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Posts tagged ‘艺术 art’

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As requested, please find above the full audio recording from the last meeting with Grant KESTER. While we did not adhere too closely to the text this time, several common interests/curiosities, those inevitable questions and quite a bit of editorial juxtaposed with self-reflection from an optimist, a “former” artist, a cynic and several foodies provided interesting insight into politicization as a viewing mechanism, “multiple art worlds”, “nomadic agents of critique”, “spontaneity (not) as stupidity” and the weakness of opposition, among other flows…

We’ll continue with the fallout of relational/dialogical practices with a reading suggested by Michael EDDY—Claire BISHOP’s latest book entitled Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship. Chapter 8, “Delegated Performance: Outsourcing Authenticity”, was suggested, but seeing as this book has been in wide circuit since its publishing and given our tendency to stray, perhaps another experiment could be attempted for each participant to read a chapter of interest and then introduce it to the rest of the group, as once attempted during the also relevant meeting “Modes of Activism“. What do you think? If you are interested to join this session of Happy Friends, to be held on

Sunday, 2 December 2012
18:00 at HomeShop

please send us an e-mail or leave a comment to this post in order to receive a copy of the reading, and let us know which of the following chapters floats your boat:

  1. The Social Turn: Collaboration and Its Discontents, p 11
  2. Artificial Hells: The Historic Avant-garde, p 41
  3. Je participe, tu participes, il participe . . . , p 77
  4. Social Sadism Made Explicit, p 105
  5. The Social Under Socialism, p 129
  6. Incidental People: APG and Community Arts, p 163
  7. Former West: Art as Project in the Early 1990s, p 193
  8. Delegated Performance: Outsourcing Authenticity, p 219
  9. Pedagogic Projects: ‘How do you bring a classroom to life as if it were a work of art?’, p 241

新书发布 + 艺术家对谈

Lijiang Studio Mural Stories: Contemporary Art Episodes in Rural China, book launch and talk

日期/时间 date__ 8月19日周日,晚上7点 | Sunday, 19 August, 19:00
地点 location__ 家作坊 HomeShop [地图map


participating artists: Hu Jiamin, Lei Lei, Liu Bin, Liu Chuanhong, Na Yingyu, Tang Yi, Wu Junyong
“Mural Project” curator & “Lijiang Studio Mural Stories” compiler: Li Lisha
Lijiang Studio “New Countryside Laboratory“ director: Jay Brown




This book is a thorough documentation of one art project that Lijiang Studio, a not-for-profit arts organization, did in a Naxi village near the tourist city of Lijiang. It tells the story of local farmers and artists collaborating to paint murals. It is an attempt to probe the possibilities of creating contemporary art in a rural area.

New Countryside Laboratory Mural Project
The “Mural Painting Project” run by Lijiang Studio in 2008 aims to get involved in building the Chinese “New Countryside” (xin nongcun jianshe). The “New Countryside” is a term that has come up in recent years to describe the new status of rural China in the context of urban China. In our experience the specific application of the term varies greatly.

Lijiang Studio
Lijiang Studio has been making experiments relating to art and village life in this Jixiang (meaning “auspicious”) village near Lijiang, in Southwest China’s Yunnan Province, since 2005. We run an artist-in-residence program with the aim of making art that is as interesting to the visiting artist as it is to local people as it is to us. We have indulged in this in a strictly not-for-profit way. If you have any ideas you think would be interesting in our context, please contact us at lsirlisa@gmail.com.



northernmost mojito in the teapot
with earth from Mohe, China’s northernmost point
by Wang Chenchen

更新 update 2012.08.18











Dear all:

Good to know you are still in town (despite of the PM 2.5 and traffic jam) and are stronger (that’s why you are here, i guess).
We spent some money in Hollywood for advertise our Miji Concert. You will see it from the scene of “agent O speaking alien language” in Men in Black 3.
So we present Phil MINTON and Audrey CHEN, masters of voice improvisation. You will know how human body extending to a magical instrument.

On June 20th at HomeShop there is a workshop for anyone who are interesting on voice, hold by Phil and Audrey. We start at 7:00 PM sharp.

On June 21st, at 2Kolegas. we start at 8:30 PM sharp.

Pls check attachment for details. Registration for the workshop is required, small pls help donation fee of 30 RMB.

Pls tell your friends in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Xi’an as well. It’s a great news for new music lover. Pls make them happy.

家-工-作坊第13回由撒把芥末与家作坊组织。Home-Work-Shop No. 13 is organised by SUBjam and HomeShop.

Jonah Brucker-Cohen 艺术家讲座和Drawbot工作坊

Jonah Brucker-Cohen artist talk and Drawbot workshop at HomeShop

Time:  Thursday, May 31st 7:00 pm ~ 9:00 pm
Material cost:  15 元


Drawbot Workshop__
Drawbot is a drawing system that anyone can use without having to learn electronics. It is a simple bot that mixes standard drawing materials (in this case magic markers) with weighted motors and plastic cups. When the cups vibrate, they draw circles and lines depending on their overall weight and power. Come to HomeShop and learn how to make your own!

Talk Description__Dr. Brucker-Cohen will discuss his projects and work in the theme of “Deconstructing Networks” in both physical and online instantiations. He will introduce his projects that attempt to challenge and subvert accepted notions of network interaction from software manipulation and rule-based systems to translating virtual processes and conventions into the physical world. Some projects he will discuss include “BumpList”, an email community for the determined, “Alerting Infrastructure!”, a website hit counter that destroys a building, “PoliceState” a fleet of radio controlled policecars who’s movements are dictated by keywords sniffed on a local network, “Wifi-Hog” a portable system for regaining control of public wireless networks, “Wifi-Liberator” an open source toolkit to broadcast free access to pay-per-use wireless networks, “America’s Got No Talent” a data visuzliation he co-created with Katherine Moriwaki that ranks American Reality Television shows based on their exposure to social media such as Twitter, “SimpleTEXT” a dynamically generated performance that is controlled by participants through texting messages from their mobile phones, and several more projects. These projects deconstruct and challenge the foundations of network connectivity and social experiences online and offline.


Jonah Brucker-Cohen is a researcher, artist, and writer. He received his Ph.D. in the Disruptive Design Team of the Electronic and Electrical Engineering Department of Trinity College Dublin. His work and thesis is titled “Deconstructing Networks” and includes over 77 creative projects that critically challenge and subvert accepted perceptions of network interaction and experience. His work has been exhibited and showcased at venues such as San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, MOMA, ICA london, Whitney Museum of American Art (Artport), Palais Du Tokyo,Tate Modern, Ars Electronica, Transmediale, and more. His writing has appeared in publications such as WIRED, Make, Gizmodo, Neural and more. His Scrapyard Challenge workshops have been held in over 14 countries in Europe, South America, North America, Asia, and Australia since 2003.

链接 Links
Interactive Networked Projects__www.coin-operated.com
Scrapyard Challenge Workshops__www.scrapyardchallenge.com

(非常感谢高源翻译的英文原版 Chinese translation of the original post in English thanks to 高源鸿!!! 谢谢!!!

几个月之前,有位在2011光州设计双年展(主题为图可图非常图)非定名设计单元工作的朋友介绍了几位她的同事给我认识。他们在对祭奠用品进行研究, 大概这些用品是他们非定名设计的研究对象。我的朋友知道,我在和附近寿衣店的邻居有交流,制作了一些纸质物件,所以她研究祭奠用品的这几个同事想知道,这些店在哪儿。我给他们发了几张我制作的纸件和研究的照片,但其实我都没有给寿衣店内部拍过照。不过,我确实故意没告诉他们这些店的具体位置(其实就在我们工作室的正对面)。

这听着有点傻,但是我想声明一下,我这么做并不是因为想独占我周边的文化资源。我只是想研究这些小店同时不影响它们的真实性。这些小店从一开始,就笼罩在一片神秘之中。一年之前,我们在准备北二条小报第一期的时候,老萧和我特地去和问过开寿衣店的山东母子,要不要在我们的报纸上打个免费广告。两人拒绝了我们的提议,理由是做这种“迷信”的广告是不吉利的。政府对这种迷信产业进行着严格的监管,而同时又垄断着殡葬业。比如, 从我们对门邻居店里购买的骨灰盒,是不能进入公墓的,因为我们的邻居没有官方的批准。我想,这可能和他们本身不稳定的处境有关。他们在回答问题时,彬彬有礼而小心谨慎。所以,我们写了一篇短文,发在北二条小报上,仅向英语读者介绍这一现象。


11月的时候,我们看了Brendan McGetrick的演讲,他本人是“未定名设计”的馆长之一。他以让人耳目一新的方式,向我们呈现出了各种创意与作品。他运用简单质朴的日常物件,科技产品,甚至社会现象来扩展设计的定义。比如:“政治抗议手册,DNA条码,死刑执行程序,跨洲货币体系”等等。那么这些如何成为设计的范例呢?McGetrick写到:“本次展会的目的,就是对“设计”进行重新的定义。设计是满足人类需求的各种战略解决方案,不是艺术家为了标榜自我而造出的主观产物”。

祭奠用品的设计可谓是McGetrick理念的反义词。这些用品悉数列举了日常生活的所有物件,通常涵盖我们文化当中的奢侈商品,比如:钱、汽车、高档衣服、手机和大楼。这些用品并非照搬物品原来的样子 ,也不是按照“山寨”的理念进行的。在某种程度上说,山寨好于原装产品,有的时候山寨机还会微妙而幽默地改变原机的功能。决定祭奠用品的外形的还有另外一个实际原因:为了便于焚烧,它们是用纸做的。因为这样的最终目的,设计当中的其他元素往往不被考虑在内。制造材料一定要能够充分燃烧,这样才能尽快进入地府——虽然几乎任何材料都是可燃的。曾几何时,人们在提供祭品的时候更加慷慨。但现在人们有着当代的理解,往往选择更普通的方式祭奠过世的爱人或祖先。 现在人人都可进行祭奠活动,所以祭奠也变得不在神圣,趋于理性。但是毕竟,相比于Georges Bataille提出的,用文字寄托哀思,或Jacques Attali倡导的,寄悲情于当代音乐,烧纸钱、烧祭物,显然还是更加直接的祭奠方式。然而这些用品必须做到能物尽其用同时价格低廉。所以,与现代社会的其他产品一样,祭奠用品也是大规模的现成制品。一套九件的祭奠品仅售15元。如果钱不是问题的话,还可以定做娃娃屋大小的别墅,或者等离子电视。在北京的小店里你可以在列着上百条物件的清单上订货,然后河北的制造者就会发货过来。不过,一般来说,卖的最好的还是成捆的通胀率极高的冥币,价格十分公道。






我们周边其实有很多家寿衣店。我决定去接触临近医院的一家更为“正规”的寿衣店。和我家附近的几家寿衣店差不多,这家店也是24小时开放的。毕竟,当生命走到尽头的时候,说不好什么时候,寿衣就派上用场了。一个晚上,我和陈陈一起去了这家寿衣店,他们比我想象的更愿意谈这个话题,我本以为他们会对此缄默无言。与我交谈的女士不认为寿衣店有任何不同,她也不认为所谓的私人处购买骨灰盒不可进入公墓的说法是真的。她给出的理由是,我邻居不像他们是本地人,入行时间短,所以在与当地顾客交谈时更为敏感。这位女士还对我拿去的纸件做出了批评意见。一个星期后我拿着改进过的纸件又去找她,这次纸件上有了手绘的细节。她问我,其他的像冰箱、洗衣机、衣柜床的物件在什么地方。正是她的态度导致了我的变节,让我觉得,之前的谨慎低调都是不必要的。祭奠,本是很个人的行为;但若仅仅因为质疑这一活动的纯粹性,便以此为题,公开讨论,是会让人感觉,多少有些尴尬。(你真相信灵魂吗?)说实话,对于这一精神世界的论断,我们无可稽考;而未来人们将以何种方式祭奠先人,我们也不得而知。我们把一种行为冠以“设计”之名的那一刻,其实就已经表明,这已不再是种信仰。因为,我们看到的,不再是真相,而是某个具体的物件,被赋予了具体的用途,被视作为满足人类需求而设计的一整套战略解决方案。这不禁让我想起了Vilem Flusser的名言:“设计者都是攻于心计,巧设陷阱的算计者。但如果通过讨论,我们可以获得另外一个视角,学会在思考的时候,不只局限于融合、利用、或强行引入某种文化元素,那么,也许在这时,我们可以说,自己真正实现了外国习俗与自身艺术的水乳交融。艺术作品不是人类征服精神世界的工具;不是对逝者简单粗暴的讽刺;相反,艺术作品可以是纯粹的;但真正的艺术来不得半点匆忙。

Several months ago a friend working for the “Un-Named Design” section of the 2011 Gwangju Design Biennale (titled “Design is not Design is Design”) put me in touch with some of her colleagues researching paraphernalia associated with death rituals, presumably as examples of un-named design. My friend was aware of the paper objects I have been making in dialogue with the neighborhood Shouyi, so the researchers asked where they could find these shops. I sent them some images of my objects and research, as I hadn’t even taken images of the insides of the Shouyi stores. But I deliberately refrained from telling them where our neighbors’ store is (it’s directly across from us in the alleyway).

In the summer one of our turtles stopped moving. We buried its body under the shrub by the gates. 夏天的时候,我们养的四只乌龟中有一只死了,我们将它埋在门口的灌木丛里。

This sounds silly now, but in my defense, I swear it wasn’t because I wanted to be the only cultural poacher in the neighborhood. I was simply trying to remain as true as possible to the subject I am following, which from the outset of my acquaintance seemed shrouded in secrecy. When we were preparing the first Beiertiao Leaks a year ago, Xiao and I went over to ask if the Shandong-bred mother-son business team living and working there would place an advertisement free-of-charge in our small newspaper. They refused on the grounds that it was bad luck to publicize as a profession dealing in “superstition.” They didn’t want publicity and wouldn’t allow any pictures or direct mentions of their store printed. Being a sector based on spirituality and superstition, it is kept a close eye on by authorities, and we were told that the government has a monopoly on the funerary industry. Apparently, if one were to buy an urn from our neighbors, it couldn’t be buried in an official cemetery, as they aren’t officially sanctioned. We suspected part of the issue was the instability of their own personal situation. They cagily but politely answered our inquiries, though, so we prepared a short article introducing the phenomenon only to the English-speaking readership.

The title of this brief piece had the Chinese characters “寿衣“ in it though, so the day after distributing the scrappy new copies of the first edition of Beiertiao Leaks we received reprimands from some of the neighbors for even broaching the subject. It seemed from their reactions that, aside from this little shop’s ambiguous relation to the state, as an area of human activity addressing the mysteries of what happens after you die, one shouldn’t speak openly about these rituals.

We had never given it a name, so in order to wish it well, we decided on one: 龟龟 (Gui Gui). 我们的乌龟生前没有名字,但为了祝福它,我们决定叫它龟龟。

Watching a presentation in November by Brendan McGetrick, one of the curators of “Un-Named Design,” we saw an inspiring methodology in organizing a wide range of ideas and artifacts. Toward this, there was a thoughtful attempt to broaden the definition of design to examples of rustic and simple but effective uses of everyday items, scientific innovations and even protocols of action and social situations: “a political protest manual, DNA barcodes, execution procedures, a transcontinental monetary system.” So what made these diverse examples design? McGetrick wrote: “The goal of this theme is to reframe design as a set of strategic solutions to human needs, rather than an ego-driven pursuit of subjective beauty.”

Shouyi goods draw from the design world in the most flagrant sense that McGetrick was reacting against, as they itemize the essential commodities of our lives, and more often consist of the most luxurious fetishes that our cultures share, like money, cars, fancy clothes, mobile phones, and mansions. Their production process rarely results in direct copies, of course. Neither are they really intended to function like shanzhai products, which are in a sense copies better than the original, though they often include subtle and sometimes humorous twists and references to their repurposing. A simple question of materiality determines the boxy appearance of Shouyi goods: they are made of paper and intended to be burnt. The indifference of fire determines a certain indifference of production where other definitions of design come in. The material must adequately combust, thereby expeditiously crossing from the world of the living to that of the dead—but almost anything burns. Having understood this in a peculiarly modern sense, as compared with the more elaborate offerings and sacrifices of bygone times, many people normally opt for rather indifferent forms of tribute to their deceased loved ones or ancestors. The modern sense of sacrifice is that with its democratization has come its effective desacralization and rationalization. However, the ritual of burning Shouyi goods is obviously intended more directly as sacrifice than its substitution with literature (Georges Bataille) or its resonance in all modern music forms (Jacques Attali). It fulfills its function but it must be cheap. Therefore, like all aspects of the modern world, it is conventionally mass-produced and readymade. An average full household set of the nine necessary amenities costs only 15 yuan. If money is no object, one can order the larger dollhouse-size villas or 3/4-scale plasma screens, from a catalogue of hundreds of choices, as the small shops in Beijing usually have them delivered from Hebei manufacturers on request. But logically, as money is an object, the most popular sales are bundles of extremely inflated denominations of “Hell Money,” a very good value-for-your-dollar deal.

What can a turtle do with a car, they questioned. 他们在琢磨,一直乌龟要辆车做什么呢.

But why, I wondered, should this be logical? If Shouyi is about venerating the dead and trying to make their afterlives more dignified, then why are we satisfied with the most cheaply-produced replicas? Is it that the most generic commodities are the most ready stand-in for “pure exchange”? And yet if there is the allowance of kitsch (for instance, pagers and mobile phones that boast of dual-band SIM cards functioning both on Earth and in Heaven, or Renminbi with the face of a god in place of Mao Zedong) then why do we have to buy these sham-brand-name goods from dealers instead of making our own or customizing them to suit our personalities, affections and values? Does it say something about our relationships with our relatives?

With this line of questioning in mind, I produced some very basic paper objects and brought them over to the shop to see if they would accept them to sell. Turning them over, our neighbors commented on the design but confessed they wouldn’t be able to sell them. They were free to set the price and to keep the money, I assured them, while the mother asked dubiously again and again whether they needed to pay me. My only request was to report to us how people perceived them. On our insistence, they said they were willing to take a couple of them, though, just to see what would happen. In my mind, I thought perhaps that at least the sign of the object being made by hand might make a difference to someone. The shop owners said that in the unlikely event someone bought one of them, no matter the price, they were more likely to put them on their shelves and hold onto them rather than set fire to them. This was interesting but still a frustrating compromise; it neatly avoided the problematic desire for real engagement that is the intention of my work, and which determined the relative secrecy and modest scale of my project. In any case, the possibility was there: passing the doors for the next couple of weeks, I was pleased to see my colorful car on the glass counter. After some time it disappeared, though I know it was never sold. They had simply tolerated my meddling enough and couldn’t justify the use of space. We were awkward enough to never again address the topic.

A boy was asked by his mother where Gui Gui is now, and he pointed up toward the dark sky. 一个小男孩问他妈妈,龟龟去了哪里,于是他的妈妈指向夜空.

Rituals surrounding death are a commonality among almost all peoples of the world, though the manner in which I grew up included fairly few practices comparable to Shouyi. For many, death is where religion is concentrated or re-emerges, as it is one of the only unaccounted-for parts of humans’ experience, otherwise always supposed to be understood. I remember funerals of my relatives seeming rather like any other momentous occasion, though blacker in mood. Some believe in heaven, but I don’t. In this, I may differ from other members even of my own family or those close to me (though on my mother’s side, which is Jewish and so the more distinct cultural identity, you could say there is a thoroughly secular tendency among sections of my relatives: in my uncle Alex’s words in an email, “An asteroid will hit the earth and it will all eventually end. It’s all bullshit.”). Traditions, if they can be said, fragilely, to exist in our case, do so only insofar as they punctuate our disparate lives.

In a way, this is the design of culture if not religion, hard-wired or useful enough to withstand all the dissolutions of the modern world. The gestures of a priest, the words of a rabbi or the rites of a woman burning paper money on the street are in some ways designs of community. In the latter case, perhaps it is the design that recreates in symbolic form a familial system of interdependency and debt that structures the lives of the living in China, and acknowledges its extending beyond. The custom of burning paper replicas might be seen to re-establish connections that can never be referred to exclusively as material, even as the designs of the objects themselves are periodically updated or added to.

As I am speaking from a rather uninformed perspective, it is hard to go much further into what might be anthropological, sociological or religious theories of action and belief, and it is also here where theories and beliefs splinter into seemingly contradictory positions. How can we really commune with ghosts if we sympathize with their presence in so utilitarian a manner? This question raised, am I already too late? A whole slew of understandings and misunderstandings of what is real belief underpins its approach as art, pulling in the contradictory directions of doubt and identification. After all, how can we say for sure that this intimacy desired is something actually shared with the people who burn the paper objects for their loved ones? Has the ritual itself not become something “diluted” into expected tradition? And therefore, what is the relation of individuals to their customs; as the outsider, isn’t it simply not my place to enter?

There are in fact many Shouyi shops in our neighborhood. I decided that it was time to approach one of the more “official” shops near the hospital. Like our neighbors they are open all hours, to match the contingency of schedule that moderates the ending of a life. One evening I went over with Chenchen and found that they were much more forthcoming in discussing the topic, rather than more closed as I had assumed. The woman there didn’t think there was actually a difference in the level of legitimacy of Shouyi shops, and she dismissed the idea that urns of so-called unofficial origin wouldn’t be acceptable in official graveyards. The explanation that she instead provided for the difference between the shops was that her family, made up of Beijing natives, did not come from away and had been in the business a long time, so they could be more sensitive in their counsel to local customers. The woman gave me criticisms of the objects I brought her. I returned a week later with a new version of a paper car, this time with hand-painted details, and she asked me where the other items were, the refrigerator, washing machine, wardrobe, bed, and so on. Her attitude was what finally lead me to this betrayal, to loosen my hold on the discretion I felt necessary for real engagement. Activity that operates on rather personal levels sits awkwardly when shifted to a discussion that could be called public, as I am doing now, namely for the reason that doubts arise about the genuineness of the engagement. (Are you a real believer?) This can’t be proven either way, in the end, and the future of this engagement cannot be predicted. Classifying a practice as design is a sign of the removal of belief, as one sees the ends an object is put to, its actualization “as a set of strategic solutions to human needs,” rather than as truth itself (a suspicion that recalls Vilém Flusser’s assertion: “A designer is a cunning plotter laying his traps.”) But if opening up the discussion allows us to see another perspective and to extend the idea beyond fitting in, exploiting or imposing, then that may be when this external custom is made into our own ritual. Rather than reining in spirits for instrumental ends or liquidating everything into the irony that glazes the oblivion lying behind our modern world, artwork can make moves toward becoming authentic—it cannot arrive there too hastily.

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.
家作坊语音导览中文版摘录 excerpt from the Chinese version of the HomeShop Audio Tour
Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.
家作坊语音导览英文版摘录 excerpt from the English version of the HomeShop Audio Tour

项目:家作坊独家提供的语音导览系统是一个为了更好地与新老朋友交流而准备的艺术项目,从本质上讲,它既是一种通过声音与话语进行的空间探索,也 同时是让人们更加直观地了解我们这个“机构”的一种手段。本项目对公众开放,每个人均可带上耳机在交道口北二条8号及周边区域漫步,聆听萦绕在空 间内的过去、现在及未来的声音。

耳机使用结束后应当完好归还。出于礼貌,我们希望您能完整地听完导览介绍,当然这不是强制性的, 如果前来参观的人们能够通过这个语音导览系统获得更丰富的信息和更具教育意义的体验那么我们的目的也就达成了。但是作为一项适合家庭的活动,它并不能保证 满足喜欢刨根问底的参观者所提出的每一个问题;在这种情况下,参观者可向任一房间内的任一位工作人员寻求帮助。


PROGRAM: Available exclusively on-site at HomeShop, the HomeShop Audio Tour is a new and exciting audio adventure introducing fresh visitors and old friends alike to the story of our would-be institution. All members of the public are welcome to stroll around the grounds at Jiaodaokou Beiertiao No. 8 with a headset, listening to the voices of the past, present and future animating the space.

Conditions of use: After borrowing a headset, individuals are responsible for returning it in good working order. It is polite to listen to the whole tour, but not compulsory. Taking part in the HomeShop Audio Tour does provide an informative and educating experience, but as an activity suitable for families, it is not guaranteed to satisfy every question posed by the most keenly inquisitive visitor. In such case, visitors are requested to kindly refer to one of the human attendants occupying any of HomeShop’s several rooms.

Price: basically free
Accessibility: available in English and Chinese
Enjoy the experience!

Image courtesy Douglas Lewis

A specter is haunting our reading club: a little German guy named Heidegger.

We will take on the text “The origin of the work of art,” by Martin Heidegger, 1935/37 (& 1950 & 1960) (please inquire to receive a copy). Meeting time: Saturday, September 24th at 5pm.

As mentioned last meeting, here are some links to the talks hosted by Creative Time (hope you can access them), which take place broadly within the discussion on “social practice,” a vast and ambiguous term that relates to our conversations of John Roberts’ text. Through terms such as “attenuated complexity” and “aesthetic reason,” Roberts promoted the idea of producing space for aesthetic reflection within seemingly non-aesthetic reason (like subverting books distributed in the “normal ways” of pirated books, or doing NGO-type work as art), within the struggle over visibility and its relevance for autonomy and art.

Brian Holmes’ “Post-Fordisms and Culture”

Nato Thompson on “Socially Engaged Art Outside the Bounds of an Artistic Discipline”

Claire Bishop’s “Participation and Spectacle: Where Are We Now?”

check this out while you’re at it, Claire Pentecost

Michael EDDY (问题/questions) & 麦颠 MAI Dian (回复/responses)………[节选/excerpt

Does the way in which we live have to be visualized? Of course not; but it seems that visibility is an important part of both art and activism.

How do both art and activism approach a public?




即便是一种所谓的激进的政治艺术,大家也没有想过避免大众,相反,他们也在以自己的方式解释“为人民服务”, 比如戈达尔。东湖艺术计划的被发起的目的,是因为寻求在主流媒体与本地媒体被审查的新闻与事实,能够藉由另一种语言与信息通道—艺术的语言—从审查里挣脱出来。这个信息会发散到什么程度,不会有人保证,因为艺术毕竟在某种程度上“特殊的语言”。计划的发起人之一李巨川是戈达尔的爱好者,另外一个发起人李郁也是戈达尔的爱好者。李郁自己的摄影作品,是通过对新闻再现(news representation )的再现(representation of the news representation) 来试图反诘主流的媒体话语。他将类似的手法应用了东湖艺术作品中。对地图再现的再现(representation of map representation),不仅历史和媒体说谎,地图—-在某种程度上拥有科学的威严—同样也在说谎。那么,这种通过画面(照片+装置)展现出来的的艺术语言,会在哪些媒介上,被哪些人所接受?事实是,艺术媒体或者研讨会,讨论会。而接收者大多数是接受过专业艺术训练或者有所阅读的业余爱好者。艺术所能影响到的,可能只是一个“公众”集合中的少数人(甚至这些人具有某种专业主义倾向),更加无奈的现实是,艺术所关注的事件的直接“当事人”,比如,失地的农民,明确地告诉我们“看不懂”。





Do we need to produce things—models, discourses, trains of thought, if not outright objects—because of this program of visibility?


是否需要? 回想起过去的一些经验,我的问题可能不在于是否“需要”, 而是“如何”传递以及传递“什么”信息—-既然传递欲望是不可避免的,且现实中,我们也未曾“一概”避免。而且,这只是我们一厢情愿,从我们的角度来看这个问题。另一厢,Visibility/publicity本身也包括了其他的面向:visibility,除了所谓的亲密关系的范围,以及个人以DIY伦理自我表达,若是要面对所谓的大众媒体(无论是官方媒体还是商业媒体。中国并没有真正意义上的“公共媒体”—所以不便加以评论),那么它的“可见性/公共性”的生产机制是什么? 大众媒体出于什么动机要报道和传递“this program”? (某)艺术又如何籍此扩展其范围?其意义是如何发生外溢的?这个过程当中是一个“有选择的过程”,其结果是选择后有特定导向的结果吗?它是抱着“启蒙”的目的?或满足一种“满足与快感”的需求,还是其中包含着两者兼有的一种所谓的曲折的策略?也许,这需要细致且谨慎地考察媒体的话语生产。

那这所谓的visibility又是怎样出来的?是因为distinguishability?比如,我们这里所关注的“食物”,就其生产方面而言,它是否提供了一种对当前食物生产模式与安全危机的替代方式,甚至是现阶段一个可靠的an alternative to instead of capitalism for the future? 或者,它只是中产阶级的休闲方式,其意义和“农家餐馆”甚至“高尔夫球场”,旅游胜地并没有根本区别,它是新的fashion(就像记者总是以为的“时尚达人”,或者,通过“时尚达人”才能报道—-政治是要避免的)?

那么,这个program是怎么样被看的(how is it seen by the others, including media?) 如果你拒绝开放你的园子,另当别论。但如果你开放,那么你的生活(或者说实验)会如何被他人所解读,所阐释?你的实验可能的结果,常常被他人输入另一套(或者多套)话语模式,是不是?怎么来处理这样一种局面—当误读(misrepresentation, 且不说ignorance)?当然,这里需要往前追溯一下,即,在出发点,你打算想将你的生活方式当作一个开放的艺术品,放弃意义的所有权,对所有人开放?还是打算我应该说出我自己所想的(因为你已经在做你自己想做的)?完全的开放,可能会有危险,即所谓的“收编”。比如,被一家以lifestyle为主的媒体将你并置在咖啡馆、购物广场、美食以及美甲店或者创业成功案例的页面之间时,你的感觉是怎样的?



Does the way in which we live have to be visualized? Of course not; but it seems that visibility is an important part of both art and activism.

How do both art and activism approach a public?

I believe the desire to transmit occurs in everyone. As regards activism, even the most individualistic anarchist or the individual preferring spiritual connection long for sympathy from others. This is reflected in self-expressive anarchist brochures and independent media, regardless how large its public sphere extends. Yet for other social movement actors, social propaganda is a crucial tool, as the participation and support of the public is important, correspondence with media likewise, and especially reports from the mass media.

Viewing petitioning as a form of “activism with Chinese characteristics,” we see how much these actions rely on media. To the degree that reporters and opinion-makers become the saving straw for petitioners, hoping reporting and giving-voice can form and inform social pressure. For them this is an exceptional way of transmitting their “grievances” to the uncorrupted political upper classes.

Meanwhile an art characterized by absolute auto-discourse doesn’t exist. An artist working with text, images, sound in own his or her studio can be viewed as one involved in an auto-discourse. But once the work leaves the studio then it must face the public, again, regardless of the number or extent reached, which is out of control. The work no longer belongs just to the artist. Court artists served the emperor, religious artists serve god, and the majority of Chinese artists now serve the market, or some dubious “consumer,” an abstract collective. The newest edition of News Weekly consequently featured art’s “contractual fulfillment” on its cover. In this process, not only does art shun the taboo of the mass, on the contrary, it tries with all its might to enslave the mass: the artification of the object and the objectification of art.  De-politicization and innovative industrializing.

Even in so-called radical political art, artists don’t think about avoiding the public/mass. On contrary, they are defining “serving the people” in their own ways, for example Godard. The purpose of East Lake Project was focused on the liberation of censored contents through a different language and information channel, namely the language of art. The extent to which this information will circulate, no one will know, because art to a certain degree is a special discourse. One of the East Lake Project initiators, LI Ju Quan is a Godard fan, as is the co-initiator LI Yu, whose own photo work involves the subversion of mainstream media discourses through “representation of the news representation.” Employing similar means for East Lake Project, concerning “representation of the map representation,” showing not only history and media are lying, but also the map, which assumes the authority of science. Therefore, this art language manifests through image: what kind of media/people will find this language acceptable? In this case, photo + installation. The fact is those who accept these are art media, symposiums, seminars, workshops, in other words circulating within its own sphere. The majority of recipients received professional art training or make up amateur art readerships. Interested population more likely limited to a minority of the public. These people might have an inclination to professionalism. More disheartening are the responses of the protagonists of those events that this kind of art concentrates on, for instance the farmers who lost their land, who unambiguously and emphatically tell us they don’t understand.

Of course art isn’t the only incomprehensible thing. The articles on “My Donghu” website [wmddh.net; currently inactive] are just as incomprehensible: trying to demonstrate irrationality of the project from different angles, to reveal barbarism, violence, antidemocratic tendencies within the area’s development. So the question how art + activism approach the public while facing a so-called communication barrier is not only a matter of discourse and language but also of the value standards, immediacy and difference intrinsic to people’s opinions concerning a compact issue. The farmers, they need direct language, and the simplest logic: land is taken away, compensation is needed, such compensation should be just (also in a peaceful manner).

Yet the focus of art and activism in the main is concerned with regulative democracy/environmental protection (ie. the bigger issues), and here exists a big gap with the farmers. Most of the latter do not want to keep farming, and preserving the land is only a means or way to bargain for more compensation. Those who commit to environmental protection want to preserve arable land/ fisheries/wetlands and therefore the problem of compensation is suspended. The debate concerning “public space” is focused on democracy, not on the question of what kind of space is the public: parks and wetlands, which one is more public? Therefore the problems for art to investigate are whether art itself has become a “fact” or whether it is just using a fact as evidence for a political view. Activism and art are to a certain degree open to the media; this is a crucial path to reach the public. Of course, many singular problems will multiply into a plethora in reality.

Do we need to produce things—models, discourses, trains of thought, if not outright objects—because of this program of visibility?

Do we need it? Let’s recollect past experiences. Our problem may not lie in whether such undertakings are needed, rather the how of transmission and its what. Since the desire of transmission is inevitable, in reality we have not altogether avoided it. Furthermore, this is just our wishful thinking. On the other hand, visibility, publicity themselves have other facets. Visibility—other than its so-called sphere of intimate relations and the self-expression through DIY—if they are to face so-called mass media, what would their production organism be? What would their visibility/publicity production mechanism be? (note: If they are to face so-called mass media, be it official or commercial, China does not have “public media” in a true sense, so we can’t comment much about that.) Out of what motive would mass media report and transmit “this program”? How can a certain art extend its sphere of influence through this, how can its significance exceed its boundaries? Of course, there is a process one could choose, yet the result is the outcome of specific channeling (manipulation). Does it possess a goal of enlightenment or satisfy a demand of fulfillment and pleasure, or maybe it is a roundabout strategy that incorporates both. Perhaps this demands a meticulous and conscious investigation of how media produces discourse. How does this visibility come about, is it because of distinguishability? For example, the food we are concerned with here, in terms of its production, has it produced an alternative for the prevalent mode of production and its consequent safety crisis? Or is it just a reliable alternative, or a form of recreation for the bourgeoisie—then its significance at bottom is not so different from “farmers’ restaurants,” and even golf courses, and other tourist sites. It is  the new fashion (which has little to do with politics).

How is it seen by others, including the media, if you refuse to open up your garden, is a different issue, but if you do, your life or experiment will be interpreted/defined by others. The result of the experiment will often be imported into another mode of discourse, no? How do you solve this state of misrepresentation let alone ignorance? Of course, we must backtrack a little, to the the point of departure, which is the question: do you want your lifestyle to be an open work of art? Thus relinquishing your authority over its meaning, or do you want to do just as you think (because you are already doing what you want to do). Absolute openness can be dangerous, danger lies in being subsumed/coopted. For example, when media who features lifestyle puts you side-by-side with coffee shops, shopping malls, cuisine and nail salons, and other cases of entrepreneurial undertakings, how does that make you feel?

According to structuralist logic, if you do not speak, then the social structure will speak for you.