July 19th, 2017

“Let’s Go, Mantis Shrimp”: The Most Trending Chinese Internet Slang of 2017 – Summer Edition

By: Charles Liu     Source: That’s Beijing        Date: 19/7/2017

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A diet of video games and old movies have influenced the most popular online trends, as seen by a list of the hottest Chinese internet slang from the first half of this year expected to bewilder anyone not up-to-date on some very obscure references.
As compiled by Headline News, the online slang terms originate from such varied sources as online video game banter, a Yu-Gi-Oh card game and even a 25-year-old Stephen Chow movie – subtle signs that Chinese youth are a little behind the times when it comes to pop culture.
Want to talk like a Chinese teenager? Here’s the list:

1. Fisty (“拳拳 quánquán”)

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This phrase is used to describe “cuteness” through violence and requires a short explanation of basic Mandarin. Continue reading

July 14th, 2017

Chinese Citizens Evade Internet Censors to Remember Liu Xiaobo

By: JAVIER C. HERNÁNDEZ.    Source: New York Times    Date: 14/7/2017

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BEIJING — The death on Thursday of China’s most prominent political prisoner, Liu Xiaobo, set off a frenzied effort by government censors to block discussion of his legacy online.

Candle emoticons and the phrase “R.I.P.” were banned on Weibo, a popular Chinese microblogging site. On many sites, searches of Mr. Liu’s name turned up zero results.

Still, Mr. Liu’s admirers found creative ways around the controls, using code words, videos and photographs to show solidarity and to criticize the government’s treatment of China’s only Nobel Peace laureate. Here’s a look at the reaction

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Some admirers saw a thunderstorm on Thursday as a sign.
When a thunderstorm erupted over Beijing shortly after Mr. Liu’s death, internet users embraced the imagery.

“It must be to mark the exit of a hero,” one Weibo user wrote. “The heavens are also moved.”

“Heaven is watching,” wrote a WeChat user, suggesting that China was being judged by a higher power for its treatment of Mr. Liu. The activist, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, had been sentenced to 11 years for his efforts to promote democracy.

Activists have accused the government of depriving Mr. Liu of proper medical care after a cancer diagnosis. Some critics warned that the treatment of Mr. Liu has marred China’s international reputation and tarnished the legacy of President Xi Jinping, who has taken a hard line against dissidents. Continue reading

Lin Ke’s interactive ‘Art Book’: where printed matter meets augmented reality

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In 2016 Lin Ke 林科 released a book via Tria publishing that presents a chronological overview of his output from 2010-2016.  As an artist Lin is known for innovative works which explore the impact of digital technology and computer operating systems on contemporary art and visual culture. Integrating images culled from social media platforms with playful subversions of standard software packages and graphical user interfaces, his practice employs screen recording software and programming code to blur the boundaries between real and virtual spaces.

After graduating from the China Academy of Art’s New Media Department (now the School of Intermedia Art) in 2008, Lin began a series of video works which were created without the use of a video camera. Capturing the mundane real-time actions governing artistic creation in the computer age, many feature the artist interacting with his laptop. We view these videos via the computer’s own camera, controlled from a distance with the use of a touchpad as the artist records his own movements to music.

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The resulting mirrored images, with their spectral layering of open windows, screen savers and desktop detritus present us with unsettling self-portraits of the digital age. As we increasingly experience life mediated by digital devices, they reinforce not only the reality of spending eight hours a day staring blankly at our computer screens but also the incursion of these virtual environments beyond the computer frame, personifying the uncanny possibility of a machine that can return our gaze.  Continue reading

Call for papers: ‘Contemporary Chinese Artists in the Globalised Art World’ Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art 5.1

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I serve on the editorial board for the Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, so I’m happy to announce that JCCA is currently soliciting submissions for an exciting new issue on ‘Contemporary Chinese Artists in the Globalised Art World’ slated to be published in 2018.

The end of the Chinese Cultural Revolution opened an entirely new chapter for modern Chinese history, and indeed, for Chinese art too. In 1993, as a section of the 45th Venice Biennale, Passaggio a Oriente (Passage to the Orient) was one of the first representations of Chinese contemporary art on the global art stage presenting fourteen Chinese artists. Externally, Chinese art started to attract the world’s attention by artists’ frequent participations in long standing art events in cities like Venice, Kassel, Lyon, Istanbul, Sharjah and Sydney, as well as important museum exhibitions and art fairs. Internally, contemporary art exhibition became international from the beginning of this millennium, precisely, marked by the third Shanghai Biennial (2000). The Chinese government’s awareness and anxiety about the internationalisation of cultural and creative industries through urban transformations, the institution of biennials and triennials invented and organised in various cities in China, and the rise of newly founded private art museums and galleries have all played a part in promoting Chinese artists and the development of contemporary art in the international context.

The term ‘Chinese’ in this journal is always cultural and signals a broad sense, to include artists not only from Mainland China, but also Hong Kong, Taiwan, as well as those global Chinese diasporas. The editors of this issue would like to invite article submissions from a variety of perspectives to produce a series of case studies of individual artists (or artist groups) and their work as representative examples of development in Chinese contemporary art within the last three decades. These individual case studies can be based on their artistic lives, conceptual strategies, speculative knowledge, political and social engagements, and methodological approaches to art production in response to the globalised art world today. As such, this issue is designed to stimulate original research, critical thinking and new understanding of Chinese contemporary art.
Timeline

Extended Deadline: *31 July 2017, abstracts due (300 words)*

30 September 2017, full manuscripts due (6-7,000 words)

Publication in Volume 5, Issue 1, Spring 2018

Please send submissions and correspondence to: Principal Editor Jiang Jiehongccva@bcu.ac.uk, with the subject ‘JCCA 5.1’. Please visit Intellect’s website http://www.intellectbooks.com to follow its house referencing guidelines.

Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art is an associate journal of the Centre for Chinese Visual Arts at Birmingham City University.

June 22nd, 2017

In China, universities teach how to go viral online

By:  Albee Zhang      Source:   Taipei Times     Date: 21/6/2017

 

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A 21-year-old student walked around her campus in China using invaluable skills she learned in class: Holding a selfie stick aloft, she livestreamed her random thoughts and blew kisses at her phone.
Jiang Mengna is majoring in “modelling and etiquette” at Yiwu Industrial & Commercial College near Shanghai, aspiring to join the growing ranks of young Chinese cashing in on internet stardom.
Hordes of Chinese millennials are speaking directly to the country’s 700 million smartphone users, streaming their lives to lucrative effect, fronting brands and launching businesses.
They are known as wanghong (網紅) — literally hot on the web — and they now represent an industry worth billions and so big it even has its own university curriculum. Continue reading

June 3rd, 2017

While the rest of the world tries to “kill email,” in China, it’s always been dead

By: Josh Horwitz              Source: Quartz     Date: 28/5/2017

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It’s a familiar story for students or businessmen on their first-ever visit to China. After rounds of beer and baijiu with potential clients, or a karaoke gathering through a university exchange program, the foreigner will ask the Chinese person sitting next to her for his email address.

 
The Chinese person will smile blankly, somewhat confused. He’ll offer her a phone number, along with a WeChat account. But the visitor doesn’t use WeChat, the messaging tool from tech giant Tencent that is China’s dominant mode of communication. Her Chinese friend doesn’t use Facebook, her main way of staying touch. Email’s a good compromise, she’ll insist.

 
The Chinese person will take a few seconds to remember his email address. He’ll then scribble down a jumble of numbers, maybe with a single letter— a18984703@163.net. The foreigner will be puzzled as to why this person has such a strange email account name. And she’ll also be puzzled when emails to her new acquaintance go unreplied.
In many parts of the world, email remains deathless—a relic of the desktop-era internet, before mobile and social media were on the landscape. It’s a convention: You can’t not have an email address. Continue reading

June 1st, 2017

‘Digital Samplers’ 数字采样者:An exhibition of ‘Post-digital’ Art which opened at the Galaxy Museum of Contemporary Art in Chongqing

 

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Press release below:

 

庆星汇当代美术馆GCA丨数字采样者,或处于网络态叠加中的新世代

中国艺术现场 关注正在发生的艺术事件!
本文自:重庆星汇当代美术馆gca

艺术家/Artists:
李亭葳/Li Tingwei
林科/Lin Ke
梁半/Liang Ban
刘野夫/Liu Yefu
罗苇/Luo Wei
苗颖/Miao Ying
佩恩恩/Payne Zhu
孙晓星/Sun Xiaoxing
田晓磊/Tian Xiaolei
涂朗/Tu Lang
王新一/Wang NewOne
叶甫纳+北鸥/Ye Funa+Beio
Kim Laughton
数字采样者,或处于网络态叠加中的新世代。
互联网真的存在吗?以什么样的形式?自身如何运作?
时至今日,互联网所塑造的后数字景观似乎无处不在,它可以是一种新的“数字共治”模式,同时也以不可见的“网络集体无意识”影响着我们的日常思维,总之它正在日益贯穿我们充满阻力的当代生活。
以算法美学驱动的数字殖民主义正在持续地复制、分配和主宰着整个网络世界中集体崩溃的后数字身体,同时侵略和治理着不断坍塌,同时不断自我修复的超链接景观。生活在后媒体时代的艺术从业者们的工作越来越像自动的数字采样机器一样,夜以继日地从社交媒体和网络平台进行永无止尽的采样和拼贴,陷入到一种图像后期制作的狂欢之中。
层出不穷的网络直播、播客平台突然之间汹涌而至,当代艺术家手中的工具和身处的机构越来越被架空之下,网络世界不断地集结了众多的业余采样者,这些业余采样者从图像中来,又到图像中去。他们热衷于在不同的网络平台进行表演和创作,进行全新的虚拟空间生产,这对当代艺术家的身份产生了一种压迫性的焦虑。
互联网正处在一种已经死亡,又同时活着;既不存在,又无处不在的网络态叠加之中,就像量子力学中的态叠加原理,既处于这个状态,又不处于这个状态,就是状态不确定性,只有当你有意识的观察到其中的一种状态,这种态叠加状态就塌缩为一种现实。生活在这种并发、关联、叠加和纠缠网络状态下的新世代一开始就和虚拟世界存在着一种高强度的依赖性关系。就像真实的身体和屏幕背后的无数虚拟身份,社交媒体中的点赞交际和现实世界的冷漠无情,数字采样者正在新的平台资本主义的殖民地上体验着多体的纠缠态和来自现实深处的撕裂感。

Digital Samplers, or A New Generation Deep Dive into Internet Superposition.
Does the internet really exist? In what forms? How does it operate?
To date, the spectacle of the post-digital as fashioned by the internet seems omnipresent. Both as a new model of “digital commoning” and as an invisible “Internet collective unconscious”, it affects our everyday modes of thought. In sum, it increasingly permeates contemporary life, full as it is of inertia.
The digital colonialism as driven by algorithmic aesthetics is continually replicating, dispersing, and dominating the post-digital body amid a collective collapse in the entire internet world—at once invading and governing that hyperlinked landscape continually collapsing and self-mending. The work of art practitioners living in a post-media age increasingly seems like automatic digital sampling, by day and by night engaging in ceaseless sampling and mash-ups on social media and internet platforms, ensnared in a euphoria of image post-production.
In endless profusion, internet broadcasts and blog platforms have surged. When the tles in the air, the world of the network keeps assembling numerous amateur samplers who emerge from images and then return to the images. They crave engaging in performances and creation on different internet platforms, and take part in the production of all-new virtual spaces. This produces, for the identity of the contemporary artist, a pressing anxiety.
The internet exists in a state of being already dead and yet still being alive; it is in the state of network superimposition of not being there and yet being omnipresent. Much like the theory of the superposition of states in quantum mechanics, it both exists in such a state and does not exist in such a state; in other words, a state of uncertainty. Only when you consciously observe one of the states will this superposition of states collapse into a reality. Living in such networked states of simultaneity, interconnection, superposition, and entanglement, the new generation has from the very start had an intense reliance on the virtual world. Just like the actual body and the countless virtual identities behind the screen, or the interaction of “likes” on social media and the indifference and callousness in the actual world, digital samplers experience—on these new platforms, capitalist colonies—multifarious intermeshed states and a sense of fragmentation emanating deep within reality.
Translated by Daniel Ho 何思衍
出品人/Producer:
黄中华/Huang Zhonghua
艺术总监/Art Director:
杨述/Yang Shu
策展人/Curator:
马永峰/Ma Yongfeng
展览统筹/Coordinators:
李丽/Li Li, 朱君/Zhu Jun
开幕时间/Opening Time:
2017年04月16号,16:00
16:00, Apr. 16th, 2017
地址/Venue:
重庆两江新区星汇两江商业艺术中心3区星汇当代美术馆1-2楼
F1-F2, The Galaxy Museum of Contemporary Art, Bloc 3, XinghuiLiangjiangArt Business Center, Liangjiang New District, Chongqing
展期/Duration:
2017年04月17号至2017年05月18号
Apr. 17th, 2017 to May. 18th, 2017
主办方/Organized by:
GCA 星汇当代美术馆
The Galaxy Museum of Contemporary Art
对外开放时间
每周二至周天:10:00-18: 00(周一闭馆)
票务信息:免费
opening time:Tue-Mon 10:00-18:00
Ticket information: Free
Tel: +86 23 63111269
E-mail: gcacenter@126.com
地址:重庆两江新区星汇两江艺术商业中心3区1-2楼
F1-2 Block 3, Xing Hui Liang Jiang Art Business Center,
Liangjiang New Zone District,
Chongqing, China 400021

May 24th, 2017

Three Quirky Projects Make Art Out Of China’s Polluted Air

By: Beth Gardiner         Source: National Geographic       Date: 19/5/2017
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Artist Liu Bolin wears a mask and vest with 24 mobile phones as he live broadcasts dirty air in Beijing. It was December 19, 2016—the fourth day after a red alert was issued for dangerous pollution.
Dirty air is part of life in China, unavoidable and in your face. It has inspired a tremendous boom in renewable energy, as the Chinese government begins to try to wean the country off coal. It has also inspired a level of citizen action that is unusual in an autocratic country.

And some of those active citizens are artists.

1. SMOG-WALKING, LIVE
Liu Bolin didn’t set out to make art about polluted air, but the subject found him anyway. His bright, high-ceilinged studio sits at the end of an alleyway lined with brick buildings, on the outskirts of Beijing in an old industrial neighborhood now known as the 798 art district. He moved there after his previous studio was razed in one of the waves of redevelopment that have transformed the city. Continue reading

Where Next? Gary Zhexi Zhang on “Imagining the dawn of the ‘Chinese century'”

In an article in May’s edition of Frieze, Gary Zhexi Zhang explores ‘Sinofuturism’ , narratives of ‘techno-orientalism’ and the impact of the ‘Chinese century’ on contemporary art

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Where Next?

Over dinner in Shanghai a few years ago, I was debating the question of futurity with a friend. Our heads clouded by baijiu (sorghum wine), I found myself glibly insisting that neoliberalism had wrung out what remained of the utopian imagination, echoing the grim capitalist realism articulated by Mark Fisher, Fredric Jameson and others. Cut to 2017: Fisher is sadly no longer with us and even Francis Fukuyama, the political economist whose ‘end of history’ thesis postulated the infinite horizon of neoliberal capitalism, recently acknowledged: ‘Twenty-five years ago, I didn’t have a sense or a theory about how democracies can go backward […] And I think they clearly can.’

If the era of liberal democracy is crumbling before our eyes, alternate futures seem all the more potent amidst the ugliness of the present. Of course, I hit a dead end that night in Shanghai. Why should the ‘end of history’ mean anything in China? I only had to glance over at the skyline to see that the future never left: it just went elsewhere.

Continue reading