00 featured image of exhibition view - The Second Beijing Media Art Biennale initiated thematic discussions on “Post Life”

On September 5, 2018, the Second Beijing Media Art Biennale (BMAB) returned as scheduled. The previous theme “Ethics of Technology” showcased meditation and reflections on the epistemology of individuals under the “New Science Theology.” Discussions on the theme of “Post Life” at this Biennial will surely make us realize that not only is there a level of “epistemology”, “new technology” will prompt us to rethink our relationship with other species, whether we have the courage to decentralize “human beings” as the measure of everything?

At 3:00 pm, “Post Life” The Second Beijing Media Art Biennale was grandly unveiled at the Art Museum of Central Academy of Fine Arts. Fan Di’an, President of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Su Xinping, Deputy President of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Zhang Zikang, Director of CAFA Art Museum, Maree Ringland, Cultural Counselor of the Australian Embassy in China, and representatives of many artists attended the opening ceremony. Song Xiewei, Dean of the School of Design at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, served as the moderator.

Fan Di’an, President of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, said that the development of visual art has always been accompanied by the invention of science and technology to form new characteristics for the times. It can even be said that in the subject and expressive language of visual art expression, it always infiltrates or relates to the latest advances in science and technology during a specific era, which have cultivated cultural students who combine science and art. Today, various new materials, new media, and new art provide broad experimental conditions for the exploration and creative imagination of artists’ ideas. While artists use new materials, new media, and new art, they prefer to treat them as a kind of language to express their cultural concerns. Thus, “media art” as a form of art that is happening reflects a new trend in the development of global art.

The Central Academy of Fine Arts has undergone developments over the century. Now it is standing at the starting point of the new century and devoting itself to inheriting and promoting traditional art, it also actively focuses on the exploration and evolution of new art forms. It either conducts the teaching content to cultivate new talent who are capable of integrating technology and art, or it focuses on building a broad international exchange platform to showcase the latest achievements in technology and art. The Beijing Media Art Biennale is such a platform.

Fan Di’an believes that in all kinds of new forms of art, media art is a form with a strong absorption and compatibility as it can use various materials, media and means to create art. The theme of this exhibition, is “Post Life”, which is quite novel and has a profound cultural connotation. “Post” indicates the reconsideration and transcendence of the existing nature of a thing. For the artist, the word “life” is the eternal theme of the artistic creation. Observing “life” with today’s vision and “life” as a cultural phenomenon, we can extend the different meanings of “life” from it. This exhibition explores the essence and form of “life” from different dimensions, and it showcases the model of a new birth and the existence states of “life.”

Song Xiewei introduced the exhibition. He expressed that this year is the second session of the Beijing Media Art Biennale and the proposition of the exhibition is: “Post Life,” focusing on the influences of the rapid development in bio-genes, artificial intelligence and robotics. In the theoretical context of post-human theory which increasingly attracts attention, the expansion and extension of the ancient concept of “life”, where people coexist with other species on the earth, this has experienced subtle changes in the ideological trend of “non-anthropocentrism.”

Zhang Zikang, Director of CAFA Art Museum, expressed that after the redecoration during the summer vacation, the museum debuted with a new look and presented the “Post Life” Beijing Media Art Biennale. The exhibition is dedicated to providing the artists and scientists of the international media art community with a broad stage of display and exchange, to comprehensively present the artist’s achievements and ideas. It is expected that under the joint efforts of all parts, the exchange of art and technology across boundaries will be promoted, and the “Post Life” Beijing Media Art Biennale will be successfully held.

In addition, the Australian Embassy Cultural Counselor Maree Ringland, artist representative Brad Miller, and student artist representative Su Yongjian respectively delivered speeches, expressing their expectations for the smooth development of the exhibition.

The 2018 Beijing Media Art Biennale (BMAB) runs from September 5 to September 24, 2018 at CAFA Art Museum. BMAB is funded by China National Art Fund, organized by China Academy of Fine Arts and co-sponsored by the CAFA School of Design, the CAFA School of Experimental Art, and CAFA Art Museum. As an international academic platform aimed at promoting the intersection of art and technology, the 2018 BMAB is centered on the theme of “Post Life” and comprises of six parts: the main exhibition, Lab Space, Hyperlinks Exhibition, live performances, thematic forums and workshops. The event also includes interdisciplinary experiments in the fields of art and technology with an aim to facilitate in-depth discussions between artists, designers, scientists, and theorists.

Courtesy of the organizer, translated and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO

Thematic Exhibition:

The theme of the exhibition is “Post Life” and it focuses on how the ancient concept of life itself has been expanded in the context of the rapid development of biological genes, artificial intelligence, robots, and the subsequent increase of attention in anthropological theories. It is further meant to explore the subtle changes that have led to the idea of humans’ coexistence with other species on Earth from the perspective of non-anthropocentrism. The main exhibition comprises three parts: “Data Life”, “Mechanical Life”, and “Synthesized Life”; all focused on trying to determine what life is as seen from the different points of view of: virtual life brought into existence by computer algorithms, bionic life brought into existence by machinery and hard-to-define synthetic life. The exhibits will belong to categories such as videos, interactive installations, immersive art, biological art, mechanical installations, audiovisual art, Internet art, aural art, mixed media, and others.

“Art and Technology” Lab Space:

The cross-disciplinary “Art and Technology” Lab Space is a new model of futuristic innovation; it not only changes the research and development model of the scientific and technological circles, but also provides new possibilities for the studio-centered artist practice. The “Art and Technology” Lab Space invites a number of representative domestic and foreign laboratories, such as MIT Media Lab, to present their ideas, practices, and methods, along with their research findings and artworks related to the theme of “Post Life”. The exhibits will include R&D prototypes, demo videos, technical demos, literature, and publications. The Lab Space will utilize exhibitions, workshops, or panel discussions to exchange practical experience, activate an urban organic symbiosis, and be a catalyst for cross-field art cooperation. It will also showcase Chinese folk traditional artistic and scientific achievements, emphasizing the extended historical background of art and technology.

Hyperlinks Exhibition:

The Hyperlinks Exhibition is an online exhibition of works and projects on Internet platforms such as the official website and WeChat account of the Beijing Media Art Biennale. It provides information regarding the artists’ work and related projects along with reference information that is aimed at helping the audience to understand the main theme and the exhibited works and thereby expands the public education function of BMAB.

Live Performances: As part of the Biennale, live performances will be hosted at the venues of CAFA Art Museum and CHAO Art Center.

Tour exhibitions: Tour exhibitions will be held in various venues, both in Beijing and other places, which are all focused on the same or related topics.

About the exhibition

Academic Director: Fan Di’an
Academic Advisors: Su Xinping, Zhang Zikang
Academic Committee: Fan Di’an, Xu Bing, Su Xinping, Zhang Zikang, Song Xiewei, Qiu Zhijie, Chen Xiaowen, Fei Jun, Zhang Ga, Wang Min’an, Yin Shuangxi, Guan Huaibin, Zhang Peili, Wang Chunchen, Wang Zhong, Jin Jun, Ning Ning, Chang Zhigang

Chief Curators: Song Xiewei, Qiu Zhijie
Curators: Chen Xiaowen, Fei Jun

Executive Curators: Brad Miller | Jo Wei, Brad Miller
Exhibition Execution: Gao Gao, Xue Tianchong, Zhang Wenchao, Wang Naiyi

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