这展现了这样一个观点：艺术品从使用价值中抽象得越多，它越构成对价值规则的否定。
Yoeri Guépin: Afterlives / Yoeri Guépin: 转世
The public image of Yuanmingyuan is static like a photograph.
Beginning with the ruins of Xiyanglou – a part of Yuanmingyuan often discussed in history textbooks, knowledge regarding Yuanmingyuan has been tightly wrapped in a reductivist historical narrative that contrasts the emergence of modern China with its shameful subjugation under imperialism, to the extent that the drawn-out degradation of Yuanmingyuan as a farmland, collective production field, cemetery, and landfill site in the 150 years after its initial destruction has totally been covered over. The very idea of a ‘ruin” is a modern invention; one may say that the modern fascination with ruins (fluctuating as it might be) precisely coincides with their unprecedented production. Before Yuanmingyuan became a cultural signifier, it was simply a site of indifference. Arising out of a heated debate among archaeologists, urban planners, architects and government officials regarding its restoration in the 1980s, Yuanmingyuan was formally established as a public park designed to provide visitors with patriotic history lessons packed with emotional, aesthetic, and moral experiences of China’s checkered past.
The theatricality of Yuanmingyuan - more specifically, its mise-en-scene -rarely occurs to tourists who are inculcated by its established narrative. But for more curious observers such as Yoeri, things appeared under a different light: during a visit, he spotted an obvious mismatch between a pillar and its foundation in the Dashuifa ensemble; it resembled more of a stage than a historical remnant. This mismatch led him to an investigation into the very idea of a historical act - who laid the stones? Who installed the setting? More broadly, how was the image of the West transferred, translated, and reactivated?
The original concept of Dashuifa came from Western paintings brought to Emperor Qianlong by the Jesuits. At the height of Yuanmingyuan’s grandeur, Xiyanglou (designed by Giuseppe Castiglione) only amounted to about 2% of the overall architecture, but it is now used to represent the whole estate as a whole. Similar operations in history also occurred in Chinese art education. Since the 1980s, art education gradually switched from socialist realism to more a “liberal cannon” where Greek, Roman, and Renaissance sculptures were adopted as pedagogical tools. As a result, long before knowing the historical and cultural contexts from which these sculptures emerged, art students have been sketching Michelangelo’s David for years.
As the central component of Yoeri’s 6-month residency at the Institute for Provocation, ‘Afterlives’ presents his research conducted at two different locations in Beijing: Yuanmingyuan and the CAFA Art Museum; the former is in the west (of the city) while the latter is in the east. Looking at how Western classic images become hollowed out, condensed, and reactivated throughout Chinese history, Afterlives touches on the subtle dynamic between China’s modernity and the acts of history that constitute it.
大部分游客很少意识到圆明园是一处精致的“布景”。Yoeri Guepin在一次偶然的探访中，他注意到大水法中一条石柱和基石明显错位，这错位引发了一系列他对这种动作的想象 — 是谁摆放了基石和石柱？谁布置了这个场景？更广泛地说，西方的形象是怎么迁移、转译和再次使用的？
Wang Jun Solo Project: Three Days and Nights(Beijing)/ 王俊个人项目：三天三夜（北京）
You can come anytime.
During that three days and nights, a series of accidents is expected. Like a jailed soldier in Athens left graffiti in caves, then recited a comedy. A man keeps mumbling, ‘I only gag, talk bullshit, if possible, I would very much like to have your attitude.’ Taoism gods in Wanshou Palace wandering in fogs and vapors... Candidates for the best performer of the year is open to all criticism…
The remains, leftovers of this project will be recycled in the next Three Days and Nights project in other venues.
Sleeping with a Vengeance, Dreaming of a Life/ 睡眠复仇，梦见生命
‘...For each sleep is the true practice of hope, a long training at emancipation and freedom.’
—Haytham El-Wardany, Book of Sleep, 2017
The exhibition series Sleeping with a Vengeance, Dreaming of a Life takes a close look at contemporary politicsof sleep and asks whether we can reclaim sleep and dreaming from the clutches of late capitalism. In the ‘24/7 Universe’ (Jonathan Crary), sleep has been turned into a resource, tied to production, consumption, warfare and biopolitics. We are simultaneously enticed to sleep less and to sleep productively. Contemporary cultural practice mimics this trend with sleep performances, sleep hotels, sleep music.
Can sleep instead be configured as a radical, subversive activity? Can the act of dreaming, sleep’s correlate, be imagined a political deed? If sleep were to obstruct the cycle of capitalist production and social reproduction, would the sleeper be able to dream up a better life, a better future?
Sleeping with a Vengeance, Dreaming of a Life brings together artists from all wakes of life and artworks from diverse cultural backgrounds in order to start understanding how we might share agency in a future politics of sleep. Concurrently, the curatorial model of the exhibition series is based on a much needed ecology of scale. Starting with next to no budget and working with the smallest of institutions, the first exhibitions are conceived as sketches to be fleshed out while gaining momentum over the next couple of years.
Ruth Noack, Berlin, December 2017
——海什木·埃尔-瓦达尼(Haytham El-Wardany)，《睡眠之书》(Book of Sleep)，2017
展览系列《睡眠复仇，梦见生命》（Sleeping with a Vengeance, Dreaming of a Life）将视角引向当代的睡眠政治，同时提问：我们是否可以将睡眠与做梦从晚期资本主义的桎梏中解救出来。在乔纳森·克拉里（Jonathan Crary）的《24/7 宇宙》（24/7 Universe）中，睡眠被转化为一种资源，与生产、消费、战争以及生命政治紧密相联。我们被诱导睡得既少又高效。当代文化实践则以睡眠表演、睡眠酒店、睡眠音乐来模拟这一趋势。
“睡眠复仇，梦见生命”集合了不同年龄的艺术家和来自不同文化背景的艺术作品，以尝试摸索共同介入未来睡眠政治的途径。与此同时，这一展览系列的策展模式基于一种必要的规模生态学（ecology of scale）。以几乎为零的预算开启、与最小的机构合作，初期展览的潦草雏型将在随后的几年获得动能而逐渐充实和具象化。
Ulrika Gomm: Horizon / 地平线
Horizon (2018), a scheme which display all book titles, containing the words democracy and China from 1989 and onward, that are accessible for the public at the National Library of People’s Republic of China in Beijing. The National Library of People’s Republic of China is the largest library in Asia, with a collection of over 35 million items. These 76 book titles found (in September 2018) are arranged in chronologic order, in Chinese and a mirrored English translation, using the font Noto Sans. This font, belonging to the Noto font family, was commissioned by Google with the goal of achieving visual harmony across multiple languages/scripts.
In the gallery space, the Horizon scheme is made accessible with the Furniture for reading, a custom made table and cushions on the floor. On November 23rd a reading, Practise Horizon, will take place in the installation, in both Chinese and English, using the book titles as material for a new composition.
Research and translation have been made by Dakota Guo.
With support by IASPIS, the Swedish Arts Grants Committee's international programme for Visual and Applied Artists.
Dennis de Bel: Get your shit together - mediation in frequencies, facial recognition and fece/ “搂着点儿您”——蹲在频率、面部识别和粪便之间
In Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon, the mathematical genius Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse is showing off his new mechanical invention to his supervisor, Lieutenant Colonel Earl Comstock.
Comstock asks:“If you had to give a name to the whole apparatus, what would you call it?”
“Hmmm…” Waterhouse says. “Well, its basic job is to perform mathematical calculations-like a computer.”
Comstock snorts, “A computer is a human being.”
This conversation reflects the historical fact that in the 1930s and 40s, people who were employed to do calculations and this clerical labour were called “computers.” The different interpretations of the dialogue from war-time to the present mark a shift from a society in which the intelligence demanded for calculations and data collections were primarily associated with humans to the increasing delegation of these labours to computational and control machines. Following Norbert Wieners introduction into cybernetics in the 1950's publication 'The Human Use of Human Beings', the idea of technology as non-hierarchical, unbiased control agent for the creation of a harmonious society was set in stone.
Although heralded as merely an 'auxiliary measure’ a prime example of technology as means of control could be found the Beijing Temple of Heavens park. In 2017 the park had embraced the power of artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology to gain control over the hordes of visitors and their toilet paper usage. By means of camera operated facial recognition enabled toilet paper dispensers, visitors were introduced to a timed toilet paper cap at +-70cm per 9 minutes. Besides the dubious fact of having cameras in public restrooms, it's difficult to escape the irony in having one’s basic biological needs to be authorized by a high-tech data-harvesting machine.
Moreover, this obscene, cumbersome interface enables us to easily expose our deep-seated entanglement with everyday technologies. In order to take a shit we, first of all, need power and wireless infrastructures; secondly, facial recognition; thirdly, make sure the photo is qualified; fourthly, get the toilet paper and enjoy it. Don't forget the restroom concierge's constant attention, instructing, refilling and unjamming the grotesque apparatus, effectively preventing the cybernetic automaton from escaping human control.
As of November 2018 all the cybernetic toilet paper dispensers have disappeared from the park, to be replaced with the 'offline' variety. The artist therefore invites you to experience the archive of collected materials mediated through a bootleg version of the original facial recognition toilet paper dispenser. Allowing the viewer first hand experience of interfacing their human body to the machine.
In the past six months, Dennis de Bel explored how legacy technologies, ideologies, language and code have lead to our current technological status quo, and how human bodies are increasingly mediated through stacks of technology of varying opacities. Focusing on Beijing's Temple of Heaven Park and it's rich canon of technologies ranging from ancient rites, special service radio stations to artificial intelligence, Dennis assimilated a variety of signals, images and artifacts through mapping, kiting and 'international relations'.
Although the scientific and political paradigms have changed dramatically in the six centuries since the Temple of Heaven's construction, the historical function of the park revolving around practices of inscription, amplification and diffusion of messages through specialised infrastructures and protocols, as described by the scholar Eldon Pei, puts forth an intriguing case for the sacrificial altar as a forebearer of modern communicative technology and the very proof of the physicality of our increasingly 'digital' localities.
在尼尔·斯蒂芬森1999年出版的传奇小说《编码宝典》中中，数学天才Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse向他的上司厄尔·康斯托克中校炫耀他的新机械发明。
他们的对话反映出，在20世纪30和40年代，受雇从事计算和这种文职工作的人被称为“计算机”。从战争时期到现在，对于这段对话的不同解释标志着社会的巨变——计算和数据收集的工作越来越多地从人力转移到机器。继诺伯特·维纳(Norbert Wieners)在1950年出版的《人有人的用处：控制论与社会》(The Human Use of Human Beings)中引入控制论之后，技术作为构建和谐社会的非等级、无偏见的控制因素的观念开始深入人心。
在北京的六个月里，Dennis de Bel探讨了遗留技术、意识形态、语言和代码如何一同造就了我们当前的技术现状，以及我们的身体如何被重重不透明的技术帘幕所间隔。他以北京的天坛公园为例，从其古老的仪式，有“特殊目的”的广播电台到人工智能，Dennis通过制图、放风筝和“国际友谊”吸收了各种各样的信号、图像和物品。