The Third Guangzhou Triennial-Beijing Station£¨UCCA£©

Date£ºSeptember ,10th , 2008-September, 12th , 2008
Venue: UCCA ,Beijing
Activities:
10:00AM, 10th September, Video Show of ¡°Middle East Channel¡± and ¡°Africa: Personal Poetics¡±
14:00PM-16:30PM, 11th September,The Third Guangzhou Triennial-Beijing Station, opening lecture
Speakers: Khaled D.Ramadan ¡²Curator of ¡°Middle East Channel¡±¡³, Stina Edblom ©zCurator of ¡°Africa Personal Poetics¡±©{
16:00PM, 12th September, Talk
Speaker: Prof.Sarat Maharaj, curator of The Third Guangzhou Triennial
Moderator£ºEmma Guo
Guests: Jerome Sans £¨Director of UCCA£©,Wang Huangsheng £¨Director of GDMoA, Gao Shiming£¨Curator of the third Guangzhou Triennial£©, Johnson Tsong-zung Chang£¨Curator of the third Guangzhou Triennial£©, Guo Xiaoyan£¨Chief-Curator of UCCA, Research Curator of the third Guangzhou Triennial£©

    September, 6th,2008 The Third Guangzhou Triennial presented a successful opening ceremony in Guangdong Museum of Art. One of the curators Gao Shiming treated this triennial as a never-ending explored Long March, which is always full of questions, always on the road. The first station of this Long March is Beijing UCCA, where the triennial initiated Questionnaire Exercise for the first time. After a period of well preparation and reflection, we back again here, bringing again our questions and our mediations 
    The Third Guangzhou Triennial Beijing Station (UCCA) will exhibit video works of more than 30 international artists, the themes of which can be divided into two units: Mid-east Channel and Africa: Personal Poetics. It also invited curators of this two units and Prof. Sarat Maharaj, curator the third Guangzhou Triennial to give relevant lectures. Prof. Sarat¡¯s lecture focused on some of the recent developments of contemporary art in China.

Brief Introduction of This Two Unites:

Middle East Video Channel
A screening file on the line of experimental video and short documentary
 
The wider theme of the Middle East Video Channel is to be found in the notion of exploration, the search for characteristic independency and memory in contemporary Middle Eastern video culture.
 
Independent video and experimental documentary coming out of the Middle East have proved to be major contributors to the visual and cultural arena in the region, which is largely due to the major technological developments that have occurred globally during the last 20 years.

Freelancers and independent video makers are constructing their own rules of engagement and shaping a new contemporary visual order in this geographical space we call the Middle East. They have managed to expand our understanding of the social and political fabric of the Middle East through their aesthetic concerns and critical and analytical approaches. This expansion has happened simultaneously with the booming of the Arab satellite TV stations and with the deconstruction of Cairo's monopoly over the Arab film industry. Hence, several new media production centers and independent video makers have emerged in countries like Algeria, Egypt, Palestine and Lebanon but also in Iran and Turkey.

A characteristic of this category of aesthetics has been the extensive use of historic and socio-political texts and narratives, as well as antique-like and readymade footage and photography. Another characteristic is the tendency to interact with the surroundings, which makes this genre commit itself to complex contemporary political and socio-cultural issues.
 
Video as message transmitter
 
The Middle East Video Channel presents how Middle Eastern video makers tackle, view and reconstruct their memories, reality and virtuality, how they define their sociological truth and how the use of new media influences their artistic practices.
 
All videos selected are deeply concerned with social change.  They could be said to be seeking to explain or deepen our understanding of certain elements of society. Manoeuvring on the borders of the traditional documentary form, many works are deeply conscious of the truth which they represent.
 
The program "Middle East Video Channel" mainly focuses on categories like sociological/anthropological video trends, short illustrative documentary and video as a tool of political activism. It also deals with autobiographical videos, testimonial interviews, archival footage, and socio-political issues with the aim of altering, de-authorizing and deconstructing the limits of experimental video and documentary from the region.
 
Independently-funded experimental video and investigational artistic documentary are in the spotlight of our Middle East Video Channel. Therefore we wish to present and help articulate the aesthetic context of this type of video making and explore the characteristics of its expansion.
All videos in the Middle East Video Channel are works of video and documentary makers from the Middle East with the exception of a few international artists who work with the Middle East as their subject matter.
 
Khaled D. Ramadan, Research Curator, Beirut, 2008

Africa: Personal Poetics
Stina Edblom
As the ceremonial offering of tea invites us to contemplate and allow our minds to drift, the collection of videos in this program, presents glimpses of fiction and reality that form, in the beautiful words of Homi Bhabha; specters of memories, proxies for the present and phantoms of the future.  The starting point for investigation are the many ways African video artists achieves in developing new imaginings of the profound complexities of African particularities as well as its embeddedness in the diverse trajectories and multiple elsewhere within and beyond the continent.

In the video Chinese Sweet, Chinese Pretty, Doa Aly follows Susu, Mama and Lulu, three Chinese immigrants living in Cairo, in an interrogation of the dynamics of cross cultural integration in Egypt. Issues of displacement, belonging and memory are re-occurring themes that speak to the particular dynamics of globalization and migration and their effects on individual lives in and beyond Africa. In these footsteps, Brendan Fernandes video Foe subverts notion of authenticity and identity in a humorous yet critical retracing and re-learning of his childhood accents. A language that was gradually lost to him, in the relocation from Kenya to Canada where he has now lived the greater part of his life. In the video Untitled (Zimbabwean Queen of Rave), Dan Halter creates a radical juxtaposition between Zimbabwean freedom fighters and the protagonists of the 90's rave culture, synchronized together by the echoing vibe of club diva Rozella's disco hit 'Everybody free (to feel good)'. In the lingering tension from the unsettling harmony of rhythmically moving bodies, Halter leaves space for open ended questioning and provocation. Notions of sexuality and belonging are interrogated in Living Queer Africans by Andrew Esiebo who portrays the life of African homosexuals living in the Diaspora. Notions of masculinity are also a topic for exploration in Athi-Patra Ruga¡¯s video Miss Congo that was shot in Kinshasa, DRC, during a recent artist residency. The video is a though-provoking manifestation of what the artist has coined ¡®craft-meditation¡¯. Silently embroidering, the artist brings a fresh look at notions of masculinity and material memory. In the video Wax in the City, Sue Williamson explores female identity through the idle chatter between women in a body waxing studio and in the video Hema, Lerato Shadi brings her work into the public space through a performance that pushes her to the limit of her physical capacity. For the performance, Shadi, spent exactly 6 hours exhaling every single breath into a balloon, adding up to almost 800 balloons, slowly leaving their marks on the architecture as they spread out into the space. Traces of history, archival material and memory are the topic of investigation for Malala Andrialavidrazana and Penny Siopis. Guy Wouete¡¯s equally poetic and critical work L'immanent Tsunami reveals the fragmented life in Bamako, while Sue Williamson and Pat Ward Williams collaborative work Comfort Zones brings to the fore topical issues of race, forgiveness and Truth and Reconciliation, in a personal and reflective dialogue between South African and the African Diaspora.

In the collection of works presented, the personal and the poetic are intermixed with history and politics, language and translation, process and performativity. In interrogating their human positions, shaped by a web of relations, the selected artists give account of their own particular critical subjectivities and their relationship to the multiple localities from which they speak. In actualizing Achille Mbembe's important question as to how to write the world from Africa and how to write Africa into the world, the videos presented reveal to us the multiple ways we negotiate our lives and bring new meanings to our existence.

   

   

   

   

   

Asea Dai ,report from Beijing