Illustration by Vanilla.Specially made for the latest issue's feature article "Accent Trilogy: Like Dew, or a Lightning".
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The idealized living world that New Villages once represented dissipated accordingly…Only when introducing the origin of New Villages to new urban residents do people recall that seed of utopia from a distant time and space.

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What we see in slime is its abjection and monstrousness that may flow out of our control. Like the encounter between the terrestrial beings and Solaris’ ocean, in the countless attempts to access the unknown reality, humans helplessly project themselves onto the slime surfacing from the unknown reality.

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Perhaps now is the moment when Lu Pingyuan is breaking down the boundaries between tangible forms and intangible messages—people, objects, stories, dreams, and memories, are all containers in constant transformation, capable of rescuing and sheltering one another, temporarily detaches Lu from the art ecosystem and societal reality, momentarily stepping away from the heated and intricate political landscape.

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In a world where friction is recognized and allowed, we can move forward in a more thoughtful way – not just swiftly and unthinkingly, like a cursor flicked across a screen, but with the deliberate and purposeful pace of a mindful traveler. And it is in this richer, more engaged interaction with the digital, that the promise of true progress lies.

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As an “adventurer” of contemporary art in the Middle East for 30 years, the Sharjah Biennial has come to a turning point this year. Themed “Thinking Historically in the Present”, the 15th Sharjah Biennial brings together the work of more than 150 artists from different cultural contexts around the world, attempting to mark the turning point as also a starting point for reviewing, calibrating and repositioning the Biennial’s own connection with the cultural context of the Gulf region, the Global South and the postcolonial constellation.

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What will become of “smooth aesthetics” as politics and place reassert themselves over the operations of global systems? China’s internet and technology ecosystem, long separated from the rest of the world, already serves as a guide for digital cultures to come.

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“The epistemological void quickly turned to an existential one,” the projected head continues. “In the past month, I couldn’t shake the suspicion that we’re not real. Maybe we are simulated by higher beings, or maybe we’re just someone’s abandoned hallucination, an orphaned dream, or maybe we are inhabiting a fiction about the future….”

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The preciousness of Guo Yingguang’s practice lies in its continuous self-reflexivity. In retrospect of her professional career, the artist reveals that there is still a rupture within her between the “habits” from working in the press and her experiences of being an artist; it remains an ongoing project for her to make these experiences “completely becoming ‘me.’” Meanwhile, in her practice with a public nature, in the attempt to approach the relationship with other people that is either actively dominant or temporarily discursive and distant, Guo realizes, “I have always absorbed the energy of others—regardless if it comes in the form of help or criticism.”

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Much like in the UK and the US, the discussions of “community” revolved around local governance and social welfare, but these debates emerged largely in response to the decline of the planned economy system; and the definition of community is still based on location, rather than culture or identity. Although there was a range of relevant policies, community never actually play a significant role in state governance. Until the last five years especially after the pandemic, all the citizen now aware of which community they are located at. But to this day, what is “community” in China? 

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When decolonization refers to the privilege of exceptionalism within each individual, the post-WWII order, which once delivered stability, prosperity, and pluralism, faces a fundamental disintegration on all levels: political, economic, cultural, artistic, and religious, progressing to the “pre-World War III art” that is both highly destructive and constructive.

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In the days shrouded in opaque uncertainty, many of us were placed face-to-face with special measures, and had to deal with inutile efforts and unexplained loss. In the art industry, most people are put through the Sisyphean cycle that events and plans are postponed, rescheduled, or started all over again. It is nonetheless no news to us that women often obtain such gain as to be disproportionate to the effort they make, thinking of all the domestic errands and care services they are asked to take care of. From the menstrual cycle to childbirth, women live with “uncontrollable bodies” for a long time, with their life always “disrupted and started all over again.”

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The sceneries and characters that become figural by chance are self-revealed hints of the artist’s lodging in the void; they are conduits of joys and sorrows once real, places for Owen Fu’s geisttiere to dwell and play.

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“When the conversation goes astray, and the language stops functioning, you and I still share the same moment. In the final dialogue, people stopped using grand words and started sharing each other’s food. As exotic fruits and spices entered the gut, the bellies rounded, and the terrain of the body was quietly changing. “

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Recent art exhibitions in Shanghai––Wang Jianwei’s solo “Treading in Sludge” at MadeIn Gallery and Michael Wang’s “Lake Tai” at Prada Rong Zhai––both consider humanity’s bond with the Earth. The artists’ senses of place and planet are not mere chance encounters; although they differ in research methodologies and their rationales are manifested in different artistic practices and media, they both invite the audience to contemplate the ecological issues conveyed by these paintings, sculptures, and site-specific installations, and to destabilize the anthropocentric obsession with determining Earth’s fate.

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In their respective long-term practices, the artists Wang Tuo and Vajiko Chachkhiani both focus on the microscopic traumatic experiences of a specific subject that speaks cryptically for a particular history. In their artistic expression, reconstructed life experiences synergize with concern for the structural issues and the suspended matters of history that lie behind the rhetorical curtain, and which are intertwined with scenes of violence, mourning, and surreally tinted day-to-day life.

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Perhaps Trinh T. Minh-ha’s world of art is just like how the exhibition space is designed on the fifth floor of RAM, filled with poetic and theoretical phrases. The words printed on transparent plastics seemingly form a solid invisible wall that separates her art from life and physical experience, while the poeticism she instills in these words conjures an illusion of life.

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The loose, fluid “sand” and the meandering, shifting “paths” seem to conjure two divergent images that eventually converge. As the special formatting of the Chinese title suggests, this parallel relationship between “sand” and “paths” is made evident in Hu Xiaoyuan’s subtly distanced juxtaposition of the two elements. Through their latent tension, she searches for the traces of individual existence.

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In the article “Oral History: Geng Jianyi of the ‘85 New Wave of Art’: Seeing the World Differently Through Art,” published in Art World in 2006, the artist claimed that “incomplete materials combined with personal imagination equal history,” and the presentation of this exhibition reflects on this statement.

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