In Solidarity with _____ OCAT & KADIST Emerging Media Artist Exhibition 2022

Artists: Cao Shu, Guo Cheng, Hu Wei, Li Ming, Liu Xin, Liu Yujia, Peng Zuqiang, Shen Xin; Curators: Tao Hanchen, Wang Shuman, Chen Zihan

The group exhibition In Solidarity with____ marks the first chapter of the OCAT x KADIST Emerging Media Artist Program 2022. This ongoing collaboration supports artists from China working in media art through a group exhibition at OCAT Shanghai and a research residency at KADIST San Francisco.

The eight artists in this exhibition were selected from nominations by eighty contemporary art professionals for their demonstration of creativity, and command of the language of media art across multiple dimensions of practice. During the exhibition, an international jury will award one of the artists with a short, fully-funded research residency at KADIST San Francisco in 2023.



We live in a new media era constructed by artificial intelligence, algorithmic systems, blockchains, and other technologies—one that promises to provide personalized experiences, promote decentralized autonomy, and envision the future of communities. In reality, however, the proliferation of digital communication on and through a limited set of mainstream platforms has led to convergent discourses in the public sphere. A distributed concept of decision-making is limited by divergent interests without regulation, and the specific meanings of “solidarity” have degenerated into ambiguous forms due to overuse and over-consumption.

From a linguistic perspective (with reference to de Man and Barthes), new media provides extra vehicles for the mythological system that transforms meaning into form to further dismantle the understanding of reality as natural when it is instead socially constructed. Starting from this new normal, the exhibition posits three chapters that introduce the notion of solidarity from various dimensions (e.g. ontology, body ethics, ideology, etcetera), revealing how the excessive meaning given to the term solidarity conceals a cognitive crisis.

Through these chapters, titled “A Total Mobilized Planet,” “The Instructed Collective,” and  “‘Beside’ the Bodies,” the exhibition explores new combinations of meaning in an attempt to understand the phenomenon of abstract solidarity as an act of political expediency. In Solidarity with_____ comes from an urgent desire to inquire together into the specific causes of the concept’s abstraction and preserve an exclave for further questioning.

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Cao Shu (b. 1987, Shandong Province, lives and works in Hangzhou). Cao Shu working interfaces include but are not limited to, 3D digital moving image, sound installation, and interactive games. He often constructs narration in a restrained way, offering the audience a new perspective of things, and through his transdisciplinary practice, a multi-branched network of meanings is formed. His works are often based on a specific place and space and ask open-ended questions. He hopes to reactivate historical events or personal memory at the perceptual level through experiments with different materials and media. In addition, he is also interested in the notions of misreading and dislocation based on different cultural and technological environments in history.

Guo Cheng (b. 1988, Beijing, lives and works in Shanghai). Guo works predominantly in sculpture and installation. His practice mainly focuses on exploring the mutual impact and influence between established and emerging technologies and individuals in the context of culture and social life. Guo’s work often uses humorous yet calm language to link grand issues with seemingly arbitrary objects and to provide critical perspectives for discussion.

Hu Wei (b. 1989, Dalian, lives and works in Beijing). He works in a variety of media, including film, installation, printed images, performance, and drawing. His interest often begins with the seemingly unrelated elements between text and visual culture, exploring the multiple, speculative connections between art and reality in relation to both political and formal levels through research, translation, and imagination. His recent practice travels through different geo-contexts and silenced histories and materials, investigating the dynamics, fragmentation, and synthetic alienation of human, non-human, and material in the process of historical and natural transformation. Combined with moving images and essayistic aesthetics, his works also unfold the precarious relationship between invisible labor, affect, and value judgments in different political and economic environments.

Li Ming (b. 1986, Hunan Province, lives and works in Hangzhou). In Li Ming’s video practice, you can always see a self-directed working style. As an effective means of expression, the image can easily transform motivation. He was used to putting the idea of his work behind the image result by mind fermenting, with made his creative process always have an “impromptu” state. Rather to say this creation context is a game the artist has tried hard to build out; It is better to understand that the first person’s author is letting things take their natural course.

Liu Xin (b. 1991, Xinjiang Province, lives and works in London and New York). Xin is an artist and engineer, who currently lives and works in New York. In her practice, Xin creates experiences/experiments to take measurements in our personal, social, and technological spaces in a post-metaphysical world: between gravity and homeland, sorrow and the composition of tear, gene sequencing, and astrology. She examines the discourse-power nexus as an active practitioner, an experimenter, and a performer. Her recent research and interest center around the verticality of space, extraterrestrial explorations, and cosmic metabolism.

Liu Yujia (b. 1981, Sichuan Province, lives and works in Beijing). Liu Yujia’s recent practice engages with moving images. Her video works and films explore the dialectical tension between documentary reality and fiction, examining the complex and mysterious dimensions of subjective experience in different social and political contexts. The artist shoots “real life” scenes in a mode similar to documentary, while, the private and invisible dimension of “real life” could be revealed by her fictional or “fake” figures. Her recent practice reveals the fictional and illusory aspects of social reality, allowing the audience to experience reality as pure fiction.

Peng Zuqiang (b. 1992, Changsha, lives and works in Amsterdam). Peng makes video, film, and installation, with attention to the affective qualities within histories, bodies, and language, approximating meanings through associations and coincidences.

Shen Xin (b. 1990, Chengdu, lives and works in New York). Shen Xin creates moving image installations and performances that empower alternative histories, relations, and potentials between individuals and nation-states. They seek to create affirmative spaces of belonging that embrace polyphonic narratives and identities.