2007 Shenzhen and Hongkong Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism And Architecture
Date : Dec 8th,2007- Mar 9th,2008
Curator: Biljana Ciric
Miljohn Ruperto, (Philippines/USA), Mogas Station, (Vietnam),Yap Sau Bin,(Malaysia),Jin Feng (China),Xiang Liqing(China),Susanne Winterling (Germany), Tang Maohong(China)
Migration Addicts, curated by Biljana Ciric and Karin Gavassa, investigates how migration re-determines issues related to human identity, gender and spiritual needs. The structure of the exhibition is based on a series of interventions that will take place in public space throughout the city, articulating new perspectives entrenched directly in the urban environment, and methodologically operating in time and in space.
Organization: ddm warehouse
In the last few years, since the Deng Xiaoping’s visit to South China, Shanghai has been turned into an experiment of Chinese modernization, becoming an outstanding site in the Asia Pacific region, with the highest attention of foreign curiosity and investment of capital which have rapidly brought social, material and environmental transformations. At present, Shanghai is definitely one of the most exciting cities on the planet.
Migration Addicts began as an ongoing project, investigating how migration re-determines issues related to human identity, gender and spiritual needs, touching upon topics which concern not only Shanghai but many other expanding Asian and western cities.
At the beginning Migration Addicts took place at the ddmwarehouse, the gallery space, proposing to local and foreign artists to react to the issue that the exhibition tempted to raise. The location of ddmwarehouse, which is situated in Hong Kou district, reminds of the island preserved while most of the buildings are torn down, waiting for the raise of skyscrapers. Gradually, Migration Addicts actually became form of the exhibition, not only the question raised by exhibition.
The exhibition structure meant to be flexible, elastic, ever changing one, inviting each time new artists to enrich the dialogues and to show strategies of their own interventions related to the topics of migration.
This kind of exhibition form brings unstable relationships which articulate new possibilities, as well as open new ways of artists independent expressions to reply on each locality where the exhibition is hosted. Last year Migration Addicts tried to respond on Singapore specific city-country locality with its unique position in Asia region through the dialogues with local artists.
Recently the tension between western and Chinese traditional values and lifestyles, as well as the late arriving of capitalism and the persisting communism, has not hindered the Chinese impulse towards assimilating the “international standards”, instead, it has been fostering Chinas economic development.
The fast expansion of urban spaces, following the model of Shanghai, has led to new social conflicts within the Chinese social structure. The urban environment and consumer’s desires draw the population from the countryside and small towns and push them into the big cities. This flow challenges the existing social structure and at the same time brings its own vitality into the life of cities. Migration is a phenomenon that all big cities around the world are dealing with. The communities and the people that migrate are those who actually take part in the process of re-construction and transformation of the places. The migration of certain cultural groups in the metropolis brings a new atmosphere towards the uniformity of life and cultural codes. This climate requests the re-definition of individuality and the critical concept that cultural circles ought to bring.
Migration Addicts investigates the questions of temporal and spatial strategies which deal with this situation. On political and aesthetic levels, these projects interact with people from outside artistic circles opens to the encounter with the unknown viewer, and expands the idea of art and its experience, to continue an engagement with public sphere.
The structure of the exhibition is based on a series of interventions that will take place throughout the public spaces in Venice, articulating new perspectives entrenched directly in the urban environment, and methodologically operating in time and in space.
Venice is currently undergoing profound changes with respect to the urban landscape and its own future depends on the new structure it undertakes. More and more Venetians are leaving the lagoon to settle in other towns. In the next 30-40 years, it is certain that Venice’s population will be dramatically reduced.
The artists participating the Migration Addicts confront in their own culture and artistic practices the topic of migration, providing a direct relationship with the public space where the exhibitions is hosted, reflecting on the peculiarity of the territory, investigating differences and possible points in common.
For the Italian step of the exhibition in Venice, Josefina Posch (Sweden, 1971) creates a large scale inflated rubber iceberg that expands and contracts as if "breathing". Changes and migrations, the effects of global warming, will trigger in the future and Posch finds it especially appropriate to address the issue in the city of Venice that is threatened by the raising sea levels.
The collective Mogas Station (Vietnam, 2005) presents a video work in which they are filmed drifting at sea, each upon a floating white surface, the ruins of a deconstructed of "white cube", arriving in a tropical climate off the Vietnamese coast.
The project by Miljohn Ruperto (Philippines, 1971) centers on the text I Gave the Names written by Adrian Leftwich, a South African militant anti-apartheid activist in the 1960s. When arrested, Leftwich provided information for the prosecution of his friends and fellow activists in exchange for exile.
Huang Kui (China, 1977) in his latest works stretches the limits of the viewers perception and uses his work as a mirror of the daily routine. The body of the work becomes the reality itself directed by artists. I Believe performance piece strives to bring Belief issue to audience through the game with dice tempting to prove the existence of God asking question Does God Exist?
Shanghai based artist Li Pinghu (China, 1976) raises the issues of temporary ascription and religion in peoples lives in big cities. He questions the notion of the holy and desire, setting game of faith in an unfamiliar environment in order to communicate with others.
TODO’s (Italy, 2005) urban mobile game Are You Here? aims to explore Venice through its inhabitants/migrants, through the faces of people one may encounter during his/her stay. Faces of immigrants that have become actual inhabitants, position the spectator as the stranger.
Recent works by Jin Shan (China, 1977) deal with public spaces and random people, exploring ordinary consciousness on certain issues. Constructed as children’s games where people get involved in unusual actions in city, the artist’s work examines the lives of average passer-by.
Htein Lin (Myanmar, 1966) pioneered performance art in Burma, starting in 1996. He has been influenced by, and has formed an integral part of, his unique and challenging experiences as an activist, refugee, political prisoner and artist in Burma. In Venice he will present new performance piece How Do You Find Venice? directly dealing with his personal experience moving to England.
Yap Sau Bin’s MappingKLArtSpace art project uses the beta version of Google Earth, a virtual globe software to map the art related spaces in Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya where his work has been shown.
Information technology also characterizes the locative performance by Hasan Elahi (Bangladesh, 1972). Tracking Transience investigates issues of surveillance, simulated time, transport systems, borders and frontiers.
Belén Cerezo’s (Spain, 1977) intervention is exploring relations between public space, the city, and our private space, our feelings and desires in new piece Far and Close.
Since 1997, Rizman Putra (Singapore, 1978) has been actively working in performative experimentation, crossing between different genres including poetry, photography, video, music, burlesque and dance. Elegy of A Man and His Weapon of Choice: The Hyperbolic Alpha Male addresses how one observes the self and the external factors that evolve around him or her. Based on his or her perception, the weapon of choice is the execution of ideas into various forms, and the medium is the performance.
Pieces that you have chance to see in this publication are artists' flat presentations of Migration idea specially produced for this catalog. Actually each artists piece in a two pages of this publication is continuation their work that will be in june presented in various public spaces in June.