Our Photo of the Day series this week shares photos of recent openings at 798 and Caochangdi, adjacent creative zones central to Beijing’s contemporary art world.
Sitting on the theory-heavy end of the exhibition spectrum is Special Economic Zone, a recently opened show at 798 gallery Long March Space that serves as the latest in its “Building Code Violations” series. The series in general approaches “the improvisational nature of building code violations” as a lens through which to view the special “political, social, economic and cultural realities” that have taken form in China over the last several decades.
The exhibition’s title is a term applied to several test cities such as Shenzhen, which has transformed from a fishing village into a busting, high-rise-choked tech capital since China’s economic opening at the end of the 1970s. Deng Xiaoping, Mao’s successor, kickstarted economic reforms in a select few “special economic zones” with a freer set of market rules than the State-controlled economy of the first phase of Chinese Communist rule allowed for.
The piece above, by artist John Gerard, consists of animations screened on the faces of two minimalist cubes plopped in the center of the gallery space. One depicts flowing water, and the other is based on a Bitcoin mining operation in Sichuan province that the artist visited last year. “John Gerrard’s phantom camera juxtaposes the crypto-current with the material current that powers it,” say the curators, who explore the relationship between technological development, global financialization, and environmental deterioration across several of the exhibited works.
Learn more about the show here.