May 5

When a person experiences gender ambiguity, he/she is highly aware of his/her gender, he/she IS curious and suspicious of his/her body. Men shall pose questions about why their physiology is different from that of women and may wonder about what it would be like to possess female sensibility and features.Many men gain satisfaction in adolescence by trying on female dresses, although they fear ridicule. Meanwhile, women may achieve mental balance and overcome “castration anxiety” by cross dressing in public.

It is a fact that men and women both have male and female hormones. Due to differing ratios of the hormones, there arise differences in gender. In the case of some individuals, the ratio of male and female hormones is different. In these cases, men exhibit more female features and women demonstrate more male characteristics. This demonstrates that between male and female there exists a gender spectrum. Each person occupies a particular position within this spectrum and each individual is thus unique in minute details.

Maggie Reys, a famous American female biologist at Massachusetts State University has written in her “Mysterious Dance --- Evolution of Human Sexual Behavior” that “There are billions of multiplying cells with kernels in our bodies which reveals the fact that we are androgenic in genes and a mixture of both sexes… From this perspective, we can take ourselves as bi-sexual and androgenic with sexes confused.”

Almost all ancient fairy tales and religions believe that the earliest gods and humans were androgynous beings who later developed into mono-sexual entities. In Latin, the word "Sex" evolved from “secus” derived from the root word “seco” meaning to divide and separate. Many ancient Buddhist statues are entities with androgenic qualities and bi-sexual organs.
Apr 24
by Ben Davis

"The Thirteen: Chinese Video Now," Feb. 26-May 1,
2006, at P.S.1 MoMA, 22-25 Jackson Ave,
Long Island City, N.Y. 11101

By now, the word has spread everywhere in the art world: China is the future. Everyone is in a frenzy, with all the major galleries jockeying to get a Chinese artist in the rotation. At the Museum of Modern Art in New York, insiders say that the order has come from the top down that all departments should reorient themselves to add a focus on Chinese contemporary art.

This certainly represents, in part, an authentic interest in a thriving Chinese scene, fruit of the transformation of a rural and tradition-bound society into an urban and capitalist one, squarely focused on the future. But the indomitable air that Chinese art has right now is also obviously driven by blind speculation and herd mentality. The current show of Chinese video art at MoMA satellite P.S.1, featuring work by 8gg, Cui Xiuwen, Dong Wensheng, Cao Fei, Hu Jieming, Huang Ziaopeng, Li Songhua, Liang Yue, Lu Chungsheng, Ma Yongfeng, Meng Jin, Xu Tan and Xu Zhen, co-curated by David Thorp and Sun Ning, shows both sides of this uneasy equation.

The phenomenon can be summed up by exploring the title of the exhibition itself, "The Thirteen." On the one hand, it’s clearly meant to evoke a kind of supernatural aura, and, in fact, the show is anchored by two longer videos, both with real mystery to them. The 28-minute Drifting Lantern (2005) by Cui Xiuwen (b. 1970) is the first thing one sees as one enters the darkened galleries, with an entire wall dedicated to its projection. It focuses on a single image: a glowing, pumpkin-shaped orange lantern. Accompanied by a lush soundtrack of erhu, flute and voice, and isolated on a black background, the glowing form bobs forward and backwards, in and out of the screen like a playful spirit.

Occasionally, however, fragments of other images break the blackness, allowing the viewer to become aware that the lantern, in fact, is suspended on a chain, carried by a woman who holds it with a ceremonial steadiness as she advances through streets and plazas. The restless, animated movement of the lantern turns out to be the jerky motion of the camera itself as it follows her path. Moving in and out of the illusion, now isolating the lantern and letting artifice take over, now pulling back to show its context, Cui’s piece is perfect as exploration of the potentials proper to video.

Also granted its own gallery is the 29-minute The History of Chemistry (2004) by Lu Chunsheng (b. 1968), located exactly half-way through the exhibition from Floating Lantern (furthering the impression that it serves as a second pillar of the show). Shot in spare black-and-white, History’s wordless, sci-fi infused narrative is seemingly structured around an evolution through different forms of power: We follow a group of sailors (water-born transit) who explore a barren, overgrown wasteland, where they are spooked first by a train (steam-power), seemingly running automatically across deserted tracks, and then by a lawnmower (gas/electric-power), mysteriously driven in circles. At last, they draw near an immense, fortress-like industrial complex -- which, perhaps, represents the future, as suggested by the prophetic final image of the group’s captain standing frozen, hammer raised in the air.

Three pieces by Cao Fei (b. 1978), scattered throughout the exhibition, show a consistent concern for moments in which fantasy collides with humdrum everyday life. In Milkman (2005), Cao captures the pathos of the titular protagonist’s daily routine, seeing him at one point lolling in bed, tormented by the come-ons of a late night sex chat show. Public Space (2002) features a middle-aged man playing the fool in the street, while the crowd-pleasing Cosplayers (2004) depicts various young people clad as cartoon heroes and heroines, staging mock battles in the street before finally trudging back to their dreary normal lives. Though somewhat slight, taken together these works outline a coherent vision.

Returning to the show’s name, however: If it is intended to evoke a kind of mystical aura, it also unintentionally indicates that Chinese art is here being thought of numerically, in bulk. As with many efforts at curating video, there is a real problem with cramming too much of it together: Cui’s meditative Lantern is interrupted by the sound of heavy breathing, clacking ping-pong balls and shouting from crowded suites of videos on either side; Lu’s stark, near-silent History is stationed adjacent to Hu Jieming’s clamorous From Architectural Immanence (2005), a 6-minute loop featuring fragmentary blasts of music that supposedly correspond to the shapes of the different types of buildings pictured.

What’s more, if this is supposed to be the future, much of the work has the familiar feeling of the recent past. Take the works by young, ultra-hot Chinese artist Xu Zhen (b. 1977), whose interest in provocation and the body recalls 70s artists like Bruce Nauman and William Wegman. We’ll come back (2002), displayed on a TV set on the floor, focuses on the crotches of two young people using their flies as an ashtray and a purse, respectively, while Shouting (1998) features the artist screaming into a crowd from behind a camera and capturing their reactions. (Xu’s Rainbow, a 1998 video of a naked back being whipped, each cut in the film corresponding to a lashing sound, so that it becomes more scarred even as the actual attacks are edited out, is more interesting). Similarly, the collective 8gg’s manipulated footage of Chinese newscasters, making them look robotic, is a gimmick that’s been worked from many angles already by other artists.

Many more videos have the feeling of concept-first "gestures" familiar from trendy Western art, here often with relation to China’s rapid development: Xu Tan’s Xin Tian Di (2005), showing images of a landmark Communist neighborhood overrun with Starbucks coffee shops and Vidal Sassoon salons, counterpoised to a soundtrack of Communist anthems; Ma Yongfeng’s The Swirl (2002), a static, 15-minute shot of Chinese goldfish being tortured in an industrial washing machine; and Li Songhua’s Keynote Speech (2005), which greets visitors before they enter the galleries with the image of a small Chinese boy reading the bombastic text of a speech on China’s glorious economic future.

The pitfall of a top-down emphasis on China-ness -- the institutional equivalent of the fashionable practice of getting tattoos of random Chinese characters -- is that it comes at the expense of the actual rhythms of artistic singularities. Tellingly, P.S.1 accompanies the show with a text extolling video as perfect for China, because it is "a relatively cheap medium that produces rapid results," a formal proposition that echoes Wallstreet’s notion of the country as haven of cheap goods and get-rich-quick investment.

The classic dangers of speculative frenzy are the overvaluing of mediocre assets, the flourishing of half-baked schemes and the creation of redundancy, as capital indiscriminately builds up "hot" industries. "The Thirteen" shows that, whatever its strengths are, Chinese art is not immune to all this -- though, given the hype, I suppose that this is a progressive lesson in its own right.

BEN DAVIS is associate editor of Artnet Magazine
Apr 21

Independent critic/curator Zhang Zhaohui brings a diverse array of Chinese artists together for the Ruins exhibition, hosted by the Institute of Visual Arts (Inova) at the Peck School of the Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee this month. Featuring 40-some works by eleven mainland artists, including Chen Qiuling, the Gao Brothers, Liu Jin, Ma Yongfeng, Liu Wei, and Zhang Dali, the exhibition engages question of modernity and change in contemporary China. “Each work tells a certain truth, based on the individual artist’s perspective and observation, about contemporary China,” explains Zhang Zhaohui. Investigating the problems emerging from the rapid urbanization of China, Ruins examines the attitudes towards the past of these younger Chinese artists, who grew up in the midst of China's massive socio-economic transformation, and their apprehensions about the future. Using new media to document China's changes, this group of artists, in the curator's words, "pick through the debris of China’s recent and distant past, observing a wide range of ruins, from China’s traditional culture, to industrialization, patriotism, and revolutionary ideals, and consider the possibility of building a new cultural identity on the ruins of the past."

Exhibition runs from March 10, 2006-May 14, 2006

(c) 2006 Maya Kovskaya. All Rights Reserved.
Apr 19

Projection : China Action 2 - Une sélection de vidéos et de performances récentes d'artistes chinois, Tours, France.
Work in Progress "Cinéma expérimental et films d'artistes"

Mercredi 14 décembre 2005 – 20 h
CCNT Centre Chorégraphique National de Tours
47 rue du Sergent Leclerc - 37000 Tours

China Action 2 - Une sélection de vidéos et de performances récentes d'artistes chinois.

Ma Yongfeng, Swirl, 2002
Xing Gang, The Totem on the Water Surface, 2003
Huang Yan New Calligraphy, 2003
Zhang Yanxiang, Brain, 2003
Chau Yeuk Chiu, Hurt, 2004 -
Cai Qing, Memory of Life With Ava, 2000
Liu Wei, Floating Memory, 2003
Huang Yan, Jingde Town, 2003
Wu Ershan, Sans Titre, 2003
Feng Mengbo, AH_Q, 2004

Entrée libre

Programmation : Marie-Hélène Breuil, David Kidman
avec le soutien de la Drac Centre et du Conseil régional du Centre, l'aide de l'Association des amis de l'Esbat-Ecole supérieure des beaux-arts de Tours-Ville de Tours
Apr 19
Dear sir:

Here are some reactions from Thailand New Media Art Festival , They mentioned one of my works, Because Thai audience was impressed by several works. The followings are selected from pls try to find at

NEW.WRITING: : Isabel Saij interviews Francis Wittenberger, who curated and managed the Media Art Festival 2004, (MAF04) in Bangkok, Thailand, 20-28 March, 2004.

BY: Isabel Saij, with Francis Wittenberger

POSTED: Monday 07 June 2004

IS: Be specific – What were the expectations and reactions from the viewers regarding the creations of European/U.S. artists?

FW: Our Thai audience was impressed by several works--mainly I would say due to visual attributes. And here are a few examples:

Alfred Banze, Banyan Project, Germanycomment: "It’s nice to see so many people around the world collaborate in one project." (multinational project, performances)

Natalia Borissova, series of graphics from VJ performances, Russiacomment: "Cute images!" (reaction to pixelated c-prints )

Hermelinde Hergenhahn, Day in Day out, Hollandcomment: "Wow, so much machines but the concept is good." "How much all this cost?" (video installation that recorded events during daytime and projected them to the street back at nighttime)

Kris Delacourt + Nico Dockx + Peter Verwimp + Christopher Musgrave, Building Transmissions, video and noise music performance, Belgiumcomment: "Interesting, but I don’t understand" (reaction to noise performance; also, some people could not stand the flickering visuals).

Ma Yongfeng, Swirl, video art, Chinacomment: "Did the fish die?" (video showing goldfish washed in a washing machine for 15 minutes, a statement over condition of artists in china)

Calin Man Esoth Eric interactive installation, Romaniacomment: "I do not know how to play this game" (computer installation, unexpected digital interface)

Przemyslaw Moskal, Virtual and Real: K-Dron and Light, interactive 3D in shockwave offline version, USAcomment: "This is amazing!" (real time 3D graphics)

Anouk De Clercq + Anton Aeki + Joris Cool, Building, video, Belgiumcomment: "Wow, I never thought architecture can look like art." (3D model of architectural interiors. Only walls, columns, no other props, lit by moving light sources. Perfect motion compositions, perfect rendering, black & white video)

Juhani Koivumäki, Self-portrait, video, Finlandcomment: "Do you think Thai people will understand what you were going through?" (finish director express mental issues on film, hard and personal)

Christian Hogue, motion graphics, video/lecture: where industry meet the arts, UKcomment: "This is very good and very interesting." (reaction to hi-end motion graphics presentations, excerpts from art and commercial special effects as used in commercials)
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