Audi Innovation exhibition, Guangzhou, China
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Marc Hungerbühler for the:artist:network, New York, NY, November 4, 2013
“INNOVATION” a multimedia exhibition for Audi in Guangzhou, 2013
The exhibition “Innovation” will be held by Audi China from November 20 to December 8, 2013, on Haixinsha Island, Guangzhou. It is the inaugural effort by the German car giant to showcase their engineering achievements through collaborative artistic presentations for the purpose of branding and exploring cross-media platforms in the Far East and more specifically for the Chinese audience.
The:artist:network, a New York–based arts organization with a decade of international curatorial experience, particularly in China, has been chosen by Audi to spearhead this new strategy. Under the leadership of artistic directors Alexandra and Marc Hungerbühler, the German and Swiss curators who were the initiators and directors of the first independent Beijing 798 Biennale in 2009, this exhibition will present works by French multimedia artist Sebastien Leon Agneessens and Chinese-born, American-educated installation artist Jennifer Wen Ma. The fundamental premise of “Innovation” as well as the future of mobility is in synchronicity and convergence. It is the premise that all great innovation in science, economics, and the arts is intrinsically connected to its particular generation. In order to decode the global paradigm, a multitude of considerations should be given to the similarities of diverse practices. Great art and great innovation are both the cause and the effect of significant change in our economic and cultural development, persistently driven by the synergies of the collective creative. Since present concerns for future living space, energy, and resources have eclipsed the conventional challenges of technological exploration and optimism, “Innovation” will, by way of contemporary art, create an experiential platform through which the scientific resolve and quality engineering of the automobile industry, and in particular the Audi tradition, can be visualized. In doing so, it will focus on an array of visual/sound installations and public interventions that narrate a type of human condition that is informed by contemporary behavior patterns, exchange of information, our mobility, and our growing urban landscape.This exhibition includes interactive displays of playful scientific deliberation and A/V sculptural installations that present the stunning visual signatures of two extraordinary contemporary artists. They probe deeply into our imagination, utilizing science fiction, contemporary narratives, metaphor, and public interaction. At the same time, the artists employ immersive environments to choreograph innovative engineering technology within their unique artistic formats. The curatorial choice of the artists Jennifer Wen Ma and Sebastien Leon Agneessens is in both cases based on their ability to incorporate and respond to the synchronicities in art and science, and further because of their singular artistic dispositions and development. Jennifer is a Chinese-born, American-educated visual artist and an exceptional example of the trans-cultural experience. She has undertaken ambitious, multi-dimensional installations and new media platforms that have appeared at some of the world’s most renowned art institutions, such as the Guggenheim museums in Bilbao and New York, the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, and the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, to name a few. She has participated in various international biennales, served on the creative team of the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008, and just completed a light installation for the famous Water Cube in Beijing. For the Audi “Innovation” exhibition, Jennifer Wen Ma is working on an elaborate interactive video installation emulating a traditional ink landscape painting and altered by real-time information taken simultaneously from the internet and harvested from the viewing public to be infused into the digital composition. “This participatory, interactive installation synthesizes a set of complex data, offering each visitor a unique, non-replicable, and visually stunning experience that is different each time depending on the data collected from the individual. This data will come from the viewer, the Internet, weather, movements, moods of the visitors, their desired destinations, and the time period, among other things. The visual output is not sterile and digital, but warm, organic, artistic, and personal. It is also uniquely Chinese, respecting traditions and history while simultaneously reinterpreting them for contemporary and future citizens, which will resonate deeply with the Chinese visitors.” Sebastien Leon Agneessens is a French-born multimedia and sound artist working in New York. He has laterally entered the art world with a background in curating, branding, and high-level marketing, including executive positions for both Armani in Milan and Chanel in New York. He brings a wealth of exhibition experience to the “Innovation” project, both as a marketing-industry leader and foremost as an outstanding visual and sound artist. "Sebastien started his musical explorations in 2008 when he was commissioned by Bono’s fashion label Edun to create a sound installation in collaboration with spoken-word artist Saul Williams and musician Kyle Fischer of Rainer Maria. Shortly after, Sebastien and Kyle partnered with the Alan Lomax Foundation on a multi-channel sound installation called MMIX, for which they created a twelve-hour meditative music piece mixing their own music with some of Alan Lomax’s field recordings. His multi-perspective background and deep understanding of sculptural form, combined with his seamless production and his gift as a musical composer, make an exquisite synergic triad for the Audi “Innovation” exhibition. Sebastien Leon fills a 15 meter–diameter spherical room with over a thousand helium balloons made of silver foil, each reflecting hypnotic images of the room and its visitors. Embedded in the floating balloons is an overhead sixty-channel sound installation playing an electronic symphonic dialogue of automobile sounds mixed with the songs of thirty different songbirds." The core argument for including both artists is that they cross-pollinate each other’s perspectives, and they both allude to nature as the aggregate of all existence. The key concern in their works is to not polarize technology and humanity—on the contrary, they propose greater harmony and synchronicity of technological innovation with emotional counter-posture and moral responsibility, rather than pursuing technology for reasons of self-perpetuation or simply as a matter of necessity.The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of lectures and artist talks as well as a documentary.
"You Can See Where You Are Going"
Visitors to the data imaging area enter into a panoramic Chinese landscape painting, projected onto six side-by-side large-scale hanging scrolls that converge in the middle, with two sides mirroring each other. An abstract, atmospheric and fluid ink wash painting video by the artist serves as the visual platform. Several sources of data collected live from the exhibition site make up the rest of the components. Weather conditions harvested from the Internet, movements of the visitor in the gallery captured by a camera, and viewer's desired travel destinations and time periods input into the interactive tablets, are fed into a computer program that generates a live virtual digital journey for the viewers. The images are constantly changing according to the given conditions of the day and audience input, so the videos never repeat and cannot be fully predicted.
"You Can See Where You Are Going"
Audi exhibition pods on Haixinsha Island, Guangzhou, China