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Visual Arts

Swiss Artists at “Earth Heat Flow”, Beijing Biennial 2022

Schedule

Exhibition: Beijing Biennial 2022
Theme: “Earth Heat Flow: The Visitor Who Returns to Solar Time”
Biennial date: December 2, 2022-February 12, 2023
Section date: December 23, 2022-February 12, 2023
Venue: Beijing Friendship Art Community
Sponsored by Beijing Cultural Investment and Development Group Co., LTD., and organized by Beijing Wentou Chengqian Cultural Property Co., LTD. and M Woods (Beijing) Art Consulting Co., LTD.
Swiss participation is supported by Pro Helvetia Shanghai, Swiss Arts Council.

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Beijing Biennial 2022, themed “Symbiosis”, aims to reflect on the fate of mankind under the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic, exploring how mankind should build a community of shared future, how human civilization and natural ecology should coexist, and how digital technology and creative design can intermix and develop. “Earth Heat Flow: the Visitor Who Returns to Solar Time” is the art and technology section of the Beijing Biennial. This section invites 17 (groups) of artists to discuss how to understand the technological culture and ecological status quo through the lens of thermal media and invites visitors to take a journey on “melting” from the perspective of dynamic “heat flow.”

Three (groups of) Swiss artists are invited to this exhibition, Fragment.in (with “Endangered Herbarium” featured in the “Live Element” chapter), Christoph Oeschger (with “The Other Side of Ice” featured in the “Thermal Medium” chapter) and Anastasia Mityukova (with “Project Iceworm” featured in “Arrows of Time” chapter). The exhibition invites people to stand in the heat flow of the earth again to understand everything carried by our technology and ecosystem and the epoch witnessed by the vertical space between the solar radiation and the thermal structure of the lithosphere, or, the geographical territory between the polar frozen soil and the equatorial sunshine.

“Earth Heat Flow: The Visitor Who Returns to Solar Time” is exhibited at the Arts and Technology Unit of the First Beijing Biennial.

The exhibition titled “Earth Heat Flow,” based on the unique winter heating in Beijing, attempts to discuss how to understand the technological culture and ecological status quo through the lens of thermal media and invites visitors to take a journey on “melting” from the perspective of dynamic “heat flow.” During the journey, imaginary creatures with heat-synesthesia will experience the daily temperature that human beings are accustomed to, track how heat exists as a foreshadowing of the contemporary scientific and technological system, and speculate on notions of entropy and time – both closely related to “heat.” Each work is included into the “melting” narrative, which may change the object’s shape or reveal hidden things. Melting may be violent or silent, like technology, which is both a dynamic plastic force and a revealing force.

The privileged sunshine in winter of Beijing will be splashed on the “hotter” side of the exhibition hall. The works here discuss how our digital infrastructure (data centers, network switches, and optical fibers) constantly absorb the planet’s energy and build a stable thermal environment. Being Radiotropic describes our dependence on electromagnetic signals with life entities’ reaction to solar radiation. The Copper Tree reminds us how the copper element that supports optical cables and wires is generated from the earth’s veins. Porosity Valley imagines how a living element travels as half a mineral entity and half a digital bit. While Analog Sun Tracking replaces the heated sun in the human visual spectrum with black holes; Saros implies the fatal relationship between the solar flare explosion and the electronic system with a ridiculous fable.

Captured Nature reminds us how the man-made “cold/hot” system continuously supports a more moderate and pleasant living environment. However, these control technologies are also involved in the planet’s natural cold and heat flow for water and wind. Even ocean currents are cooling the roaring machine room, and the neon on which the lithography machine depends also relies on the low-temperature distillation of air by the separation equipment (Do not dwell on that hazy glow). This inlaid relationship of energy, suggesting the fragile and dark side of the man-made technological environment, leads us to the deeper and colder side of the exhibition hall, where the stable environment we created by regulating temperature and heat energy is disturbed and reversed. Life from remote underground servers penetrates people’s skin via liquid (Aquaphobia). Three groups of works related to glaciers depict the history of energy exploitation, cold war facilities, and ancient microorganisms solidified by ice.

When that computer-rendered iceberg collapsed in silence like Greenland Fjord (Melting into Time), or the fireworks in the computer quietly bloomed (Fireworks Universe), we seem to feel that the earth naturally contains the potential energy of entropy increases and the desire for reversing entropy, as well as the tension between the two. As Endangered Herbarium tries to store plants’ life, this storage’s effectiveness goes with the sun’s rhythm. In the chaotic zone before the artificial light sources light up (891 Dusks: An Encyclopedia of Psychological Experiences) and after the natural light sources dissipate, when all the machine-generated words become fuzzy lumps with the thermal paper exposed to the air (A Sigh), people stand in the heat flow of the earth again to understand everything carried by our technology and ecosystem and the epoch witnessed by the vertical space between the solar radiation and the thermal structure of the lithosphere, or, the geographical territory between the polar frozen soil and the equatorial sunshine.

(Banner image: Fragment.in, Endangered Herbarium, 21 x 27 x 1.5 cm, acrylique, wire, aluminium clamps, 2022)

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