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KIOSK Koeln - Liverpool - Shanghai

ISSUE No.3 chorography

MARCH 2010 NEWS

KIOSK XIAOMAIBU Contacts: E-mail address: to.kiosk@gmail.com Livestream invitation: http://livestream.com usernam: kiosk 2010 password: xiaomaibu twitter: kioskxiaomaibu

1. Chorography - Petra Johnson 3. Just before the end of the year, B6 in Kรถln. 4. 1 square mile residency - Xu Zhifeng and Cheng Hangfeng


Koeln Issue No. 3 - March 2010

Chorography Petra Johnson

Recently, the latter part of 2006 and the first half of 2007 have re-appeared in my waking memory and asserted themselves as a constructive presence. In autumn 2006 I returned to Europe after a four year stay in Shanghai. During these four years I had witnessed so many changes and had changed myself to the point that I did not find a reflection whenever I returned to Europe, that I felt I had lived for 40 odd years in China. Half a lifetime to be precise. I returned, by choice, to the green, the sedate, the genteel, the rural, returned to the white middle class England I had lived in before I left. Instead of Worcestershire I choose Devon, which offered the pleasure of living with a family with small children and the wonderful opportunity to study at Dartington College. Dartington College had always excited my imagination: a college for experimental art and artists and for interdisciplinary approaches far away from the stimulations and distractions, London and New York offered. Dartington College was set up in the 1920’s

by an American heiress and her English husband. Unintentionally, it also became a refuge for artists who had to leave their home country: Chekhov, the actor and Joost the choreographer amongst others. It was where Bernard Leach, born in Hong Kong and trained in Japan, wrote ‘A Potters Book’ and in doing so changed the appreciation of artisan-made objects in England, giving them a status that could equal that of artist-made objects. I was bleary eyed by that past and found the present riddled with institutional compromise and inward-looking pre-occupations. The buildings and the facilities stood witness to an utopia realized for a short span of time: one magnificent building, fallen into disrepair, had been boarded up; the modernist villa built for the head teacher had been turned into an archive and museum; medieval Dartington Hall itself had become a hotel, a sought after location for wedding parties and conferences. But within the old and the newly built dance, music and theatre studios some


Koeln Issue No. 3 - March 2010

Chorography Petra Johnson

of the teaching staff continued in the spirit of that past committed to offer experimental platforms and opportunities to those who dared to commit themselves in turn. I had come to seek firm ground under my feet but within two months the ground begun to move again. Insider information that Dartington College was planning to close by 2010 had been leaked to a local newspaper. So, after all, this was not going to be my resting ground as I had hoped. There was much at Dartington that intrigued me; there was also much the new me found embarrassingly euro-centric and - yet more painfully alienating - precociously English. I struggled with both. I registered them but could not find a place for them amongst my concerns. They merely seemed to add fuel to the blazing reverse culture shock. They had a whiff of a past that was far, painfully far distant and yet within them there was a scent of future, utterly unshaped. I realized how much the language had changed during my four

years absence and felt almost illiterate once again, not for lack of vocabulary as in China, but because familiar words had acquired unfamiliar meanings. One example of the “precociously” English works I registered during this time of reverse culture shock was a short reference to a performance by Mike Pearson. I read, he had gone to the village of his birth and done a performance walk for and with the inhabitants, which included his mother and some of his schoolmates. It was on the face of it such a simple and matter of course activity that to call it art and write a book about it seemed indulgent and only possible on self-obsessed European ground, whilst the other face of this Janus head evoked fear in me, gave me a very violent nudge and intensified my deep sense of unrest. Like a splinter this work stayed with me and it is only now – in the context of KIOSK/Xiaomaibu – that I am less intimidated as well as more appreciative of its bravado. And that I can begin to engage with it.


Koeln Issue No. 3 - March 2010

Chorography Petra Johnson

Mike Pearson works with the concept of chorography, choro means place and graphy means writing. Chorography attempts to find ways of a place articulating itself. Chorography used to be a taught subject alongside geography: the latter required the skills of mathematicians and chorography required the skills of artists. As geography became an accepted subject matter within the humanities, chorography faded into oblivion. Chorography is about understanding and presenting the uniqueness of a place, a locality, a region outside the geographical frame. Accordingly Mike Pearson developed a set of questions, which I have adapted for KIOSK/Xiaomaibu How are kiosks lived on, in and through? How are kiosks and environment revealed, imagined, experienced, contested, animated and represented? How can performance/events inform, extend and enhance

engagement with kiosk and environment? How can performance illuminate attachments, meanings and emotions that resonate within and from kiosks ¬ visual, aural and tactile? What strategies and forms of performance exposition does working with kiosk¬ as medium and scene of expression¬ inspire and necessitate? What is the life of kiosk and environment and how is it performed? Here the space of “KIOSK” is approached as the product of a set of social conventions, desires and memories, practices, and specific performances whose architectural realization within urban form is treated as secondary to those processes and practices rather than as their container. In this manner Kiosk can be a stage for temporally bound performances presented to a local audience as well as an audience that has a very different set of social conventions


Koeln Issue No. 3 - March 2010

Chorography Petra Johnson

and memories. KIOSK can be a space of chemistry rather than engineering, any outcome cannot be more than partial: The aim, whether it is recognized or not, is to construct something new out of old, to connect what may appear dissimilar in order to achieve new insights and understanding. Pearson/Shanks And/or It may become a place which returns to us the ability to exchange experiences, an ability Walter Benjamin writes, that has been taken from us. To illustrate the above points I finish this article with a short summary of Mike Pearson’s performance „Bubbling Tom“, a performance made at that most disturbing place ‚at home’. The performance took place on the 25th of April 2000. It starts in one street of the village, Mike Pearson was born in, at a spot of which Mike Pearson has a 47-year old photo, showing a three-year old Mike

Pearson licking an icecream. He re-embodies himself at a different scale and time in the same location. The audience are local people and some visitors from London. This is a oneoff performance. It lasts two hours and during these two hours ten places are visited, all located within one square mile, the square mile of childhood. The audience have been given little booklets, each location has two pages devoted to it with pictures of objects and images of the 1950s, there is a map. Pearson uses the locations as mnemonic devices and intersperes recollections with some theoretical reflections by Bachelard, D.J. Williams and Georges Perec, thereby bringing in another world into the village. He also allows/invites interspersions from his audience as well as informal conversations. Not only his mother corrects his recollections with comments like, „No, that was your brother who did that.“ The journey or walk passes landmarks, personal and biographic, that one ‚cannot tell by looking’. And the performance


Koeln Issue No. 3 - March 2010

Chorography Petra Johnson

text spoken in front of these landmarks evokes memories in the audience that become part of the performance. There is a sharing of nostalgia accompanied by a subversion, an aspect that allows feelings of loss and change to move beyond regret. The performance acts as a catalyst: stirring up memories, mixing the materiality of place with the ephemerality of performance, allowing personal stories to surface, allowing exchanges of experiences and in doing so creating a communality. The tenth and last location of the walk is a stream. Mike Pearson stands in the middle of it and says, ’They say if you drink from Bubbling Tom you’ll always come back. I don’t think I ever did...... probably because I was never quite sure where it was.’‚All that is left then is to have a big argument as to where it really is.’ And the performance ends with his audience searching and pointing and offering expert opinion.

The performance demonstrates a strategy that I consider helpful and inspiring in the planning of the viedo streaming events, that bring together one or two Koelner from specific walks of life with two Shanghainese from the same walk of life in order to exchange work and life experiences. These events require moderation/translation and here the role of the artist is paramount in preparing a map for the event and setting a stage as well as guiding the flow of the conversation. These events are catalysts for layering stories as well as making portraits by other means.


Koeln Issue No. 3 - March 2010 ... in “the wild�....

!

Instant Home

Gerburg Stoffel and her proposed intervention

view from the inside

view from the outside


Koeln Issue No. 3 - March 2010

Just before the end of the year, B6 visited Köln. B6 has been interviewed and featured by BBC TV, NPR Radio, CCTV, DragonTV and reviewed in magazines like Time, The Wire, Vision, Milk, 1626, and many more. He’s also composed music for films and commercials (Nike).

B6 is China’s most prolific and respected independent modern music producer and DJ.

synth-pop album called IGO “Synth Love”, released on Universal Music HK.

Hailing from Shanghai, this 27year-old maverick is a multi-talented electronic music pioneer, DJ, renowned graphic artist, and co-founder of Neocha.com and the Antidote parties

In November 2008, B6 released a new solo album -- B6 “Post Haze” on China’s Modern Sky Records. “Post Haze” shows a new maturity in B6’s music, with precision programming, dance-floor rocking rhythms and glitch-happy beats. Starting with smooth, atmospheric minimalism, moving into mindbending tech-house, then a bit of bangin’ techno, “Post Haze” promises to be a landmark release out of China’s developing independent music scene.

As a teenager, B6 started his own independent record label (Isolation), and composed critically-acclaimed experimental sound art, ambient, and postrock albums while also producing sound and designing album covers for various alternative music acts on the mainland. B6’s graphic works have been exhibited in museums in the UK, Europe, and North America. In the years since, B6’s productions have explored a variety of genres, from synth-pop to IDM to breakcore and drum and bass, and in 2006 released a 6-CD box set of his early works. In 2007, B6 teamed up with singer JJay to complete a radio-friendly but cutting-edge

In 2009, B6’s “Post Haze” second edition is released in Europe and has received great reviews by the European electronic music community. He also worked with Ars-numerica, a renowned French art organization this June to finish a multimedia project. B6’s next stop in Europe will be Germany, Belgium, Denmark and Switzerland in this coming November.


London Issue No. 3 - March 2010 Homewalk 1mile2 Waltham Forest Code 4053. !

1 square mile artist residency London November/December 2009

Xu Zhifeng, known as Shaw, on his project Homewalk 1mile2 Shaw began by comparing his home city of Shanghai with Waltham Forest describing how he came to develop his project: Homewalk 1mile2 Waltham Forest Code 4053. Inspired by the Olympic Rings and residing in a host borough, Shaw’s project involved defining a circle of houses. Shaw’s ‘ring’ highlighted the individual and personal lives within this area. Working with local artists he solicited residents to participate in written recordings of their lives and the raising of white balloons attached to their chimney pots. Annie Chipcase, local ecologist, Frances Bowman, delivery co-ordinator and Lea O’Loughlin, Shaw’s international artist host at ACME were also present.

and Chen Hangfeng”s bubble machine, bubbles are generated by a drip.

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Kiosk Newsletter Mar2010  

The KIOSK/Xiaomaibu project provides a video/audio platform that links neighbourhoods in Shanghai, Cologne and Liverpool.

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