November 26th, 2011 - January 7th, 2012
Forgetting comes in many permutations. There is the simple absent-minded forgetting, the blocking out of certain painful memories, or the gradual more organic fading of things that we have no reason to keep in the fore-quarters of our brain. We as a society tend to like to forget places which are seen as unpleasant or which remind us of a past which is somewhat backward or unsophisticated.
Often these sites hold the traces of a golden industrial or historical era, but have maybe seen better days ¬– left out of the process of urban renewal. These places hold fragments of history, keeping secrets within their walls. In an era of radical change they help us maintain a link between past and future and serve as a reminder not to forget the past.
The show was actually inspired by a project initiated by Qian Rong, to explore the history of Fuxing Island, it’s historical past and it’s implications for the present. In the series of ink paintings he examines how events which happened decades ago on this small insignificant island hold great weight for the present state of affairs.
Chai Yiming looks at our impressive capacity for forgetting with ink depictions of vehicles speeding along a highway, a metaphor for speed and those that are left in the wake of development.
Christophe Demaitre examines the layering of history and modernity in the urban fabric, the disappearance of certain communities and the transience of local history.
Robert Lee Davis, looks at the ever changing face of the city where old buildings go down and new buildings come up offering new vantage points from which to view the city.
Li Xiaofei examines how the under the skin of the city lies a whole underground network of places and people (in this case sewage treatment engineers) who are required to maintain the façade of orderliness.
Wang Taocheng also explores the topic of the cycle of urban regeneration cycle, and how it can create dead-zones free of any human presence which are infused with a poetic melancholy.
Su Chang presents a desolate montage of his own with images of the charred remains of his family’s home. Here he ponders how memories are so often triggered by material objects and how the meaning of these objects can change.
Nadim Abbas looks at how inanimate objects may have a life of their own, at how apartment buildings may be inhabited by the ghosts of previous tenants and how superstitious property buyers may seek out such information.
Leung Chi Wo + Sara Wong seek to re-create scenes from the past re-staging historical photographs with wardrobe and models in a studio setting. They put the nameless faceless actors of history in the spotlight and ask questions about the unknowability of the past.
Ben Houge also delves into the topic of knowing and not knowing exploring the concept of telepresence with a four channel sound installation. Houge will use the wind speed data from conflict zones such as Afghanistan and Iraq to power a virtual wind chime to remind us of the forgotten places which have fallen off the news radar but still deserve our attention.