Li Ming, Rendering the Mind, 2017, video still
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LEAP 33

If Shanghai is a Vespa circling the former French Concession, Beijing is a tough-looking motorcycle built by an artist. Anticipating this need, Blackbridge, a studio in the artist village of Heiqiao, builds customized motorcycles for those feeling that particular need to roam. They recently held a moto-rally in Ordos; finally, the abandoned city has found…

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What is there to be observed on the road? The concept of “roadway observation,” a localized set of the techniques of the f lâneur, can be traced to the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. Tokyo was dilapi…

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Gauzy and alluring maidens sparkle across the screen in Yang Fudong’s new film; The Colored Sky: New Women II begs the question of what happened to the old women. It’s already part of a series, like Lacan’s understanding of male sexuality structured as an infinite series of individual encounters that never feels repetitive but appears…

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In Japanese developer Konami ’s video game Contra, the player and his or her character, a special forces commando, are omnisciently aware of their surroundings, synchronized by motion and sense. Although settings are many, spanning thick forests, snow-covered mountains, military bases, and alien home bases, the game is no different from a side-scrolling shooter in…

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adj. [word] foggy, with a sense of fear, isolated-Robin Burnett, formerly of INTERNET CLUB explains, “This music genre reminds me of a foggy ambience where everything is unclear and uncertain.” He add…

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Streetwear marketing campaigns, speaking to the desire to glamorize everyday urban realities, can index subterranean social preoccupations in a way parallel to yet often more eloquent than contemporary art. See the role of Adidas sportswear in the iconography of the post-Soviet Russian mafia, for example, or Nike’s Air Jordan line, present in so much of…

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More than ever, our bodily senses are affected by technology around us. As technology gets better and better at stimulating and simulating sensory experiences, our perceptions of the external world are increasingly mediated by and dependent on digital and mechanical devices. The two seemingly contrasting concepts of “techno” and “sensual” become one and the same…

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More than once I have asked Xie Nanxing to explain the secret magic behind his painting. When we struggle to find some guiding principle behind the variations of his imagery in his work, are the materials he uses important? By way of response, Xie points out that my curiosity points to a false proposition. This…

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In the ubiquitous three-dimensional modeling and rendering software 3ds Max, the humble teapot is among about a dozen built-in objects, standing out rather awkwardly among other geometrical shapes due…

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Taobao is China’s largest online shopping site. Similar to eBay, Taobao facilitates consumer-to-consumer retail, and is known for listing practically everything there is to buy. Launched just 12 years…

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In 1915, the American Modernist magazine 291 published a collection of Francis Picabia’s portraits mécaniques, tongue-in-cheek drawings imagining the proto-Dadaist’s fellow artists as machinery. At the center of the spread was Portrait d’une Jeune Fille Américaine dans l’État de Nudité (“Portrait of a Young American Girl in a State of Nudity”), an exactingly rendered image…

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Shanzhai is neither an Instagram geotag nor a city in China hosting a biennial— despite our multiple efforts to make this the case. As co-president of the Shanzhai Biennial (with Avena Gallagher and B…

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Against all odds, life-size dolls have become a repeating theme in popular culture. In a globalized market for capital permeated by neoliberalism, beautiful (and quiet) dolls could easily triumph over annoying women in the f lesh—as we have seen in the American film Lars and the Real Girl and the Korean Air Doll. Hundreds of…

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Koki Tanaka is Deutsche Bank’s Artist of the Year, an award that favors artists “who connect their aesthetic concerns to social issues,” a fitting description of Tanaka’s work. “A Vulnerable Narrator” includes numerous realized, failed, and unrealized projects from the past decade. Each project starts with writing, and the texts on craft paper pasted on…

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The selfie is more than just a photograph of the face or body—it is a body of information, and of idealized self-realization. The selfie allows for the quick and easy actualization of the self in the world, which, when disseminated on WeChat or Weibo, forms part of a social self-portrait— a window into issues of…

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Considering social media her sketchbook and GIFs a material, Jeanette Hayes has a particular penchant for Sailor Moon, whose image she superimposes onto her own recreations of high Modernist works, as in her “DeMooning” series and the stand-alone painting Les Demoiselles de’Animeme. Stating that “all portraiture is fan art,” Hayes also sends her work to…

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LEAP 47 | Spring/Summer 2018

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