A woman interacts with Liu Yiwei's art work Granular Matrix. The sound exhibition event was the opening party of JUE festival, held at Atou Studio. Photo taken March 12, 2015. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com/William Wang]
By William Wang
The crowd at Atou Studio was abuzz with Beijing's art and media types to kick off the JUE music and arts festival. The warm and low key gig was billed as an art exhibit, showcasing just four pieces of sonic-themed art. "We wanted to create different layers, target different kinds of audiences,"said Doris Yan, Project Manager from Split Works. "Sound art really has a blurry concept; it's difficult to explain. We wanted to see if this would work."
The studio space was filled with the type of people who were fine with art of varying levels of accessibility. Unfortunately for serious art patrons, the aural aspects of the artworks displayed were particularly difficult to ascertain due to the ambient music that was broadcast in the space. Electronic music artist FM3V has been central to Beijing's electronic music scene since its earliest days, and he filled the gallery space with Brian Eno-esque layers of shimmering electric tones.
Artist Liu Yiwei had two works on display. The first was a television screen that reacted to movement swept over it. Sprinkles of gold pixels would light up and the accompanying buzz was just audible over the din of music and chatter. His second piece was a meditative projection, a long horizontal strip displaying digital noise reminiscent of water falling.
Spaniard Pilar Escuder is a multi-disciplinary artist who has worked extensively with fibers. In her piece Textile Sound, overlapping layers of fabric are accompanied by a set of headphones which played sporadic sounds which stemmed from the fabrics displayed. Again, on this particular evening the music playing made it difficult to take in the work.
The last piece had a more oblique connection to sound; a large ball of wound-up plastic tape which concealed a copy of Don Quijote de la Mancha within it. Although intellectually compelling, the piece didn't receive a great deal of attention until a child repurposed it as a plaything. A few people were concerned about art being treated as such, but most shrugged it off. It did seem fairly indestructible.
As is the case with any successful art opening, the event was foremost a social one. People meet people, drink wine, and talking about art is never the priority. It was clear that people were excited to be on the brink of a packed ten day schedule of arts and performances. After all, the night was young, and many people planned to head over to Dada and Temple bars to continue the JUEstivities. Just another week night for the JUE community.
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