Art in Global China, February 23-24, 2019

by Xuenan Cao

Art in Global China was in the 1990s the site of intense contestation between market and art. This site continues in the present as both a public and private discourse space for gatherings of art historians, curators, artists, researchers and students, and others who are similarly invested in the making of the contemporary art scene. During the two-day event, Professor Eva Man, director of Film Academy and Chair Professor at Hong Kong Baptist University and Haoyang Zhao, MFA from Duke University gave academic talks on the institutional, cultural, and technical components that inscribe what make sense to us as art. The event also provided an opportunity for speakers and guests to review students’ photography and film works and nurture interests in these two prominent media of art-making.

On February 23, 2019, the event opened with introductory remarks by the organizer Xuenan Cao on how the discourse of contemporary art were formed in the 1990s’ mainland China. Eva Man’s talk moved the debates to the location of Hong Kong. Her discussion on Hong Kong artists complicates the notion of the contemporary “Chinese” art by showcasing the identity politics of museum displays in the Hong Kong Museum of Art. A few DKU faculty members, guests from Shanghai Engineering University and New York University-Shanghai, and a small group of DKU undergraduate and graduate students attended the talk and joined the lunch with Eva Man. In the afternoon, the more student-facing talk on photo-books by Haoyang Zhao attracted around 20 DKU undergraduate students. After the talk, 16 DKU students also had chance to show their photography and show film works, and receive feedbacks from Eva Man, Haoyang Zhao, and other guests.

On February 25, 2019, Haoyang Zhao gave a workshop on software-based photo editing and sequencing. 25 students attended the workshop and six of them submitted works for workshoping. The afternoon Cyanotype Print workshop focused on another, completely different approach to imaging: cyanotype print. The workshop showed the traditional print making technique using chemical-coated sheets, shades, and sunlight. Haoyang Zhao demonstrated the processes of mixing chemicals, coating paper sheet, shading, and exposing. A group of 9 student experimented with varying layers of coating and shading and different amount of exposure time to make own blue prints.

Four students have made short films related to themes of this event. The speakers have selected the best short film from the DKU undergraduate students’ submissions. This following short film by Flora Hua Chai and Cing-Yi Stella Wang is given “The Art in Global China Award” for their experimental video that shows the sharp contrast between alienation and belonging.

Talk: A Museum of Hybridity
Professor Eva Man, showcasing public displays at the Hong Kong Museum of Art and discussing the validation of art as part of Hong Kong’s post-colonial politics.
Talk: Photobooks: Image of Images
Haoyang Zhao, discussing the history of photobook-making and explaining how this technique of cultural representation shape our ways of seeing.
Screening and Discussion: Catching Lights and Shadows
Professor Eva Man, Haoyang Zhao, Dr. Xiaoxian Ye deliberating DKU undergraduate students’ photography works and short films.
Haoyang Zhao demonstrating the photo editing workflow.
Workshop: Cyanotype Impression
Haoyang Zhao guiding students in creating blue prints from everyday objects.