shu and joe

Posts filed under ‘Beijing’

It’s Not About the Neighbors by Wang Gongxin

March 15, 2009

Artist Wang Gongxinn has taken over an empty storefront next to a pancake shop where he projects an exact replica of the shop at night. From the artist’s website:

During the day, It’s Not About the Neighbors is a sculptural installation, an uncanny imitation of the neighboring pancake shop’s façade—a simple aluminum and glass storefront commonly found in Beijing’s older neighborhoods. At nightfall, a video projection on the façade depicts the neighbors at work making and selling their bread and noodles. The work’s relationship to the adjacent business changes depending hour of the day; at times it is a physical imitation, at times it is a virtual simulation, and sometimes it’s both. The overriding visual connection between these two adjacent spaces is undermined by their different functions: one is an operating business that depends on local residents and neighbors for its income; the other is independent and non-functional, relying instead upon the visual economies of the hutong and patterns of everyday life. The dual meaning of the word “neighbors,” proposed by Wang’s installation refers to both those who occupy the adjacent shop as well as those who frequent the shop for their daily meals. Offering an indexical relationship to its own location It’s Not About the Neighbors also uncovers new questions about presenting contemporary art in public contexts.

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TVCC Fire

February 9, 2009

Sad to read that the TVCC tower was destroyed last night when a blitz of New Year fireworks in downtown Beijing set the building on fire. Luckily the building was not in operation yet and no injuries have been reported only one fatality has been reported. Friends of ours spent years developing this project only to see it ruined.


Photo: David Gray/Reuters

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Ai Wei Wei Back in the Day

December 26, 2008


Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 1983


Flea Market at Union Square. 1987


Chen Kaige. 1985

Before he was a superstar artist and architect, Ai Wei Wei spent ten years in New York City, photographing his friends and capturing everything he saw.

Ai Weiwei on his NYC photos:

These photos were taken between 1983 and 1994 during the decade I spent living in New York before returning to Beijing. At that time, I didn’t really have anything to do. I was just hanging out, whiling away my time everyday by taking pictures of the people I met, places I went, my friends, my neighborhood, the street and the city.

In a flash twenty years have past, and the New York I knew no longer exists. The appearance of the East Village has totally changed, and many of the people in my photographs are no longer in this world. I took these photos casually, and most of my subjects probably don’t even realize that they are in them. Today, looking back on the past, I can see that these photographs are not true anymore. After all, any reality is just a fact of change – an unconfirmed moment in the slow march of time. The present always surpasses the past, and the future will not care about today.

What drives me to organize and publish these photographs is not nostalgia, for I believe that past occurrences do not matter much. We are not destined to meet those whom we’ve met, and humans are by nature lonely. Rather, the photos themselves are concrete objects that form a kind of orderly arrangement despite their free-floating nature as disassociated images on photo paper. The specific people and things involved, including my own past, are not important anymore.

Life in the past fifty years has been much like a falling leaf with no goal or direction. In the end, however, the leaf will land in some corner. The images’ appearance and order are much like this. They are disorganized, but paths of thought appear that seem most clear when the photos are all mixed up.

Today, I still always have a camera in my hand, accustomed as I am to the click of the shutter. What I should explain though, is that I am not interested in photography, and don’t really care about the subjects of my photos. In the end, they are part of a different reality than that of my own existence. Every time I look at these photographs, I always discover that there is more strangeness in them than familiarity.

A selection of Ai Wei Wei’s photos are being exhibited at Three Shadows in Beijing through April 2009.

All images courtesy of Three Shadow Photography, Beijing

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Ginckels & Vogel

December 8, 2008

Quite an elegant project: Pieterjan Ginckels and Cristian Vogel collaborated to produce this edition of 500 7-inch records. Each record is embedded with a single infinitely looping beat, yet when played on different turntables with different amplifiers, the tone of the beat varies. Ginckels describes it like this:

The record can be played on a normal turntable. They are used in the installation “1000 Beats” on various players, through several mixers, amplifiers and loudspeakers, all borrowed from friends and people connected to the art institute. All gear has its own characteristics (speed differences, equalisation, volume) making the whole installation sound unique anytime, and anywhere in the space, with the tiny loop as its basic material.

The album and sleeve were designed by Grandpeople. Ginckels is currently in Beijing developing a project with Theatre in Motion.

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Beijing Taxi

September 10, 2008

A new documentary about the lives of Beijing taxi drivers from Three Waters Productions.

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Invisible Man

September 5, 2008

The Chinese artist Liu Bolin continues his ongoing photo project of “blending into” the background. This time, he embeds himself in slightly more politically loaded situations, including a poster for the Olympic mascots and a scene where he’s being grabbed by a policeman.

via ifgogo

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Theme: the Beijing Issue

August 6, 2008

Theme magazine’s Beijing/Olympics issue is out. It features a condensed city guide that Shu and I helped develop for those checking out the Olympics first hand.


Timezone 8 book shop in Dashanzi, Beijing

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Boomtown Beijing

July 3, 2008

A new documentary about the hopes and fears of Beijingers just before the Olympics. Looks like some great insight into how the average Chinese citizen feels about the upcoming festivities.

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Talking and Smoking

June 25, 2008

The whole “smoking is bad for you” thing hasn’t really hit China, so there’s an almost whimsical, celebratory attitude towards nicotine. Cigarettes are given as gifts, purchased by the boxload at duty free shops and are generally considered an inexpensive luxury. Lyn Jeffery over at Virtual China posts about the beauty of Chinese cigarette packaging and the latest “cigarette phone.”

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Xiong Wenyun – Ten Years of Moving Rainbow

June 19, 2008

To celebrate its year anniversary, the Three Shadows Photography Center will present an exhibition of Xiong Wenyun’s much lauded Moving Rainbows series. From the press release:

A prolific female artist, Xiong Wenyun’s multidisciplinary works link individual emotion with the social environment through a unique, subtle language. Her works are not confined to the exhibition hall, but attract a wider audience through their simple, direct force.
Xiong Wenyun graduated from the ink-painting department of the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts. In the nineties, she studied and taught in Japan, during which time she did in-depth research on the composition of color and created abstract paintings that embodied the energy of color sequences. After returning to China, she brought these experiments outside. Beginning in 1998, she spent three years working on the multimedia project “Moving Rainbow” on the Sichuan-Tibetan highway. The project incorporates installations along the highways with local architecture and motorcades of trucks. Captured through photography and video, this multidisciplinary, experimental project combines contemporary art, society, history, culture, local ecology, environmentalism, and activism by both artist and audience.


Xiong Wenyun, On Mount Erlang #4, 1998

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