Fri, 15 Oct 2004
18:00 - 21:00
In the presence of Hou Hanru

Sat, 16 Oct 2004 - Sat, 23 Oct 2004
14:00 - 19:00

Artists, both from European and non-European big cities zoom in on the link between explosive (post)modern urbanisation and the equally high-speed development of the digital media.

Blind Sweet
Liang Yue

2004 | video installation

Liang Yue, living between Shanghai and Beijing, is an artist who studies her visual subject matter from post-modern urbanised life through a completely twisted strategy. In stead of starting from the public, she zooms in on the private aspect of the urbanisation process, taking a back road through cinematographic fiction. She is extremely fascinated by film language, and she makes use of special effects in order to create highly personal, daydream-like images of isolation and solitude. The video Blind Sweet, shifting between scene of a kind of claustrophobia life and over-exposures to the public world, shows such a fascinating but uncanny way of existence of this generation, negotiating constantly between private imagination, memory, desire and the alienating outside world.

Beijing CDB planning
Rem Koolhaas

2003 | installation

Rem Koolhaas and his team of architects have been demonstrating a keen eye on Chinese urban development, and they have submitted a number of innovating proposals. In doing so they have focussed on a number of key issues with respect to a futuristic view of tomorrow’s urbanised China. Their bold master plan for Beijing’s CBD (Central Business district), for instance, constitutes the link between an advanced urban expansion of the Chinese capital on the one hand and the safeguarding of the past of urban development on the other. Their main focus is shaped by the architectural evocation of a social revolution serving the purpose of productivity and efficiency. In the form of wall paper, this proposal provides a panorama of the visionary speculation on the future of the city.

Light As Fuck
Yang Zhenzhong

2002 | video installation

In his rather playful little work Light as Fuck, not devoid of irony, the Chinese video artist turns the cliché image of one of China’s best-known metropolitan cities, Shanghai, completely upside-down. He toys around with a postcard-like picture, depicting Shanghai as the main symbol of the Chinese urbanite tree. At his fingertips this rusty ‘image’ is as stretchy as the contemporary post-modern, intuitively planned out process of metropolitan urbanisation itself, the very paradox between its exuberance and fragility.

The Moments
Jiang Zhi

2003 | video installation

Jiang Zhi is a journalist, author and visual artist, and he lives and works in Shenzhen, China. For a long time he has systematically documented all kinds of urbanised lifestyles and metropolitan survival strategies. His video work Moments is a cocktail of fictitious accounts and tranches de vie straight out of reality, in which he shows a subtle overview of every-day city life, submerged in an atmosphere, going from sickly sweet to bitterly sour.

Beijing Morphing
Atelier FCJZ
Beijing University

2004 | installation

In collaboration with the Chinese historian Wang Jun, Yung Ho Chang and his Atelier FCJZ, as well as the Architecture Institute of Beijing University, puzzled out in ‘Beijing Morphing’, an in-depth study with regards to Beijing’s history and contemporary urban development texture. Specifically the starting point of their analysis is a wayward and at the same time ‘realistic’ choice: the current urban expansion prompted by the 2008 Olympics.In their practice, Yung Ho Chang and his Atelier FCJZ have closely worked with the Chinese contemporary art scene and they processed ‘art media’ like digital video and photography in their project presentation. The wall paper Beijing Morphing is a significant example of this approach while it reveals some of the most important elements in the mutation of the urban history of the city.

The Dusk of All the Gods, The Cruel Diary of Youth, Etc.
Yang Yong

2004 | installation

Yang Yong’s photographic images of Shenzhen are conceived in such a way that they breathe some kind of photographic-Romanesque style; a narrative-poetical outlook on the loneliness and fantasies of Chinese youth in metropolitan areas. These images often reflect the many diverse lifestyles, apparently fully adapted in themselves to these dreams, aspirations and feelings of loneliness. In doing so Yang Yong’s work describes the common issue proper to any major city: the quest for a reliable identity amidst the continuous flux of tension, inflated sensory experiences and a reality which keeps changing faster and faster. For the argosfestival, he presents a site-specific installation of his photographic images to create a total environment.

Living in A Water Tank
House Biker
O Yen House
Kyohei Sakaguchi

1999 | video installation

Kyohei Sakaguchi is a young Japanese architect who takes a very radical stance with regards to Asian urbanisation. He tries to investigate the massive growth of the number of homeless in Japan’s main cities by almost literally identifying with them. He documents, for instance, the various ‘tricks’ the homeless community uses to feel ‘at home’. With the careful eye of an architect he photographs the various ‘shelter-strategies’ of these people, and interprets them as a form of architectural self-organisation. The probing accounts of this investigation – mainly photography and video work – are presented here at the argosfestival 2004.

Windows XP
Chen Shaoxiong

2003 | installation

Chen Shaoxiong’s video installation Window XP – like a number of other works in this selection – fits in with the issue of the identity crisis caused by the expansion of the urbanised space. This identity crisis keeps moving back and forth between the excitement of the discovery of new kinds of freedom and an alienating sense of anonymity and loss. Chen Shaoxiong, however, hardly takes a melancholy approach. His pastiche animation Window XP bears witness of this in an ironical and incredibly funny way. In the meantime, it’s a reflection on the current debate on terrorism and urban safety, with a great sense of humour.

Houjie Township
Zhou Hao
Ji Jianghong

2003 | video installation

Zhou Hao and Ji Jianghong are a journalist’s couple who fully appropriated the manipulative techniques of the digital camera. For years they have observed new immigrants who established themselves in the recently fully urbanised village of Houije, in the Pearl River Delta, ‘in real time’. Their ninety-minute documentary Houije Township, shown here at the argosfestival is an in-depth and probing account of the globalisation effect which is taking place within China itself, constantly steering a middle course between infinite denial and crisis.

For Some Reason
Ellen Pau

2002 | video installation

Ellen Pau is one of Hong Kong’s very first video activists. Twenty years ago she set up the pioneering video organisation Videotage, an artist’s collective regularly organising events and workshops, mostly resulting in video work. In most cases the main focus was on the exploration of the overlap between video art and urbanised reality.Pau’s own video work constitutes one of the most fascinating examples of the way in which the ‘electronic’ feminist activism intervenes with the penetrating hallmarks of an ever changing Asian urbanisation.

Lin Yilin

2003 | installation

Lin Yilin is one of the most remarkable artists who have systematically operated in direct interaction with the urban development. As a member of the ‘Big Tail Elephants’ group in Guangzhou, he has focused his work on dealing with issues of street life, from the boom of construction, redefinition of habitation space to the new social relationship caused by the speedy urban expansion in China today. He creates both installations and performances that often incorporate bricks and the body, to carry out critiques on the increasing alienation of human life, namely, the body and soul, in the new urban context. In the meantime, his actions, radically provocative, are continuous negotiations for spaces of free expression in the middle of urban world. He uses DV to document his actions. Moved to New York today, he continues with such negotiations in a new context that incites him to deal with questions of identity, mobility and globalised life. His recent installation work Hotbed, showing videos of his different urban actions, is a summary of his extraordinary trajectory of an urban guerrilla.

Made in Tokyo, Slot machine
Atelier Bow-Wow

2004  | video installation

Atelier Bow-Wow belongs among the artistic top of a generation of artists and architects who turned documenting and analysing of urbanite circumstances into their lifework. For over a decade they have been systematically investigating the tiniest buildings in Tokyo and other metropolitan cities, aiming at the development of innovative solutions for life in confined spaces. In the process they invariably work with artist and other cultural actors. The visual results of their investigations – from books over digital video work to installations – are among the most important contemporary artworks to be produced in Japan today. The new video work Made in Tokyo, Slot Machine is a new experiment with digital video to explore the particular form of architecture produced out of the urban context of Tokyo of high density.

The Curve Is Able To Cough
That’s All Wright Brother’s Fault
Trotsky Was Murdered In Summer, The Gentlemen In the Financial Field Become More Depressible
Before The First Steam Locomotive Was Born
Lu Chunsheng

2001 | video installation

Lu Chunsheng, living in Shanghai, has been deeply fascinated by the changes of perception prompted by rapid urban expansion, that cause fragmentation of memory, disconnection of narrative and unexpected association of images, actions and social relationship. He focuses his DV film works to convey such a fascination and creates a personal world of imagination beyond the "normal" perception mode. Lu Chunsheng loves passing references to film-historical precedents, such as Film Noir and the genre of espionage, in order to embed his work into some kind of surrealist playfulness. From a narrative viewpoint his films are based on anecdotal events from the history of science and politics, turning them into absurd and amusing contemporary mini-scenarios. With the highly unfathomable and complex names and stories, his four films to be presented at the argosfestival form an incredibly uncanny and astonishing universe between fiction and reality. They are ultimately unexpected and exciting.

Je et Nous (Project for Sevran)
Campement Urbain

2002 | video installation

Campement Urbain consists of a group of artist-activists who are trying to restore a social-cultural balance in Sevran, a Paris suburb afflicted by advanced industrialisation. Their project Je & Nous is an attempt to mobilise the inhabitants of this highly heterogeneous district to evaluate their own life environment with the intention of setting up a new mental and physical environment in which individual freedom and self-organisation are key notions. Throughout the years that this project has been going on, it has turned out that the mobilisation programme is considered to be more significant than its final result. A presentation by Campement Urbain is, therefore, more of a process-like moment of display than a final statement. The video document shows how the project is being developed through dialogues among the collective and the inhabitants while the entire installation tends to create a specific environment for the audience to share such an experiment.

Klub der Rupublik
Nina Fischer
Maroan El Sani

2002 | installation

Nina Fischer and Maroan el Sani are among the most committed artists in Berlin, systematically working on the interaction between visual language (mostly digital video) and urban transformation. In stead of visualising the location of the future – something which has kept a city like Berlin frenetically under its spell since the Wall was torn down – they explore the digestion of the German past from the assumption that the Western part of the city has almost literally been eaten by the Eastern – ‘republican’ side.With their presentation of digital video work and installations Fischer & El Sani document this issue of the urban transformation through the debates on the fate of the symbolic edifice of the former East German parliament building, most commonly known as the ‘Palast der Republik’. Klub der Republik is one of these installation works that enrols the public directly into the debate via physical experiences navigating through the model of the building guided by multimedia effects.
[courtesy galerie EIGEN + ART]

This event is part of argosfestival 2004

Yang Zhenzhong, Light As Fuck, 2002  
  • Fri 15.10.2004 - Sat 23.10.2004
    18:00 - 21:00
  • Practical info

    Matrix Art Project