Visualising Borders Lab – with Manchester Metropolitan Network

On 29/11/2014 by CFCCA Administrator

On November 21st, CFCCA hosted the first in a series of five AHRC funded research labs, led by Dr Beccy Kennedy, bringing together academics and curators based in the UK, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mainland China. The project ‘Culture, Capital and Communication: Visualising Chinese Borders’, (CCC:CVB) aims at the following:

“to produce a cross-disciplinary and multi-institutional body of research on the topic of the effects of border crossings upon art and design practice in Greater China.”

The core members of the CCC:VCB network include, though not exclusively:

Sarah Fisher, Director of the Centre For Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA); King Chung Siu, Professor at Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Director of Community Museum Project (CMP); Kwong Lee, Director of Castlefield Gallery; Lu Peiyi associate curator at CFCCA and freelance curator, Dr Ming Turner, who works at the Institute of Creative Industries Design at National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan; Ying Kwok, Hong Kong and Manchester based independent curator; Rachel Marsden, independent curator, former Research Curator at CFCCA and founder of The Temporary;  and Dr Beccy Kennedy, the founder and leader of the project, from the Department of Art – Art Theory & Practice programmes & MA Contemporary Visual Culture, Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) as well as academics in the areas of Contemporary Chinese Art and Border Studies, including Professor Jim Aulich from MIRIAD, MMU and Professor Paul Gladston from the University of Nottingham.

The first session brought together Dr Beccy Kennedy, Sarah Fisher, Dr Ming Turner, Lu Peiyi, Kwong Lee, Rachel Marsden and Professor Jim Aulich, plus CFCCA’s curator and programme and engagement coordinator Ying Tan and Paul Stanley, and MMU research associate Dr Tongyu Zhou. Discussion focussed on the notions of borders, in a contemporary context, one which we consistently label ‘global’, the rise of would-be iconic figures as representative of Chinese Contemporary Art.

CFCCA’s Associate Curator, Lu Peiyi, discussed her recent curatorial projects, specifically the 2014 Shenzen Sculpture Biennial, within the context of borders, and drawing on her own personal experiences of the Visa application process, travelling from Taiwan to Mainland China. Citing Lai Chih-sheng’s  piece from the Biennial, Border (2014), she discussed the perceived borders between artist / worker / audience. The work addresses the often unseen borders between the three stages of exhibition production, and delineates this boundary,  yet also testifies to the strength and longevity of some borders, and raises the question of how they might be crossed.

Héctor Zamora’s work from the Biennial examines the physical mechanisms of border control in Opening Up (2014), where the apparatus of border crossing is manipulated, to cast doubt on the impermeability of borders; yet this is merely gestural and the apparatus remains impassable, in fact.

Whilst Zamora and Lai Chih-sheng address the visibility of borders, Huang P0-chih’s Production Line project exists across one. He created a temporary shirt factory at Shenzen and at the Taipei Biennial. The shirts had been partially made in Shenzen, forming the installation for the biennial, and were then finished at the Taipei Biennial. Each worker in the factory (both in Shenzen and Taipei) was played by a female member of Huang’s family. Referencing both Taiwan and China’s perceptiom as global centres of production, the works draws attention to the role played by shifting labour markets in dictating borders and ancestral national identity. Similarly, in Li Jinghu’s Sea Breeze (2014), hundreds of stainless-steel vessels filled with water blanket the floor, referencing the yearning for the ocean experienced by migrant workers, who move to coastal areas of China in search of a better life.

Lai Chih-sheng, Border (2014)



Huang Po-Chih, Production Line: Made in China and Made in Taiwan (2014)




Li Jinghu, Sea Breeze (2014)

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