Shanghai Project Talk Series | The Earth Is Plummeting Towards The Sun While Just Missing It
Language: Chinese and English
Shanghai Himalayas Museum 3F (Atrium)
* Cover Image Credit: First view of Earth from Moon 1966, courtesy NASA
What are we sustaining when we are referring to sustainable futures? Is it human life in general, or does it also include the planet we inhabit and its flora and fauna? Where does this future take place? Will we become a planet-fairing interstellar species, or should we try to save Earth from being inhospitable to life before it’s too late?
There is also the chance that we might go down in flames with the Sun when it dies in about 5 billion years. But, most likely the Earth will not survive that long, our demise might come sooner. Is that so terrible? Implicit in the idea of sustainability is also an evasion from dealing with our own mortality.
The universe is indifferent to these matters concerning humanity; we are a mere speck in the history of the cosmos. The cycle of life and death, or more precisely, the transformation of matter from one state to another, occurs in all things—including galaxies, stars, and planets. In this sense, we are in a perpetual transitory state. It is not a negative or tragic event, rather this reality is latent with possibilities and full of magic.
The intermediary, the threshold, the transit from one to the other is the consciousness in which Wang inhabits to make her work—the Earth is plummeting towards the Sun while just missing it.
This talk will be moderated by btr, a famous writer and art critic based in Shanghai. He will have a discussion with Alice Wang about those ideas in relation to the artist’s sculpture practice. Followed by the talk, there will be a screening of Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker (1979), which takes place in a wet and slippery environment.
Andrei Tarkovsky’s final Soviet feature is a metaphysical journey through an enigmatic postapocalyptic landscape, and a rarefied cinematic experience like no other. A hired guide—the Stalker—leads a writer and a professor into the heart of the Zone, the restricted site of a long-ago disaster, where the three men eventually zero in on the Room, a place rumored to fulfill one’s most deeply held desires. Adapting a science-fiction novel by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, Tarkovsky created an immersive world with a wealth of material detail and a sense of organic atmosphere. A religious allegory, a reflection of contemporaneous political anxieties, a meditation on film itself—Stalker envelops the viewer by opening up a multitude of possible meanings.
- Synopsis from The Criterion Collection
Alice Wang (b. 1983, Xi’an) makes sculptures, prints, videos, drawings, and experimental films. Wang received her BS in Computer Science and International Relations from the University of Toronto, BFA from the California Institute of the Arts, and MFA from New York University. Her forthcoming solo show will be exhibited at Capsule Shanghai in September. Wang is based in Los Angeles.
btr is a writer, art critic, and translator of English literature living in Shanghai, China.
He has published, among others, Shanghai: Notes on City Life (Shanghai Century Publishing Group, 2003)，Bizarre Stories (Thinkingdom Media Group, 2013), Mini Stories (Chongqing University Press, 2016)，Petite Mort (CITIC, 2017).
His translations include Paul Auster’s The Invention of Solitude (Zhejiang Culture and Art Publishing House, 2009), M&C Saatchi’s Brutal Simplicity of Thought (Chu Chen Books, 2013) and Paul Auster’s Winter Journal (Shanghai 99 culture, 2016).
He has been the curator of Get it Loud art show (Literature section) in Beijing in 2012 and photo exhibition CITEMA by Zhu Hao at 10 Corso Como Shanghai in 2016.
His writings on literature, film and contemporary art have appeared in, among others, Modern Weekly, The Paper and Ray Art column.
He has been running a daily Wechat Column “Petite Mort” since 2014.