In a sense, the history of humanity is a history of technology. Presumably, early humans had begun to take the path unparalleled by other species the moment they learned to set a bonfire. With the unceasing upgrading of technologies, human life has been transforming all the time.
In the wake of internal combustion engine and nuclear power, digital technology and network communication technology have the most disruptive power in modern times. They fundamentally change the way we relate to life and the world, and consequently has thoroughly altered how we view ourselves as well as the world. The emergence and popularization of new words like computer, mobile phone, Internet, Bitcoin and App not only make our life easier, but also transform everything around us, and art is no exception. In this issue, we bring together the digitalization trend in various art circles, followed by an exploration of how digital revolution plays a role in British art scenes through an investigation into the formulation and presentation of art as well as academic discussions and artists’ arguments about digital art. Hopefully this will reveal an art world of 0s and 1s to you.
Since 2012, we have been presenting annual theatre-centred editions every year. Theatre in Britain is a highly industrialised artistic conglomeration, and has far-reaching impacts on British society and art. It carries on the humanistic traditions and values of the country, and extends and shapes reflection and understanding of the current society.
In any form of art, if it wishes to maintain its thriving vitality, it is necessary to cultivate its audience and evolve into what echoes with the times—British theatres’ exploration and practice, in this regard, is too fruitful to neglect. They infuse the most creative ideas into productions for the young, arousing in them interests in art and passion for life. In this issue, we focus on British theatre for the young, examining how theatres, creative practices, marketing, humanistic education and audience cultivation are organically interwoven.
China and Britain, east in Asia and west in Europe, breed different cultures, beliefs and logics. Geographically, these two distantly parted countries barely seem to connect, let alone closely with each other. However, in their enduring history, in which both countries have been making contributions to humanity, China and Britain have also been exerting profound influences upon each other. Nevertheless, examining each other with their respective coordinates will surely result in totally different understandings from the native ones. With the deepening of globalization and rapid development of information technologies, there are closer co-operations and exchanges between the two powers, yet their distinctive cultural backgrounds and ways of thinking may often come in the way of east-west communication. To ensure win-win on common interests, cultural exchange is the sole means to promote mutual understanding and remove barriers. In this issue, we document both British and Chinese cultural exchange programmes during this year in order to review the pros and cons of cultural exchange policies and their implementations, and discuss in depth the role cultural programmes play in Sino-UK exchanges as a whole.
“Curator” is a strange concept for most Chinese. In China, the word is often understood as its Chinese “equivalent”
(Cezhanren) suggests—the one (ren) who plans (ce) the exhibition (zhan). However, the original meaning of
“curator” as a borrowing word is never correctly conveyed in this translation.
With the coming of the information era, a globalized and networking society is also bringing tremendous changes
in art, and the word “curator”, popular as it has already been, seems to gradually become fatigued. Its everchanging
connotation and denotation is a witness to the development of its concept under various contexts and in
different logical categories of art.
In this issue, we will explore an “artist as curator” phenomenon. Such a concept has sparkled discussions in the art
circles in recent years, which, however, fail to stage effective dialogues among individuals who engage themselves
differently in art. In my opinion, “artist as curator” represents a more democratic way of artistic expression as well
as a motivation to practice artistic autonomy—in an art world full of frameworks, artists’ autonomy aspiration may
well be a showcase of what is intrinsic in contemporary art. Therefore, we have invited artists, professional curators,
artist curators and art lovers into discussion, and adopted both inside and outside perspectives of the issue in
question to illustrate what roles curators and artist curators are playing in the world of art today.
Theatre in the UK integrates a variety of art forms, deserving great attention and meticulous studies through its prosperity. Alongside the rapid development of technology like multimedia and internet, theatre industry and culture in the UK are constantly evolving. As a publication that is attentive to the development of cultural and creative industry, we review one particular theatrical topic every year. In this issue, we present the development of “visual theatre” in the UK.
Though “visual theatre” has yet been rigorously defined, its conceptualization and practice has become a remarkable topic for all theatre practitioners in the UK. It pertains to the nature of theatre: construction and expression through the visual. It is acknowledged that text, the verbal and the music are still to some the primary components of theatre, so we have taken for this issue the stance of the “alternative”, including discussions of theatrical forms such as mime, puppetry, physical theatre, contemporary circus and so on. We do not deliberately aim for novelty or any wow-effect, but mean to address the significant and subtle influence this “alternative theatre” has on the development of contemporary art and theatre.
An ‘artist’s studio’, literally, refers to the place where an artist works. For most people, an artist’s studio is a place of mystery, the birthplace of numerous great works of art and romance. But what kind of a space is it? What is the interrelationship between the artist, their creation and the studio space? To help unveil this mystery, we visited a number of British artists in their studios, where we were treated to a sneak peak behind the scenes, and heard from the horse’s mouth what the significance of such a sacred place is. With this insider knowledge, we are able to reveal and present a hand-picked selection of artists and their studios from around the UK.
In the art industry, both the theoretical and practical aspects of education are necessary. China and the UK have different approaches when it comes to education both in the structure of learning and its fundamental purpose. As more and more Chinese students study artistic subjects in the UK, it is necessary to review art education comprehensively.
As part of the special feature in this issue, we interviewed various educational institutions, artistic organisations and individuals. We discussed the differences between the current educational system in art and other subjects, to provide our readers with a broader perspective of the present state of art education and the direction of its development in the UK. Different methods of teaching will influence the way art develops in British & Chinese culture.
We hope this topic can stir up conversation in the British artistic industry and educational sectors in both China and the UK.
Theatre is a collection of many art forms. Through a comprehensive presentation, we could deeply feel the blending and collision of various art forms, like literature, dance, performing art, music, visual arts and etc. The development of British theatre occupies an important place worldwide, while its vigorous development momentum is also leading the trend of world theatre.
In this issue, we have invited PERFORMANCE INFINITY, a UK art consultant in performance art, for a special feature on contemporary British theatre, mainly focusing on ‘New Writing’ in London Theatres as a clue to discover contemporary theatres in London and drama creation.
Ever since the invention of photographic technology, in less than 200 years, photography has already become an indispensable part of our lives and work, profoundly altering our lives and perspective of viewing the world. Nowadays, with the advance of technology, photographic equipment can be quite easily accessed, and the marriage of smart phones and digital cameras already achieves the myth of universal camera possession available to everyone. Like many great inventions, when people get used to its companion and indulge in the convenience it brings along, photography of its core essence of charismatic mystery and eccentric—-the magic of reconciling the “instant” and “eternal”, the two contradictory concepts, is gradually being forgotten.
Since from the day of its appearance that dawns, photography is destined to change the course of visual arts. For over a century, its irreplaceable functionality and breathtaking expression have been leading enormous amount of people to explore and think, and its impact and destruction against the traditional art system has constructed the base of our current visual experience.
In this issue of ART.ZIP, we will, based on the introduction of photographers and their works, present to our readers the development of photography in the course of art and culture, the current developing situation of the related contemporary British photography, and invite every one of you readers with us to explore the fundamental meaning of photography.
I was often asked the biggest difference between the Eastern and Western arts. In fact, I could response without hesitation, ‘different logic, different culture’, which I think it is an irresponsible and meaningless answer. So I start to think about the answer in a more pragmatic way. Throughout various parts of Chinese arts and British arts, logical and cultural differences do lead to certain differences between the East and the West. However, among all these differences, I found a particularly interesting part—the operation of arts foundation and the governmental support for arts in the UK. Compared with other arts sections, such as arts education, arts auction, art sales and other areas, China has rapid development in the field of arts market due to the globalization, even many of the regulations have been established with international standards, yet in terms of non-profit arts support is still under development. Therefore in this issue, we will introduce various cultural development organisations and non-profit arts foundations in the UK, so as to reflect one essential part of the British art system.
Performance art, as the integrity of various art forms, includes literature, music, dance, performance and fine art. The British contemporary performance art is regarded as a most well-known art kind in the world. In this issue, we have invited Dong Yiran and Wang Jing, two research experts in performance art and its development in both the UK and China, to introduce the various forms of performance art, to let our readers further understand the stories behind performance art.
The British performance art has established its very own uniqueness. It has always been exploring and challenging the boundary of performance art by the means of new technology and experimentation of different art forms. Therefore, it has been bringing for viewers tremendous pleasure and surprise. This issue of ART.ZIP not only covers a wide range of performance art forms, such as drama, opera, musical, dance performance and puppetry, it also pays great attention to people involved for the creativity, and the industry development, which are rarely known by the general public.
As the first bilingual contemporary art magazine dedicated to bringing together the world of art in the UK and China, ART.ZIP creates a space for all from different cultural backgrounds to discuss or provide their interpretations on contemporary art and cultural events. We periodically invite professionals from UK and China to contribute to our magazine.
For this September issue, our first special edition, we are pleased to invite two London-based guest editors, Monica Chung, international contemporary art consultant and Dr. Trish Lyons, artist and writer, Head of Research, School of Fine Art, Royal Collage of Art.
Having worked on this special edition for almost a year, we are grateful for the care and insight these two professionals have brought to ART.ZIP.
Chung and Lyons have carefully selected topics with a Chinese audience in mind, exploring the gaps and cultural issues between the UK and China.
ART.ZIP雜誌作為一個文化交流平台其宗旨就是希望更多的中英兩地的文化界人士通過雜誌來溝通彼此理念，展現不同文化背景下對於當代藝術和文化事件的解讀和討論，因此，ART.ZIP雜誌會不定期邀請中英兩地的知識界精英深入地參與到雜誌內容的建設中來，本年度9月刊的特別專刊便是雜誌邀請資深國際當代藝術收藏顧問Monica Chung和英國皇家藝術學院研究部主管Trish Lyons博士作為我們的特約編輯為大家帶來一期別具一格的ART.ZIP。
Many of us are fond of seeing large-scale exhibitions by prominent artists in museums. This is indeed an alternative way to have a quick clue about history of art. However, due to the nature of museum, only those established artists are selected to exhibit their artworks in museums. So we may sometimes find the arts in museums too conventional, and get tired of them easily. Where on earth can we find the fresh and thought-provoking arts? I would personally recommend commercial galleries, for these galleries are more willing to scout for as well as present potential and prospective artists that may seem weird and provocative at one glance. It is this quirky new art form that stimulates the art market and encourages any responses. In this issue, we pick some galleries that caught our eyes in Britain and China, all of which have tight relations with Chinese contemporary art. Hopefully the features would help you know more about gallery industry in Britain and China. Enjoy the issue!