Venturing out into the beginnings of an untimely snow-fall last night in Beijing, I made my way over to XP to catch VAVABOND and Li Jianhong play together under the moniker of Mind Fibre.
VAVABOND specialises in very subtle, fizzing staccato stabs of computer-generated electronic sounds, while Li plucks at a guitar and combines its tones with noises from various DIY electro-mechanical objects sitting near him, their combined sounds being variously modulated and distorted. The style of sound produced by these two is a little bit cosmic, from the warbles of VAVABOND’s programming, and the bends and swoops of Li’s notes and tones, the overall effect harking back to early synthesised tonal music without in itself being at all anachronistic. They produced a wonderfully intense effect, each sound feeling highly articulated and organised, and never over-bearing or violent.
The works in this show have come about through a steady process of placement and refinement by He Yida. The final installations project a feeling of extreme intention in the experience of their arrangements.
The process of the work moves from the selection of material, their arrangements in relation to each other, and their positioning with respect to the spaces. Overall there is an emphasis on the works’ relationship with the floor (rather than a hanging relationship with the wall or ceiling), as they spread out along that plane, or rise up from it. The effect is of a sense of flatness in the planes and tenuousness in the upright structures. The elements of the structures are ready-made for other purposes, variously adjusted with painted additions. Each material adjusts the effect of the other materials they are placed in a relationship with: the hardness of the metal bar stands in contrast to the softness of the elastic strip that is wrapped around it; this wrapping conceals and reveals various parts, playing the materials off each other, changing the perception of the materials and their arrangements as they are viewed from different angles.
ZiZhiQu (Autonomous Regions) (curated by Hou Hanru)
Guangdong Times Museum, Guangzhou
19 January – 17 March, 2013
As one of the more visible providers of a critique of the centre/periphery model of cultural development in the early 2000’s, a new exhibition by curator Hou Hanru is highly anticipated. ZiZhiQu: Autonomous Regions at the Times Museum in Guangzhou can perhaps be seen to develop this model as it applies to the cultural self-formation of individuals and groups, placing that development in contrast to a globalised institutionalisation of culture. Autonomy, then, moves across all scales in its realisation. ZiZhiQu presents expressions of autonomy at the level of the personal via the body, as well as the extension of personal autonomy into ideology and geography. In the process this show covers imaginary and real sites of the development and expression of this individual and communal state of being. This show’s tread is necessarily light, as the subject of autonomy quickly enters fraught territory in relation to specific realisations of the autonomous body in society, or its geographical presence.