Guan Xiao | “X Museum Triennial 1st Edition: How Do We Begin?” @ X Museum


    Antenna Space is pleased to announce that the artist Guan Xiao will participate in the first X Museum Triennial: How Do We Begin? at X Museum, Beijing. The exhibition will open on May 30, 2020, and last until November 22, 2020.

    X Museum Triennial is an ongoing investigation into the millennial zeitgeist through visual arts and many other disciplines that take part in sociocultural evolutions. It is a three-year rhythmic review of Chinese contemporary art and its development with a focus on emerging artists.

    Precisely 100 years ago, the world’s first commercial radio station KDKA launched its inaugural broadcasting of the American presidential election in the early winter of 1920. The huge hit of live media combined with the political event marked the beginning of a new era of mass media.

    Live media and live-ness have thereafter dramatically improved the efficiency of information sharing and further accelerated the process of globalization. Such qualities of live-ness echoed Aristotle’s elaboration on friendship and ‘consenting’ [synaisthanomenoi, sensing together], in which he said, “One must therefore also ‘con-sent’ that his friend exists, and this happens by living together and by sharing acts and thoughts in common [koinōnein ].” We might take Aristotle’s essence of sensing together into today’s spectrum of information sharing: unlike pre-digital age, current platforms of social media provide real-time communication and immersive experience for interactivity than merely producing content, our concurrent perceptions have therefore been increased than ever before. The expanded field that we inhabit, from XR (extended reality), AI (artificial intelligence) to recent implemented 5G data networks technology, consistently challenge the way we perceive things, sensing and living together.

    The information age unfolds the world in front of us through screens and VR headset, audio-visual goes DRM-free, library is in the pocket, you can easily immerse yourself amongst master paintings and ancient artifacts through online exhibitions, gadgets as social enabler navigate us… Nevertheless, immaterial abundance and information excess, on the contrary, contributed to material insufficiency, it is rather a quest now for a perfect line to draw, and an ideal distance to create between ourselves and redundancy of information.

    Contemporary art distance itself away from the confinements of time, genres, disciplinary boundaries, and representations; which is essentially an attempt to receive a precise reading of our time through this distance. Giorgio Agamben understands this distance as being able to perceive the “darkness” and see its “obscurity”. The darkness, in neurophysiology, is a particular vision produced by the activation of “off-cells”, therefore it is not emptiness or non-vision, but the vision that is caused by the activation of our own retinas. Contemporary artists are the ones who see and sense the world with one eye closed, perceive both the light and the darkness in a distance, as well as transferring knowledge and experience into material or intangible statements.

    The millennial artists are surrounded by live media ever since they started to develop the curiosity of the world, witnessing the evolution of the internet. It is rather a second nature for them to work and examine through the lens of technology. Convergence in the modern age of humans and technology has created moments of amusement and convenience, along with fears and concerns at the same time. Artists place both outcomes on two poles of a scale; their works are reflections of the status of swinging left and right, without reaching a result.

    “How Do We Begin?” embraces the age that we inhabit, celebrates the accessibility of knowledge and information embodied by the digital age, experiences, and excitements brought by new media and edge-cutting technology. At the same time, it acknowledges the invasion of toxic information that shaping physical relationships and interrupting social structures. For individuals, the way we build connections with families, groups and ourselves have always been what Aristotle called “con-senting [synaisthanomenoi, sensing together]”. “Con-senting” recognizes the significance of being in the same flux, construction of collective memories and divergent states of mind.

    Characterized by sharing and mutuality, contemporary art went beyond the confinement of disciplinary boundaries and knowledge. “How Do We Begin?” sees its exhibition spaces as sites of collaboration and production, is aiming to stimulate information and knowledge exchange between intellectual individuals.

    Coincides with the century anniversary of the born of the first real-time mass media (KDKA), “How Do We Begin?” invites contemporary artists as well as practitioners from other disciplines that take part in the progression of arts and humanity to reflect on the multifaceted phenomena of the Information Age, and imagines the significance by sensing, sharing and living together. Newest technologies and gadgets are extensions of human sensory organs, they enlarge our perceptions and emotions, at the same time synchronize us in the global world of immateriality, geographic boundaries are eliminated. Artists take phenomenological events from contemporary society as the starting point, to further contemplate now and speculate hereafter through multiple forms of visual arts and design.

    Attempting to refine the evolving zeitgeist of the millennial, “How Do We Begin?” actively invites and encourages audience and art practitioners to participate in and contribute to the discussion of millennial zeitgeist.

    Installation Views


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