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Translife: International Triennial of New Media Art at the National Art Museum of China
Visitors enjoy creating patterns on installation 'Gravicells Gravity and Resistance' by Japanese artists Seiko Mikami and Sota Ichikawa, part of 'Translife' the International Triennial of New Media Art at the National Art Museum of China in Beijing, China 12 August 2011. The show is curated by the museum's director Fan Di'an who has built a reputation for the venue as a place for cutting edge exhibitions often with a strong international element, breaking from the decades old tradition of dull propaganda based domestic art. EPA/ADRIAN BRADSHAW.

By: Zhang Ga

BEIJING.- Following the groundbreaking international new media art exhibition Synthetic Times, a 2008 Beijing Olympics Cultural Project, the National Art Museum of China presents translife, the next installment of the Media Art China series, now instituted as a triennial, in Beijing.

Amidst the global challenges of climate and ecological crises that threaten the very existence of humanity, the exhibition translife reflects on the whereabouts of humankind in relationship to nature through an unique perspective and philosophical speculation, calling for citizen participation in facing these imminent challenges with artistic imagination to advocate a new world view of nature and a retooled humanist proposition.

The exhibition is structured by three thematically related components that gradually progress from the discovery of new sensorial potentials that extend our cognitive capacities to the emergence of multiple life forms to biodiversity and an exploration of the symbiosis of cohabitation, revealing emerging concepts of life and provoking contemplation on the biosphere. In doing so, the exhibition also strives to reassess the historical roots and epistemological foundation of the current ecological and environmental predicament, interrogating the notion of subjectivity inherent in the project of modernity and the anthropocentrism derived from that tradition.

The exhibition’s architectural design starting with the first floor of the museum and extending to the third and the uppermost floors resonates with the exhibition’s thematic construct in which the progression from the sensorial experiences of the individual to the recognition of the multitude of life phenomena and, finally, to the attention to life-sustaining ecosystems echoes with the emotional and perceptual evolution from micro-worlds to a macro-universe, making the curatorial concept an organic and symbolic physical presence.

translife brings to the Beijing audience an unparalleled roster of 53 artworks by over 80 artists and artist collectives from China, Korea, Japan, Singapore, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, The Netherlands, Latvia, Ireland, UK, Finland, Belgium, Norway, Serbia and Australia. 40 works are included in the theme exhibitions and 13 works have been installed in the “Weather Tunnel” special project.

The exhibition occupies three galleries on the museum’s first floor and the entire space of the museum’s 3rd and 5th floors, totaling over 4000 square meters.

The cutting-edge Chinese architect MA Yansong designed a large installation for “Weather Tunnel” in collaboration with emerging artists from a selection of leading art schools in an open area of the museum.

The 300 page plus exhibition catalogue consists of a collection of scholarly texts contributed by world-renowned authors (Bruno Latour, Arjen Mulder, Chris Salter, Peter Sloterdijk, Eugene Thacker, and a curatorial text by ZHANG Ga) to elaborate on the exhibition’s themes and their philosophical ramifications, along with color illustrations of works in the exhibition.

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