文 / 陶寒辰
To string together emerging Chinese media artists’ practices through curatorial interventions has been one of the most meaningful works since the founding of OCAT Shanghai in 2012. The success of every annual project for emerging media artists has been a collective effort from the art museum, artists, curators, scholars in the field, and supporting art organizations. Together, we have built a brand new network of connections in building a platform that would expand the artists' development and vision. However, this project is not limited by the exhibitions in tangible space and a series of educational programs we present each year. Still, it hopes to engage in different layers of contexts and interact with structurally different organizations.
The collaboration between OCAT Shanghai and KADIST began in April 2018 with the exhibition On Struggling to Remain Present When You Want to Disappear based on the academic position of OCAT Shanghai and the collection of KADIST. OCAT Shanghai's resolution and understanding of the development of Chinese media art, and the respectable and comprehensive collection of media art at the KADIST provided mutually profound impressions to each other. These qualities are also one of the reasons for OCAT Shanghai to collaborate with KADIST in launching this exhibition and artist residency project. For the seventh edition of our endeavor, marking the first presentation at the new OCAT Shanghai venue, our unwavering initial intent for this project will continue to push us in deepening the research and development for media art, promoting young artists' practice, and expand the impact of media art.
At the end of 2019, we have received and evaluated recommendations from 44 professionals in the field. We are delighted to invite seven outstanding emerging media artists, who are Cheng Xinhao, Li Shuang, Lin Ke, Tang Chao, Tao Hui, Wang Tuo, and Zheng Yuan – to participate in the exhibition section of this project. KADIST will also offer extensive promotions to this project, by providing diverse artist residency programs and resources to the artists, and an opportunity for exchange and exploration in a cross-cultural context. Over the last three to five years, these artists have shown exhilarating creativity and command for the language of media art in multiple dimensions. Their works allow us to observe the continuation and variations in an artist's practice, at the same time, through their exhibitions at various art institutions, commissioned projects, and curatorial interventions for our grasp of the issues they confront and the expanded narratives.
As today’s technology and media bring about new changes, media art dominated by artistic languages such as moving images and installation is understood in general due to its low requirement for technology that diverges the artists' understanding of art practice. Art media seems to have fallen into the trap of involution with repetition and stagnation. However, there are many artists whose goal is not artistic production, presenting their multiple identities in the social system: the role of the artist only exists in the contexts of the artist's studio, art exhibition or art practice. Beyond these contexts, they often choose other social roles and identities to engage in the real world scene, observe, perceive, study, and make impacts. To extend the discussion of the effectivity of the artist's identity, this exhibition will not follow the conventional model of presenting an individual system of an artist's practice in its exhibition space, but to take on a "un/conventional" approach in presenting the artists' self-assigned social attributes. Artists carry out various types of "role plays" – from geological surveyor to social movement practitioner, from vlogger to editor of a reconstructed news event – the site of their activities is like a giant amusement park, showing a Mobius ring-like structure: where the artist and the artworks become two entirely independent entities. Under the integrated "Mobius," certain formal commonalities engender gradually under the same time and regional background, while their varying life experiences and creative angle derive alternative qualities that unfold infinitely. Moreover, the artist will be invited to "play" the role of the curator and commission new works that will intervene during the exhibition, to eventually achieve an autonomous and co-habitation state at the art museum.
Text / Tao Hanchen