Date: April 25-June 6, 2021
Opening ceremony: 5:30 pm, Apr.24, at MoCA Pavilion
Venue A: MoCA Pavilion
Venue B: Xian Xia Lai Co-Op
Artists/Participants: Christian Zehnder (CH), Fei LUO, Terence LLoren, Qifang SUN, Yuezhou WANG, Jing YUAN, Ms. Baofali
Organisers: Swiss Alpine Museum, Bern, Switzerland; MoCA Shanghai; MoCA Shanghai Foundation; The Paper; Diderot Cultural Lab Shanghai
Co-organisers: Xian Xia Lai Co-Op/ Big Fish Community Design Center; The Paper Institute
Supporter: Pro Helvetia Shanghai, Swiss Arts Council
Curators: Beat Hächler, June CHU
Assistant Curator: Jianwen SHEN
Scenography: Frank Dittmann
Audiovisual Consultant: Terence LLoren
Exhibition Team: Jing YUAN, Yi-Hsien LIN, Yang YANG, Junyi HUANG, Bingliang FENG
Advisors: Miriam SUN, Chien-Ho HSU, Hantao SHI, Yi YIN
Academic Advisory Board: Sound Lab, College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University; The Sound Lab, the College of Media and International Culture, Zhejiang University; Hsueh-Man SHEN; Shu-Ming CHANG
Acknowledgements: Consulate General of Switzerland in Shanghai; Swissnex in China; NEXTMIXING; OCT Contemporary Art Terminal (OCAT) Shanghai; OPO Group of Disability; Golden Cane; Big Fish Community Design Center; ear0.com; Shanghai Nouveau Jinju Creative Co., Ltd; M.D-STUDIO
“Echo: Greetings from Nature and Urban Space—An Overture” exhibition is supported by Pro Helvetia Shanghai, Swiss Arts Council, organised by Swiss Alpine Museum, Bern, Switzerland, MoCA Shanghai, MoCA, Shanghai Foundation, The Paper, Diderot Cultural Lab Shanghai and co-organised by Xian Xia Lai Co-Op/ Big Fish Community Design Center, The Paper Institute. The exhibition will be open to public from Apr 25 to June 6, 2021 at two venues—MoCA Pavilion Shanghai and Xian Xia Lai Co-Op.
The roots of “Echo: Greetings from Nature and Urban Space—An Overture” exhibition can be traced to “Echo: The Mountain Calls Back,” an exhibition organized by the Swiss Alpine Museum in 2019. A Sino-Swiss collaborative project, the new “Echo: Greetings from Nature and Urban Space—An Overture” exhibition builds on the foundations of the Swiss exhibit, echoing its approach and structure while adapting it to the Chinese context by inviting local artists to participate, find their own echoes, and locate points of resonance between Switzerland and China.
The overture to “Echo: Greetings from Nature and Urban Space—An Overture” consists of two parts, totaling 16 works of sound art. The Swiss half of the exhibition is primarily made up of pieces by Christian Zehnder taken from the Swiss Alpine Museum’s 2019 exhibition. The Chinese half, on the other hand, is mainly comprised of pieces pulled from “Mapping Echoes,” an open-call program organized by the current exhibition’s co-sponsor: the respected Shanghai media outlet The Paper. These works were produced by a mix of artists, professionals, and members of the public, enriching their content while expanding the exhibition’s diversity and possibilities.
The exhibition will feature MoCA Pavilion Shanghai as the main venue. Part of the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art, the MoCA Pavilion is located between People’s Park and several bustling nearby neighborhoods, situating it in a unique, open cultural atmosphere. An experimental micro-museum, its glass-sheet windows integrate the artistic works on display into the city around them. The exhibition’s secondary site is in an underground tunnel currently under the management of the “Xian Xia Lai Co-Op.” The tunnel is a natural echo factory, and the auditory experiences it offers, combined with the spatial properties of the sound art on display there, add new, heterogenous imaginaries to the overall exhibition.
Throughout the recordings—whether they are an artistic creation or simply sounds collected from everyday life— the theme of ‘echo’ as a much-interpreted subject in Eastern and Western art, humanities, and philosophy, is reduced to a more direct and pure state. The auditory experience is further enhanced by the scenography assisted by Frank Dittmann at both venues, creating a multi-dimensional experience.
This overture is a unique collaboration between venue, participating artists/individuals, and curatorial approach that encourages the further exploration of hidden sounds in the city and nature. During the exhibition, the curatorial team will launch more educational activities, such as “Echo Walking Tour”, “The Art and Science of Echo: A Family Workshop” and “Echo Concert”. Meanwhile, we will host a forum on the theme of “How to Exhibit Sound” by inviting artists and professionals from science centers and art museums. We wish to inspire more creators and planners to participate, so that the echo will continue to radiate and be heard. We especially hope that, in this post-pandemic era, people can reconnect and greet each other again through these echoes.
(Banner image: Christian Zehnder. Seealpsee, Alpstein. Sound recording. 2019. 3’16”. Courtesy of Swiss Alpine Museum, Bern. )