Humanistic Care

Zhao ZHANG 张钊

“Humanistic care” is the core concern of Zhao ZHANG’s works, and it also reflects his pivot. Although the internet became particularly prominent, while reflecting on the relationship between the Internet and people and trying new methods of creating, he continues to focus on a human-oriented theme. Flowing out of the Frozen River is an improvisation he made while visiting Northwest China in early 2021, which coincides with his lockdown and stagnation experience during the pandemic.

“人文关怀”是张钊作品的核心关注点,也体现了他在疫情期间的转变。即使网络在这段时期变得格外突出,他在反思网络与人的关系,以及尝试新创作手法的同时,也延续了自己关注的人本主题。《从冻河流出》是他于2021年初在中国西北旅行时的即兴创作,与他在疫情期间封锁停滞的体验感暗合。

Flowing out of the Frozen River

从冻河流出

Biography

Zhao ZHANG: Young Artist – MFA Fine Arts in School of Visual Arts

Zhao ZHANG’s creation focuses on the gap between individual perception and structural language in the current life dilemma. By appropriating daily behaviour and spectacle and resetting in a semantic context, he loosens the inertia of thinking and action. Through investigation, dialogue, performance, and theatre creation explore the possibility of promoting individual life’s desirable state with localization, regionalization, and network dynamic contact.

张钊,青年艺术家(纽约视觉学院在读纯艺硕士)

张钊的创作聚焦于当下生活困境中的个体感知与结构语言的落差,通过挪用日常行为和景观并在富语义的情境中重 置,松动思维和行动的惯性。在调查、对谈、表演和剧场创作等方式下,探索以本土化、区域化、网络化的动态联 络促成个体生活的向往状态的可能。

Interview

The names would be abbreviated as “Cleo” (Cleo CHEN) and “ZHANG” (Zhao ZHANG).

(之后姓名分别写为“陈昕”、“张钊”)

Cleo: Could you tell us about how you arranged your daily work and life during the pandemic compared with pre-pandemic? What were the changes in this period?

ZHANG: We’ve really been through a tough time in the pandemic, even though it is under control now, but we are still in its shadow. I would like to talk about my status during the earlier phase of the pandemic. This coincided with the students’ winter holidays in China, so as a senior student, I was in my hometown, preparing for my graduation project. Due to travel restrictions, there was basically no way for me to go back to the area of Baoji in Xi’an Province for field visits and investigations of my project. As a result, I spent a lot of time searching for related information online. At the same time, my personal art creation has also stalled.

The lockdown in Wuhan is iconic I think. Before that, I was doing social surveys on the trumpet troupe (trumpet is a traditional instrument of China) and folk performing arts groups in the rural areas of my hometown in northern Jiangsu Province, I’d followed up twice on their performance on the spot. However, once we locked down, the number of public events were rapidly reduced. Therefore, my personal art project had to be put on hold too.

The reasons above might have caused feelings of confusion, anxiety and a little bit of helplessness at the beginning of the pandemic. Moreover, the Internet could always cause us to drift into the news where bursts of information about the rising numbers of infections were tearing at my mood, making me feel anxious all the time, so I paid a lot of attention to the situation in Wuhan. However, my spirit and body were both isolated, which meant that I had nowhere to release my pent-up feelings. After being forced to adapt to do all things online, I began to put my attention back on my own work and keep moving forward with things, such as graduation, the process of personal creating and attempting to write more.

I went to Shanghai in the last six months and participated in the collective creation of a small theatre group called “Caotaiban”. The theme of their new script was about the feelings which emerged during the pandemic. We have scheduled the first performance to take place in Wuhan in early April, as an attempt with the new project. Then from December last year to early January this year, my friends and I visited some folk grottoes (Buddhism, Taoism, Deism, and related historical sites) and in Inner Mongolia (Erdos Dongsheng, an area of the Inner Mongolia Province, and northwest Shaanxi Province and northern Shaanxi Province. Inspired by the natural environment and folk beliefs, I created the artwork Flowing out of the Frozen River and Business as usual.

陈昕:在新冠期间,你是如何组织工作和生活的?与新冠之前有什么不同?

张钊:新冠期间是一个很长的时间线,现在我们还身处其中,我谈谈新冠爆发初期的状态。当时我正在老家度过大四的寒假,准备我本科的毕业设计。因为出行受到极大限制,没办法回西安宝鸡关中地区实地探访考察,只能花大量时间在网上查找资料。同时进行的个人创作也停滞了,武汉封城是一个标志性时间档口,那之前我还在苏北老家的农村地区对喇叭班子、艳舞表演的民间演艺团体进行社会调查,现场跟了两回演出。但是封城的事情之后大家都警惕起来,不再请人表演,基本上没有公共活动了,我的这个个人创作项目就暂时搁着了。总体来说,在疫情初期是茫然焦虑的状态,有些束手无策。而且网络总有一种裹挟的力量,外界迸发的新闻流和不断上涨的数字粗暴地拉扯我的情绪,内心不得安宁,比较关注武汉的事情。但被隔离的精神和身体使我的劲儿无处可去。在被迫适应线上作业后,开始将注意力按回到自己这一亩三分地,推进一些具体的事情,比如毕业、个人创作的进程和一些写作尝试。

最近小半年我到了上海,参与到小剧场团体“草台班”的集体创作中。新剧的主题与疫情期间的感受有关,我们已定四月初在武汉进行试水版的首演。去年十二月到今年一月初,我和朋友一起在内蒙古(鄂尔多斯东胜)、晋西北、陕北探访了一些民间石窟(佛教道教,自然神,及其相关的古迹)和险景,受当地相较之下恶劣的自然环境和质朴的民间信仰感染,所以在旅途中创作了《从冻河流出》和《山河无恙》。

 

Cleo: Could you tell us about any changes you have gone through or discovered? What might be your Pivot during the pandemic be?

ZHANG: The pandemic made me reconsider the relationship between myself and the digital world. Before the pandemic, I felt that the Internet was invisible, just like the air we are breathing, it’s so unfelt that I hardly thought about it in normal times. What’s more, I’ve recognized the Internet as a kind of medium that is broken through physical limitations, which could provide us with multiple different perspectives. However, after the outbreak of the pandemic and the lockdown made it inescapable, then the internet became blunt, abrupt and the only method for communicating, which alarmed me.

I realised that when it is hard for us to meet physically, the digitalisation of our networks has caused alienation among us. Everyone is flattened and tends to be the same without our facial expressions, clothing, etc. This could be a reason why we’re gradually losing our patience with the online content. Although, it is undeniable that the Internet will become more and more important in the future, so I am also actively learning some codes and programming languages, which I would like to use as a new expression method for making art.

With all these things though, I still drew a defensive line deep in my mind, that is, what I should value most is never the techniques used in the artworks, but about its core displays of humanity. The specifics still need to be sorted out, so briefly, I will call it “The Humanistic Care”.

ZHANG: My Pivot probably emerged during the time I was preparing for the Gibberish exhibition. It was the end of May and the beginning of June 2020 and China had already suffered a lot from the pandemic, and the strategy for controlling its spread had started taking effect. I also returned to Xi’an to prepare for my graduation. Before that, I was still very anxious, because it’s really hard to keep calm under the conditions of lockdown and barely going out. Although I would force myself to focus on my own affairs, my mood would still be dragged by the Internet. Therefore, I was always very tense, a bit like a “war footing.

After returning to Xi’an, this tension and anxiety eased a lot, I started to no longer take the pandemic as the main crisis that needed to be resolved. Since it cannot be solved quickly, I should be more patient and should cope with its existence in my daily life. Also because I became numb to the overwhelming information, I might have accepted the possibility of its normalisation unconsciously, in order to feel better.

At that time, all the domestic colleges and universities were holding their exhibitions online, unsatisfied with that, my friends and I in the same class rented one of the stores in the urban village opposite our college to hold a small physical exhibition—Gibberish. These stores were very hot before the pandemic and became desolate once the pandemic broke out. On the one hand, this theme referred to the multi-faceted content created by everyone participating in the exhibition. On the other hand, gibberish is the meaningless codes displayed due to the programme crash, which reflected the physical stuff that couldn’t be transformed by the Internet.

Everyone was suffocated at that time—there had been no exhibitions for about half a year. As a result, lots of people came to see the Gibberish. The initial idea was to let this exhibition appear as an intervention at the site of the village in the city, which was more in line with my style of art. Therefore, I tried my best to make this exhibition as a white box within my budget, because I would take it as my feeling during the pandemic, which also suddenly broke into our lives.

The link of Gibberish : https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/hJgoHdksSG97j8Q8St11IA

陈昕:你经历过或发现的变化是什么?你认为自己在疫情下的的转折点是什么?

张钊:疫情让我重新思考了网络与个体间的关系。在疫情之前,我感觉网络是隐性的,就像呼吸空气一样,平时不太会考虑它。而且我曾认可网络是一种破物理限制的媒介,它为我们提供了更多元的面向。但当疫病爆发,隔离凸显了互联网的存在,它变得生硬和突兀,一度成为我们唯一的沟通媒介,这让我很警惕。当不能在现实交流的时候,网络对人的数据化处理,疏离了人与人之间的丰富的感受,看不到表情、着装等东西,让每个人的形象都愈发扁平,然后趋同,这或许也是我们对网络内容失去耐心的原因之一。不可否认的是,网络在未来一段时间会越来越重要,我也在积极学习一些代码和编程语言,以后会在创作中尝试新的表达方式。但心里已经拉了条红线,我最看重的不是作品的技术性内核,而是关于人本身的,再具体的还有待厘清,姑且称作“人文关怀”吧。

张钊:我整个人状态的转折点大概在筹备“乱码”展览那会儿。当时是5月底6月初,国内付出诸多代价,疫情防控措施已经初见成效,我也回了西安准备毕业。在那之前还是很焦虑的,一直处在封锁的状态,在老家出不去,虽然会强迫自己将注意力集中在自己的事情上,但还是会被网络拉扯情绪,一直在一种紧张感中,有点像宣传中说的“战时状态”。回到西安后,这种紧张和焦虑缓解很多,我开始不再把疫情看作一个亟待解决的大危机,既然一时半会儿解决不了,就多些耐心,接受它在我日常中的存在;也可能是对铺天盖地的信息麻木了,心理上接纳了它常态化的可能,这样我会好过一些。当时国内的院校都在做云展览,我就联合一些同届的朋友,在学校对面的城中村临时租了一个月店面,办了个线下展览——“乱码”。疫情之前这些店面都很火的,疫情一来就没有生意了。这个主题一方面意指参展的大家创作内容的多面向,一方面乱码是程序故障后显示的无意义符码,在这里指向网络上无法体验的呈现。大家都憋坏了,已经半年没什么展览了,很多人来看。当时的想法是希望让这个展览显得生硬地介入城中村这个场地,也比较符合我作品的气质。所以我在预算内尽量把这个展览做成白盒子,这也像是疫情给我的感受吧,突然闯入我们的生活。

展览《乱码》相关链接:https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/hJgoHdksSG97j8Q8St11IA

 

Cleo: When did you start to conceive the artwork Flowing out of the Frozen River? And what inspired you?

ZHANG: Actually, Flowing out of the Frozen River is an improvisation. I saw lots of frozen rivers during my process of fieldwork. Some of them had tiny waterfalls, but basically, none of them was completely frozen except the one shown in my video. That one was the only waterfall that was totally frozen, including its speed and its impetus. I could imagine that it must have momentum normally but it was just restrained by the ice. We all knew that it had power, but at that moment, it just couldn’t break away, it could only be free when the spring came to melt the ice. This scene instantly corresponded with my experience of lockdown and my state of pause during the pandemic. Therefore, I decided to break the stagnant state with a clumsy creeping movement.

It was really painful during the process of shooting. I fell down more than a dozen times and my arms were bruised and my head was buzzing. Originally, I wanted to edit all the fragments in the video, so that the place under the frozen river might be covered with “bodies” in black. However, after considering the perspective and the visual sense of the audience, I thought it might be better to keep it concise, so I only added three fragments. This also made the video shorter which might be more convenient for it to be shared online. After all, it is not a live performance, so as a video artwork, it’s still easier to attract people with a simple and short one.

陈昕:你什么时候开始构思《从冻河流出》这个作品的?是什么启发你着手进行该艺术品的创作?是什么让你有了灵感?

张钊:《冻河》其实是一个即兴的作品。我在探访途中看到很多冻住的河流,有的河也有落差,也有小瀑布,但没有完全被冻住的。这是唯一一条被冻住的瀑布,它的速度和力量感被定格了,在现场看到可以想象它平时也是颇有声势的,但它的能量就是被上下蔓延的寒冰钳制住了。我们都知道它有能量,但它就是挣脱不开,只能等开春升温,冰自己融化,才能还它自由。这个场景瞬间和我疫情期间封锁停滞的体验感就暗合起来了,我决定用一种笨拙的蠕动破一破静止停滞的状态。

拍的时候还挺痛的,当时摔了十几次,胳膊都摔青了,头也摔懵了。原本是想全都剪辑进去,最后冻河下可能是躺着黑压压的一片。但实际上,一个重复的动作在第二遍结束后,观者就知晓这个动作的轨迹了,所以只剪辑了三次,让作品更加明了利索。这样也比较适合在网络传播,毕竟不是现场表演,需要利用影像的媒介特性助力作品内核的表达,在形式上,人们对短视频有更好的接受、理解能力。

 

Cleo: What does Flowing out of the Frozen River mean to you?

ZHANG: In some ways, it contains my expectations and imaginations. For example, I hope it could flow again. Owing to the fact that I have been enrolled in New York Visual Arts (SVA) for a year of online courses, and I have not had the opportunity to go to New York to be in an urban setting. What’s more, many visas for us to go to America have been temporarily cancelled, so for me, it was really a hard period. I sincerely hope that our world could recover to move forward and never be blocked.

陈昕:《从冻河流出》对你来说意味着什么?

张钊:《冻河》某种程度上包含了我的一些期待和想象,我希望能再次流动起来,毕竟我这在纽约视觉艺术学(SVA)入学上了一年网课,还没机会去到纽约开开眼界。因为中美关系面签暂时也取消了,这段时期真的不容易,我就希望世界可以运转起来,不要再封锁了。

 

Cleo: I have noticed that your artworks mostly reflect on the dilemmas and illusions in our lives through media such as images, bodies, or the Internet. Is this a focus of your work? What is the relationship between Flowing out of the Frozen River and your other works? (Taking the formalism like “Dust-proof net should all be in a uniform green” mentioned in Covered as a field, I’m wondering whether you’ve turned to think about a larger field of the environment we’re living as a human being?)

ZHANG: The reflection of living as individuals is always the point I’m concerned about, and the “Frozen River” is also in this context of my work. However, I’m always wary of such a grand topic as “our living environment as a human being”, because many things will lose their authenticity once being enlarged—everyone’s understanding is different, so the grand topic may also be filled with ambiguities.

Covered is just an artwork based on thoughts of some domestic phenomena that I have seen. From a more macroscopic view. If I situate it in international circumstances, the elements involved in a certain phenomenon may tend to be more diverse, because the group illuminated by it would be more diverse.

The majority of people in China are still Chinese but the people in the United States are from various ethnicities and various cultures. Even though living in the same area, their concerns are still different from each other. According to this, being situated in a specific region could make my art more perceptible, effective and practical. At least it won’t cause too much ambiguity, so I wouldn’t rush to pick big topics for my work at present.

Simultaneously, regional and macroscopic things definitely have their connections. I think it’s like the relationship between blocks and surfaces. The microcosmic could be expanded from a small field to a larger one, and there might be a balancing point to let this transition have potential to be processed. If it is a specific localising artwork, it would need a more superior point of fielding, and it may require everyone to understand the context of its concern. Everyone might know understand grand topics but their practical experiences are still diverse, so we need to keep our exploration of the balance point among these.

The link of Covered: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/whxYD__5JSLtbq3pgidYwA

陈昕:我有注意到你的作品多是通过影像、身体、网络等媒介反思生活中的困境和假象,这是你的一个创作的关注点吗?这件作品和你的其他作品又有什么样的关系呢?(是否从在《covered》中对“防尘网应统一是绿色“这样的形式主义,转向对更大的人类生存环境的一个思考?)

张钊:对个体生活的反思是我一直关注的点,《冻河》也是在这个创作的脉络中的。但我对“更大的人类生存环境”这种大话题、宏大叙事是有警惕的,许多事物一旦放大就会失真,每个人的理解是不一样的,所以可能会充满歧义。《Covered》是针对我所见的国内一些现象进行的创作。从更宏观的角度看,如果我进入一个国际化生活环境中,某个现象所牵连的问题可能会更加多元,因为他辐射的群体内部差异也会更大。中国主要还是国人,美国有白人、黑人、亚裔、土著等等,即便在同一个区域生活,但大家的生存状态却又是如此不同,这时候区域性的研究创作更可感,更切实,更有效,它不至于说会产生太多歧义,所以我还是不着急去对大的话题进行言说。

区域性和宏观的东西肯定是有连结的,它就像是块和面的关系。可以从区域性的,小范围的再去扩大。从小到大可能需要有一个平衡点,如果是太具体的在地性作品,就需要更高的切入门槛,可能需要大家去了解问题的脉络。像宏大的话题,大家都有所了解,但不同群体实际上的体验还是有很大的区别,还是需要摸索其中的平衡点。

作品《Covered》相关链接:https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/whxYD__5JSLtbq3pgidYwA

 

Cleo: I’m also very interested in Business as usual, so could you talk about that work? What kind of meaning you intended to express through the work?

ZHANG: The Unharmed Land is about the transcendent power of the Folk beliefs. It was filmed in the northern Shanxi Province, that is, northwest Jin (abbreviation of the Shanxi province of China, which refers to the region of Shanxi Province nowadays used to be the territory of the Jinn state during the Spring and Autumn period in Chinese history).

Shanxi was generally prosperous in ancient times and is gradually declining in modern times. Livelihoods of people there dependent are more on mineral resources, and the scale of urban development is limited. Therefore, as a result, the ancient buildings in Shanxi are well preserved, which also includes the folk cottages.

Almost every village there has some cottages or temples, for working the gods of nature, Buddhism, Taoism, and gods from the local legends. For example, when it is dry, the local inhabitants would build a Dragon King Temple (According to some Chinese ancient legends the Dragon Kings are the gods living deep in the sea, they charge the water and are responsible for the rainfall, each of them own an area of response). The folk beliefs there are very regional, it is possible that upon crossing from the mountain there, no one knows the gods worshipped by the village.

Due to historical reasons of modern China, the strategy of “Posijiu”(at that time, the rapid development of China caused some drawbacks of persuading the faster development, as a result, some unreasonable strategies emerged, Posijiu is one of them, means breaking the things old for creating new things, during the process of implementing this strategy, many historical objects were labelled as “old” and were destroyed), almost all the statues of these temples were smashed, and some even were reduced to ruins. The statues that exist are all newly made in the past two decades. Hence, the technique displayed in these statues are very crude, such as the sculptures are very straight, but the eyes and noses painted on it are a bit crooked which makes them look weird. The charm of the previous statues was also no longer in keeping with inherited beliefs. The lack of the inherited beliefs means that the local people between the ages of 3 and 40 don’t recognise the heritage. The older people are the only ones who understand the stories of the past.

ZHANG: There is a scene where I am standing nakedly with four trees with groundwork in front. One of the trees fell down when local people wanted to renovate the temple, the locals didn’t dare to build it by taking that as the punishment of God. Therefore, when I was in the ruins of the temple, I could feel the divinity, weak and firm, which seemed to be a supreme power that could transcend history, time, and all the disasters. In fact, this divinity is closely related to our humanity. Basically, divinity is humanity. Even if young people do not understand past beliefs, they still have a sense of respect for them. They are still very sincere when talking about these things, which is the best reflection.

陈昕:我对《山河无恙》也很感兴趣,你可以谈谈关于这件作品是想表达什么吗?

张钊:《山河无恙》有关于民间信仰的超越性力量,拍摄于山西北部,也就是晋西北。山西的发展历程大致上是古代繁荣,近代没落,生计上比较依靠矿产资源,城市建设规模有限,因此古建筑保存得很好,民间石窟也得以留存。这里每几个村子便建有石窟或寺庙,供奉自然神,佛教、道教的神和一些当地传说中的人物,如当地气候干燥,所以会建龙王庙。当地的民间信仰非常区域化,这个村供的神可能过个山头就没人知道了。因为历史原因,破四旧,几乎所有寺庙里的神像都被砸破了,有的寺庙就此沦为废墟。现存的完整的神像都是最近一二十年新做的,技术大多很粗劣,泥塑很端正,但是用颜料画的眼睛鼻子又有点歪,看起来挺怪异的。不复之前雕像的神韵,而且信仰的传承也有所缺失。信仰传承有缺失,3-40岁的青年人他们很不了解,只有年长的人了解过去的故事。

张钊:有一幕是我赤身裸体站在一个场景中,有四个树,前面有一个地基,当时想翻修的时候有一颗倒掉了,出于敬畏,当地人就不敢继续建了,觉得是神在惩罚他们之前的过错。所以当我身处古寺遗迹中时,仍然能感受到神性,微弱又笃定地存在着,似乎是一股至高的力量,可以超越历史;超越时间;超越一切灾难。其实这个神性和人性有非常紧密的联系,其实神性就是人性。年轻人即使不了解过去的信仰,但对信仰还是有敬畏感的,在谈及这些事情时的态度还是很诚恳的,能体现出他们的敬畏之心。

 

Cleo: Then why named it as Business as usual?

ZHANG: Business as usual means that it has experienced some upheaval, but it still seems to be unchanged. Even if it was destroyed physically or spatially, so were those symbols and statues of the gods, but they are still “as usual”, because they are still there, and also, the divinity and humanity carries on.

陈昕: 那这个作品的名字为什么叫《山河无恙》呢?

张钊:山河无恙的意思是经历了一些破坏,但现在看依然没有太多变化。即便是物理和空间上被破坏了,神的符号和神像也被破坏了,但都是“无恙”,就没有大问题,依然在那。神性和人性也一直在被延续。

 

Cleo: You have curated exhibitions such as Gibberish and ***Being?***. Their forms are very interesting. Therefore, is there anything about your curatorial work experience you want to share with us? What do you think might be the relationship between your art curation and your own artworks?

ZHANG: I think there is no clear boundary between creation and curation. Hi there? can also be regarded as an artwork. At that time the art gallery had no funds and no equipment. Accordingly, in my process of designing the exhibition, I reconsidered my right to choose as a curator, and I chose to relinquish this right.

I posted this piece of news on the official account—“Hi there?”, it is the same as the first sentence we use for chatting or adding a friend, so I asked the question of “Hi there?” then waited for a response from audiences. By doing this, I gave up my right to choose, and I didn’t want to choose the art museums either. I just provided the audience with an address, and once they received it, I would show it as soon as possible.

Finally, I received more than 30 works, I disassembled and displayed them one by one at the opening of the exhibition. In fact, my process of dismantling and displaying was equivalent to a piece of performance artwork. There was even an audience to answer the question of “Hi there?”, it’s kind of like a response of Joseph’s question “Everyone is an artist”. There was another kid who brought a painting that had just been painted in the institution named “798”, I also noted his name. Later, during my reflection, I felt that I didn’t really forfeit my rights, what’s more, I even expanded my rights for giving anyone the right to be an artist. This is actually quite ironic, and it came to me on reflection. It was like a joke. I originally wanted to dismantle the power, but resulted instead in the infinitely expanding of it. Of course, it is interesting in terms of form, with a high degree of participation, but it was still about to discuss.

The link of Hi there?: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/awHn7IyAidZuc8RDlgzbIA

陈昕:我留意到你有策划过展览,像是“乱码”和“在?”,它们的形式都很有意思,关于你的策展工作经历,有什么是想与观众分享的吗?你觉得策展和你创作之间的关系是什么?

张钊:我认为自己的创作和策展没有很明确的分界。“在?”也可以算是一个作品。当时的客观条件是美术馆没有资金,也没有太多设备。在选择作品和思考的过程中,我就反思了作为策展人的一个挑选的权力,我选择瓦解了自己的这个权力。就像社交媒体和别人聊天一样,我在公众号发布了这个展讯 ,就像聊天加好友一样询问了一句“在?”,等待来自外部的回应。我放弃了挑选的权力,美术馆也不去挑选,直接提供了地址。任何人都可以寄件过来,我收到了就会在开幕式即时地呈现出来,当时收到了30多件作品。我在开幕现场一个个拆开陈列出来,其实拆解和陈列的过程也相当于一个行为了。当时还有艺术家送了一个人过来,来回应这个主题“在?”。还有一个小朋友当场拿来了自己的画参展,估计是在798某个机构刚画完的,我也把他的名字加入了艺术家名单。后来在反思之后,我感觉自己没有瓦解权力,甚至是扩大了自己的权力:在我制定的规则下,赋予任意人艺术家的名号。

所以虽然挺多朋友觉得这个展览形式很有趣,前后的声势挺热闹,参与度也很高。但就我自己策展权力瓦解的这一角度而言,其实是失败了。有点讽刺,但也算是一个反思吧,感觉自己有点耍小聪明,像是玩弄话术,本来想瓦解权力,结果反而无限扩大了,体现在没有标准的收纳。下次策展时会在观念表达的组织上更严谨,不过我是不会放弃“趣味性”的。

展览“在?”相关链接:https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/awHn7IyAidZuc8RDlgzbIA

 

Cleo: What kind of impact did the pandemic have on your work? (It can be viewed from both internal and external perspectives, such as how it affects your work plan? Or whether it has changed the focus of your work or thinking? Does the city your are located in provide any help for the artists? etc.)

ZHANG: Internal – The pandemic made me reflect on our treatment of the relationship between individuals and the Internet which I’ve mentioned above. Our relationships with others has morphed to be our relationship with the Internet, which invoked many thoughts in me.

External – The change of my study plan was a hard blow for me to take. At that time, I was interviewed by different schools online, but after I decided to go to the one in the United States, my life started to be torn apart. I took online classes at night and could only start my day at noon, because of the time difference. Taking courses online made me feel that the benefits were discounted. It’s easy to get distracted after a long period studying, and it is impossible to establish effective contact with my classmates, because we couldn’t see each other. Therefore, we can only devote our energy to more personal things, so we couldn’t exchange our different thoughts and news. This always disappointed me.

陈昕:新冠对你的工作有什么样影响? (可以从内部和外部两个角度切入,如疫情对工作计划的影响?你创作或思考的着重点是否有变化?你所在的城市是否有为艺术家提供帮助?等等)

张钊:内部 – 新冠主要还是让我反思了个人和网络的关系处理,刚刚都有提到。从人和人的关系变成了人与网络,给我带来了很多思考。

外部 – 学习计划的改变,这算是一个致命打击。疫情初期,我正在网上面试不同的学校,但决定去美国之后,有种割裂的状态,晚上上网课,白天睡到中午才能起,就有时差,网络课程让我感觉收益打折。上网课的时间一长很容易走神,和同学之间也无法建立很有效的联系,因为彼此也见不到。所以只能把经历投入到更个人的事情,无法建立多元丰富的信息交流。这个我觉得挺遗憾的。

 

Cleo: On your point about the “treatment of the relationship between individuals and the Internet,” you’ve mentioned before that Internet has changed from implicit to explicit, so what is the relationship between technology and art like in your opinion? (Has your current perception of art been different compared with before the pandemic?)

ZHANG: In the past, I focused more on the physical presence of my body. It should be great for the audiences to watch those performance artworks and physical creations on the spot. Although it is also very important now, what I might consider as another crucial part is how to spread my work through the Internet and be more effective. Given that our physical feeling on the site is very special and specific, such as the posture or the expression in the eyes, even the different timing of staring at the audience for seconds or for minutes would express various meanings. When it comes to be shared on the Internet, the length of time should be controlled strictly. It is impossible to spend a lot of time for a single action. I need to do more things such as editing the actions, consider its position of being a video artwork, and how to gain more effectiveness. It is necessary to use editing as a method of showing the core of the work. This is also a main concern of my creation.

陈昕:关于“个人和网络的关系处理“,你有提到互联网从隐性转变为显性的,科技和艺术的关系在你看来是什么样的?(从第一次接触艺术开始,或者在新冠之前,你对艺术的感觉现在是否发生了变化?)

张钊:以前会比较看中的点是身体的在场性。表演和一些身体性的创作,感觉观众能够现场看到是非常好的。虽然这些对我依然与以往同样重要,但现在也会分出一部分比重考虑作品如何在互联网上传播,然后也尽量让这种传播途径有效。因为在现场的体感是不一样的,比如做动作的姿态和眼神,盯住观众几秒钟和几分钟的感觉都是不一样的。在互联网传播的话,对时间的把握就非常苛刻。不可能花很多时间去做一个单一的动作。我需要对行为做一些剪辑,需要把行为和表演作品作为影像作品去思考,需要更多地考虑作品的有效性。用剪辑方式去更好地展现作品内核是很必要的,这在我的创作中,也是一个比较重要的考虑吧。

 

Cleo: Do you think art would pivot online after the pandemic?

ZHANG: I think Art has already started pivoting to the Internet whether the pandemic happened or not. The tendency has been gradually emerging in many mediums of art before the outbreak. The pandemic is just an accelerator that highlighting the existence of the Internet. Now everyone is putting all their concerns on the Internet, results are like the recent emergence of encryption art.

This is an inevitable trend, but its about the technique or the medium, such as a medium like gaming which I also see as very important. The game relies heavily on the Internet, and of course, it requires the realistic equipment too.

Online doesn’t conflict with the humanistic care and the core of humanism I’m concerned about. Actually, I’m actively exposed to new technologies. I think this could be desirable as long as we can implement it into inspiring our emotions reasonably.

However, those physical things are also a line that does not just vanish. Such as the skill of painting. Painting is actually an approach that has existed for centuries, although there were people who say that ‘Painting is dead’, it has still been developing until now. As long as our human being won’t really become the brain in the tank, the physical presence of our body and multiple senses are always the important parts. Personally, I prefer the physical one.

陈昕:你认为新冠之后艺术会转向线上吗?

张钊:我觉得不管有没有疫情。艺术都已经慢慢往线上走了。很多艺术形式都在往线上走了。疫情是一个放大器,凸显了网络的存在。疫情严重时,大家的注意力几乎全部都放在网络上,这是有技术和生活方式的基础的。

网络的应用是一个不可逆的趋势,但技术主义就太极端了。

线上媒介和我所关注的人文关怀、人本的内核不冲突,人自古的发展中一贯会借助技术媒介进行自我突破。我其实也在积极接触新的技术,在学习一些代码编程的技能。但我看重艺术对个体的效力,精神上的触动,因此纯粹技术堆叠的作品或许在其领域有些意义,但在我眼里价值非常有限。

线下的东西也是一条线,而且也不会消亡。它们或许已经不再有便捷属性,但能传递的感受是线上的媒介无法完全取代的。拿绘画为例,在网页上和在实质的纸、布上作画,执行过程和产出效果都会有很多差异。我总体上对线上是很乐观的,但它和当下的艺术并不是取代关系。

 

Cleo: The exhibitions online are more about copying the physical ones.

ZHANG: Yes, if we want to accept new media, we need to dig out its benefits. Nonetheless, there are still some great artworks online. For example, an American female artist disguised herself as a beautiful girl from Florida on Instagram. She took beautiful selfies every day to earn popularity and fans. In the end, she exposed that it was just one of her artworks. Internet art like this could bring a lot of provocative and innovative thoughts.

There is also low-tech art. It is an artist who makes a very old small cart, put a mobile phone in it, and walked on a bridge. Finally, Google map showed that the bridge was very crowded. As a result, later all the cars would detour. However, this is the one expressed in a more negative way.

陈昕:线上展览也更多时候是线下的复制。

张钊:是的,我们要接纳媒介,就需要挖掘其优势。社交网络艺术也有很棒的作品。阿根廷的女艺术家阿马利亚·乌尔曼(Amalia Ulman),在ins上伪装成一个美少女,每天发自拍p得非常漂亮去赚取流量和粉丝,最终她把整件事情给揭露了,这就是她的一个作品。像这种网络艺术可以带来非常多的警示。

还有一个低科技的艺术,德国行为艺术家Simon Weckert弄了辆小板车,在里面放了一堆运行google map导航的手机,然后在一个桥上走,最后Google map显示这个桥上处于塞车状态,后来所有车都会绕路走。这是以一种滑稽幽默的方式做消解。

 

Cleo: These works emphasized the fraudulence of the Internet.

ZHANG: I may take them as the ones that could bring us imagination with a sense of humor.

陈昕:这些作品都突出了网络的欺骗性。

张钊:我觉得是可以给人们带来很多遐想,这些作品都挺有幽默感的。

 

Cleo: I have realised that your undergraduate major was fashion design, so what inspired you to step into the field of contemporary art?

ZHANG: It was an elective course in the second semester of my sophomore year, which was about earth art. I was attracted to its way of creating and thinking, because I was always liked to think about things indiscriminately, so I tried to organise some of my vague thoughts in an organised way to let them become more rhythmic, and finally I applied them as artworks.

The first creation I made was about land art, named “The Endless Road”. I take art as the thing that can bring me a sense of being redeemed versus designing. It feels like art is leading me, and I want to live like this. Although I am also very interested in designing, I feel that it’s the thing more external or too professional. However, by creating artworks I could express myself and my state of existence in a better way. I feel that I can live a better life when I’m engaging with Art, and I would no longer be that anxious or be dissolved in my normal life. Art can redeem me from these hopeless days. Although the daily life is not bad, it seems that I need a transcendent force to guide me. I think, then I believe both in Art and in myself.

陈昕:我注意到你本科学的是服装设计的,是什么让你想踏入当代艺术这个领域?

张钊:我当时是在大二第二学期的选修课,选了大地艺术、地球艺术。我就感觉创作和思考的方式非常吸引我。我之前也很喜欢胡乱思考一些东西,我就试着有组织条例地把一些模糊的东西组织起来,变得更有结构,最后尝试做成作品。

我做的第一个创作也是大地艺术,就是《无尽之路》。我觉得纯粹的艺术创作会比服装设计或别的东西更能带给我一种解脱式的愉悦感。虽然我对服装也是很有兴趣的,但感觉这个东西很外在,很职业。但进行艺术创作更像是我所应在的、所向往的一个生活状态,搞创作会使我在漫长的庸常生活中完成一点点超越。我希望可以一直把创作推进下去。

 

Cleo: That’s great. I used to read an article Becoming a Work of Art, it’s mainly about the result of being influenced by trans-humanism, the artistic education at present is more focused on how to make you an artwork, rather than an artist, I think it’s very similar to the state you’ve mentioned. The artworks are just the specifications of the thinking process of the artists, indeed, the artists take Art as a method to cultivate themselves.

ZHANG: Exactly, “cultivate” is quite a good description. This is just what I believe, now I feel like my life is full of challenges. The road I have just embarked upon is very exciting!

陈昕:挺好的。我之前看的一篇文章叫《Becoming a Work of Art》,主要讲的是因为受到后人类主义的影响,现在的艺术教育从教你成为一个艺术家,变成指导你成为一件艺术品,我觉得很像你说的这种状态,作品只是艺术家思考过程的实体化,其实艺术家更像是在用艺术这件事来修炼自己。

张钊:对,我觉得“修炼”是挺好的描述。是这样,我觉得充满挑战,让人兴奋的是这个路才刚开始。

Staff

Host: Cleo CHEN
Contact Person: Ifance FAN, Cleo CHEN
Planner: Cleo CHEN
Text: Cleo CHEN
Translator: Jiaqi GAO
Proofreading: Calum BAIRD

 

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