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The first Beijing Media Art Biennale (BMAB) is held synchronously at two museums, including the “LAB SPACE” Special Exhibition held in CAFA Art Museum and “Ethics of Technology” Thematic Exhibition held in the China Millennium Monument Art Museum. Beijing Media Art Biennale is hosted by China Central Academy of Fine Arts (abbr. CAFA), in cooperation with Beijing Design Week and B3 Moving Image Biennial.

“LAB SPACE” Special Exhibition: Presentation by the Thematic Theme       

Beijing Media Art Biennale “LAB SPACE” Special Exhibition opened at CAFA Art Museum on September 24, 2016, and was presented in a thematic way, covering Gary Hill as a special subject, VR special subject, immersive special subject, film special subject, experimental special subject, B3 award-winning artist special subject, as well as performing special subject, respectively unfolding the topic of the “Ethics of Technology” in different art forms.

In the Gary Hill special subject, the artist brings 7 works, involving images, interactive installation, etc. In the Wall Piece, the image of a man repeatedly flinging himself at a wall in a completely darkened space, while a single flash of extreme high intensity strobe light captures the body at the moment of contact; “Big Legs Don’t Cry” explores the states of different objects intervening with each other’s borders. In the interactive installation, when you are attracted to seeing the inside of peepholes of different shapes, you will see the picture that you are peeping at…

It is worth mentioning that the VR special subject is by far the largest presentation of VR works in China, in this subject, it does not only feature the VR works by domestic artists Tian Xiaolei, Lang Xuebo and Wang Zhi, Liu Yantao, Zhou Yan, moreover, the VR movies and short films recommended by the B3 Moving Image, Germany, as well as 14 dome VR works constitute the “immersive special subject”, restarting “storytelling” with a new logic in the narrative.

“Ethics of Technology” Thematic Exhibition: Consisting of Five Parts       

“Ethics of Technology” Thematic Exhibition was held in the China Millennium Monument Art Museum on the night of September 25. It is divided into 5 parts including science, big data, mixed reality, artificial intelligence and bio-genetics, covering the most popular technological topics at present.

In the part of science, Berlin based artist Yunchul Kim brings the work “’Effulge”, photonic crystals to ascend and descend by the force of air pumped from the bottom, thereby constantly creating new gures and patterns inside the acrylic box. Brendan Warford’s “Mouthpiece” is a device that allows people to wear over their mouth with a phone displaying video footage of mouths crowd-sourced from the street. It gives voice to anyone to ask (voice out) fundamental questions, which are all too big and hard to answer. These questions are existential, ethical, and with value. “All the questions which are beyond everyday emergency matters need to be asked, even if we don’t know how to ask, what to ask, or are too scared to ask.”

One of the curators of the exhibition Jin Jun from the School of Design at CAFA said that, “Science and art are different roads leading to the same goal, and also the direction for us to pursue and survive. When we try to use technology to present art, we also try to express technical problems.”

Big data. We are living in the era of big data that any social individual can’t be separated from.

Jonathan Harris is a visual artist, known for his work with data and storytelling. Combining elements of computer science, cartography, anthropology, photography, his artworks explore the mysteries of life — especially the ways humans are transforming reality through different kinds of technology; Chinese artist Miao Ying’s work was inspired by the hot Chinese music video from Bilibili.com; Joe Hamilton’s “Stream” is a work that explores the analogy of water and the internet. The structure and movement in the browser window becomes a rigid framework that contains and shifts an array of found images and a video of water. Waterfalls, torrents, rivers, creeks and streams of data flow down the screen.

Mixed reality. MR can be considered as a fusion of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). It is a new visual environment that combines physical and virtual worlds. Physical substances coexist with digital objects, and interact with each other in real time.

We can clearly see it in the Keiichi Matsuda’s conceptual film “Hyper-Reality”, where physical and virtual realities have merged, and the city is saturated in media. It will be the glue between every interaction and experience, offering amazing possibilities, while also controlling the way we understand the world.

Lang Xuebo brings his new work “Volume” created in 2016. In the scene there is an enclosed space, the viewer immerses in an abstract space that is painted with diagonal black and yellow stripes. Convex parts emerge from wall, floor and ceiling successively to hit the viewer when he/she looks around and senses the environment. With an anxious sound, the strips on the walls distort, disappear and then are restored to ncalm.

Artificial intelligence. Sound artist Yuri Suzuki brings “OTOTO” which is a musical invention kit which allows anyone to create their own electronic musical instrument. With OTOTO you can unpack the kit and make anything from a drum kit of saucepans to origami that sings when touched. The core of the kit is the PCB synthesizer, slightly larger than a cassette tape, which works as a musical keyboard straight out the box. By using crocodile clips you can connect board to conductive materials which will then trigger sounds. The sound can also be changed by connecting electronic modules to four outboard sensor inputs.

As the latest of the “Mistake Creature” series by Wu Juehui, Rattlesnake is a dynamic metal installation (a kinetic sculpture). It originates from the mathematical concept “π”, that multiplies orbit and rotation, and creates an infinite number of forms that never repeats, just like the Pi. The transient movements are like planetary rotations, also resembling the oscillation of mechanical life.

Bio-Genetics. The bio-genetic transformation are directly involved in the discussion of “ethical” issues, in this part we can see a series of works related to genetic transformation.

Eduardo Kac’s work “GFP Bunny” is a transgenic artwork that comprises of the creation of a green fluorescent rabbit (“Alba”), Kac combined green fluorescent proteins of jellyfish and rabbit DNA to produce a bunny that glows green under blue light.

Sputniko through the film “Red String of Fate” discusses the relationship between science and myth, Sputniko has collaborated with scientists from NIAS in engineering silkworms genetically to spin this mythical ‘Red String of Fate’ by inserting genes that produce oxytocin, a social-bonding ‘love’ hormone and the genes of a red-glowing coral into silkworm eggs.

In order to help the public understand the theme of the exhibition, the exhibition hall also offers a number of corresponding documents in line with different parts of the exhibition so the sophisticated professional knowledge is changed to the content which is easy to be understood and through “data visualization” there is an interactive presentation.

In addition, it will display the “Urban Screen Exhibition” in the Beijing Metro Line 4 and Line 14, as well as Hyperlinks Exhibition which is eternally displayed on the website of the Beijing Media Art Biennial (www.bmab.co). During the exhibition, a series of public events, such as thematic forums, special salons, master classes and workshops will be launched. The “Inferno: Man-Machine Dance”, jointly created by the artists Bill Vaughan and Luis Phillip Demos will be on show at CAFA on September 28, pushing the show to a climax.

Text by Lin Jiabin/CAFA ART INFO, Photo by the organizer

Translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO

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