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Visual Arts

Let 100 Reading Groups Bloom

Schedule

Date: September 18-19, 2021
Venue: HBstation, Guangzhou
Theme: Neoliberal and the Weird
Led by: Zian Chen, de Art Center

Date: September 22, 2021
Venue: Oyster Books, Hangzhou
Theme: Digestion and the Weird
Led by: Zian Chen, tabloid flâneur

Date: October 1-3, 2021
Venue: Chronus Art Center (CAC), Shanghai
Theme: Ecology and the Weird

Date: October 2021
Venue: Online
Theme: Temporality and the Weird

Date: November 2021
Venue: TBD
Theme: Art for the Weird

Back in 2015, South Korean economist Ha-joon Chang proclaimed a revisionist aspiration: “Let 100 flowers bloom and cross-fertilize.” In his adaptation of the Maoist exhortation, he suggested that no single economic theory could properly summarize the logic of a complex economic system in the contemporary world. When it comes to writing, Chang has also taken a cross-fertilizing approach, venturing into literary criticism, and even science fiction at times, in order to gain access to a wider readership and make sense of seemingly invisible economic machinations.

Fast forward to 2020, just before the European outbreak of Covid-19. During a reading session dedicated to protesting higher education in London, artist Hannah Black urged, “Let 100 reading groups bloom.” In welcoming collective forms of knowledge-sharing, the blooming reading groups can be hopeful to expose the managerialization and capitalization of the current higher education system. In recent times, we have witnessed a rapid growth in Zoom reading groups due to prolonged global lockdowns.

Initiated by Pro Helvetia Shanghai, Swiss Arts Council, and curated by Zian Chen, “Let 100 Reading Groups Bloom” attempts to understand the intimacy of knowledge and affect through organizing reading groups. In this inaugural session, this project will present a series of reading and sharing sessions based on a list contributed by the Swiss artist duo Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė, aka. Young Girl Reading Group (YGRG), enriched by the conceptual directions of Cahier d’Artistes 2021. The reading session is planned to be hosted by the institutions in Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Shanghai and beyond. The traveling event will be accompanied by book presentations from the reading group and the Collection Cahiers d’Artistes 2021.

With its Collection Cahiers d’Artistes, the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia enables aspiring Swiss artists the publication of an initial monograph to their name. Once every two years, based on the recommendation of a jury, the Swiss Arts Council selects eight artists out of those who have followed a call for applications. The Cahiers d’Artistes series was launched by the Arts Council in 1984. This online platform makes all the monographs published over the past 30 years available in digitised form.

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