Shuang Li, Glacier 3000, commissioned by LEAP F/W 2020

A series of utterly ordinary things – a bulge on the trunk of a wutong tree, rubber gloves hanging from the handlebar of an electric scooter, a waterproof jacket on a washing line, some ethereal glimmers on the fencing around a construction site—that nonetheless inspire a certain uncanny feeling inside us.

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Although deliberate confusion of time implies something too nostalgic for digestion, it calls out a suppressed desire for the ghostly echo of the “past” ringing in “now” and “future.” It also renders various derivative points about being sarcastic with the objects to prefer nature to culture, ornament to function, instinct for death to drive for life, and sex drive to intellectual drive—being pared down to a new cycle of extraction, fermentation, condensation, and transpiration.

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By imagining a “nether world” that is also euipped with economic, political and cultural aesthetic systems, the plea of the artist that “the netherworld should break away from all the domination from the world of the livings” has its relevance winding in our realities.

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A bit hard to imagine, but also oddly convincing—thinking through the state of quarantine and isolation ultimately brings us to fewer “selves” and more “others.” In a present moment where each of us is increasingly tired of the myriad disruptions to our ways of life, perhaps it is these relative distances, inexorable and inexplicable, that reveal the state of a world continuously splitting apart, and reforming itself.

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Geocinema’s research reflects both the architecture and infrastructure behind this network, which to it constitutes a decentralized moving-image apparatus. It also engages with the intersection between corporations and governments that feed into and extract from this widely dispersed network of footage. In addition to the political implications of surveillance—from an individual, global, and astronomical perspective—it is also interested in how this vast constellation of visual, auditory, and geographic data is increasingly utilized to predict the future.

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Cui Jie, an artist who came of age in the 1980s and 90s, shows a keen grasp on the various architectural patterns that have had a profound effect on the rapid renewal and expansion process of Chinese cities, and is adept at selectively harking back to these precedents of modernization in her painting and sculptural practice, thus triggering a momentary sense of the immediate future.

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Human (un)limited_Beijing exhibition, jointly curated by Ars Electronica and the Central Academy of Fine Arts, will open to the public on November 19th at the Hyundai Motorstudio in 798. This year’s theme, Human (un)limited, follows the practice from last year in China, South Korea, and Russia, to show that the artists around the word are not only helping build a better life today, but also improving living conditions for tomorrow.

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Founded in 2012 when its three members reunited in Saigon, Art Labor was borne of a shared interest in interdisciplinary collaborations that experimentally and exigently test the social parameters of art. As Art Labor works with and through communities, their artistic practice is not characterized by creative ownership over self-made art objects, but rather by long-term social engagement and intangible, interpersonal bonds.

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