VMPEA WINTER 2023 SCHEDULE

The Visual and Material Perspectives on East Asia (VMPEA) workshop is pleased to announce the Winter 2023 schedule. All the in-person events will meet on selected Wednesdays from 4:45 to 6:45 pm CT at Cochrane-Woods Art Center 152 unless otherwise noted. For the online events or those who would like to join us remotely for the in-person events, we will send out the registration link prior to these events. You are welcome to consult the VMPEA website for further information about these events, and please subscribe to our listserv here to receive event notifications.

 

Winter 2023 Schedule 

 

January 12

Sylvia Wu, PhD Candidate, Art History, UChicago

“Inventing Lingshan’s Ritual Environments: Muslim Devotional Practices in Little Ice Age Quanzhou”

[This is an online event, and we will meet from 4:45–6:45pm]

 

January 25

Martin Bai, MAPH Student, UChicago

“Song literati mural paintings: a ‘mirror-medium’ and new research on Su Shi”

February 8

Ricarda Brosch, PhD Candidate, History of Art, The Courtauld Institute of Art & Assistant Curator, V&A

The Pictures of Ancient Playthings 古玩圖 Revisited: imperial art for the afterlife?”

[This is an online event, and we will meet from 11:30am–1:30pm]

March 1

Zhiyan Yang, PhD Candidate, Art History, UChicago

“Exhibiting Contemporary Architecture of China: Experiments and Cross-Cultural Dialogues, 1995–2005”

 

Please feel free to contact Lucien (lesun@uchicago.edu) and Li (jiangli@uchicago.edu) with any questions you might have, and we look forward to seeing many of you at the workshops!

Anthony Stott, Nov 18

Please join us tomorrow for the fourth VMPEA workshop of this quarter, featuring:

Anthony Stott

PhD Candidate, East Asian Languages & Civilizations and Comparative Literature, UChicago

“Context After the End of Monumental Public Space: Toward an Archipelagic Reimagining of Urban Resistance in the Theory and Design of Isozaki Arata”

Discussant: Zhiyan Yang

PhD Candidate, Art History, UChicago

Friday, November 18, 2022

6:00–8:00 pm CT, Zoom

Zoom Link: https://uchicago.zoom.us/j/99126706613?pwd=WUhpT1JxQjR2bHB3Zjd5VFIzNlVWZz09 

Please note the unusual date and time. This is a remote event.

**There are pre-circulated paper and slides for this workshop. You can find them in the other post with password “context”.

★Co-Sponsored by Art & Politics of East Asia workshop★

 

Jacques Derrida questioning Isozaki Arata and Asada Akira after Isozaki and Asada’s joint-presentation at the Anyone conference on May 11, 1991.

 

Abstract

The expulsion of protestors from Shinjuku Station West Exit Plaza in 1969 conventionally marks the end of monumental public space as a site for urban protests in Japan. Departing from this moment, this chapter explores the wanderings of the architect and theorist Isozaki Arata (1931–) in search of new sites for urban resistance. Isozaki builds on his earlier work on the environment and the cybernetic city to theorize this urban resistance as an alternative context that constructively short circuits the urban network, and he terms this “extra-context.” Putting into dialogue scholarship from across media studies, architectural theory, and urban history, I contend that Isozaki adopts extra-context not only to disrupt the unrestrained and homogenizing flows of information networks under globalization but also to oppose a transparency between built space and the environment as epitomized in imperialist architectural projects of the interwar period. Drawing on Isozaki’s writings in “Japanese-ness” in Architecture (Kenchiku ni okeru “nihonteki na mono,” 2003; first partially serialized in Critical Space between 1998 and 2000) and especially his extensive collaborations with the critic Asada Akira (1957–), I furthermore show how tracing Isozaki’s design via extra-context discloses a shift in his approach—from the eclectic citation of global forms in projects of the 1980s like Tsukuba Center, to the archipelagically derived performance halls of the 1990s. I thus aim to expand the critical possibilities of Isozaki’s work by attending to how the tethering of extra-context to the archipelagic resonates with and defies ecocriticism and other related discourses that explore the relation between ocean and media.

 

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Anthony Stott is a PhD candidate in East Asian Languages & Civilizations and Comparative Literature who specializes in contemporary Japanese literature, media, and thought. His dissertation considers formations of artists and intellectuals around the preeminent Japanese-language journal of theory and criticism Critical Space (Hihyō kūkan, 1991–2002) through the lens of critique and its limits.

Zhiyan Yang is a doctoral candidate specializing in the history of modern and contemporary East Asian Architecture. He is currently completing a dissertation on post-socialist architecture through the lenses of architectural media and cultural production, including exhibitions, journals, history surveys and its intersection with contemporary visual culture and art. He received his BA from Sarah Lawrence College in 2013 and MA from the University of Chicago in 2015. Zhiyan served as a researcher and overseas liaison of the Contemporary Chinese Art Yearbook Project spearheaded by Peking University and the University of Chicago since 2015. He has also previously interned at Xu Bing Studio in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Xu Bing + Wu Hung, Nov 11

We invite you to join us next Friday for a special VMPEA event of this quarter, kindly co-sponsored by the Center for East Asian Studies and the Center for the Art of East Asia:

Xu Bing + Wu Hung: A Conversation

Friday, November 11, 2022

5:15–6:45pm CT, CWAC 157

Reception to follow at the CWAC lounge

 *The event will be in Chinese

In the event, artist Xu Bing will talk about his on-going new art projects. He will then have a conversation with Professor Wu Hung, with a Q&A session and reception to follow. The event is open to people from all fields but will be conducted primarily in Chinese.

For those who are interested, please RSVP here by Tuesday, November 8. This event is open to in-person audience only. Because space is limited, if you cannot attend after registration, please email Lucien Sun (lesun@uchicago.edu) in advance to cancel your registration. We appreciate your kind cooperation.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Danni Huang, Nov 9

Please join us tomorrow for the third VMPEA event of this quarter, featuring:

Danni Huang

MAPH Student, UChicago

“Tang Tradition in the Liao’s Hands: Narrating The Guanyin Pavilion at Dule Monastery”

Discussant: Wei-cheng Lin

Associate Professor of Art History and the College, UChicago

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

4:45–6:45 pm CT, CWAC 152

For those who desire to attend remotely, please use this link to register for the Zoom meeting. 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

The password to this zoom session is 185137

 

Guanyin Pavilion, Dule Monastery (Photo: Danni Huang, 2021)

 

Abstract

At the point of its discovery by modern scholars in the early twentieth century, Dule Monastery (Dulesi 獨樂寺), located in Ji County (Ji xian 薊縣), Tianjin Municipality, was thought to be the earliest extant Buddhist monastery from the Liao dynasty 遼朝 in China. Many contemporary scholars refer to the monastery as a Liao dynasty building complex or the buildings an example of Liao-style architecture (Liaodai jianzhu 遼代建築), which seems to be a straightforward classification at first glance. Yet, the integrity of the original style intended for Dule Monastery has been compromised since it has experienced at least twenty-eight earthquakes and at least six large reconstructions. Traditionally, scholars used general dynastic and stylistic labels to classify art objects and architectural monuments. However, this classification is problematic, since dynastic categories suggest that dynastic style is a set of fixed, unchanging characteristics within a territorial boundary. By contrast, recent research indicates that diverse architectural and sculptural styles resulted from the different identities of the patrons and artisans of the reconstructions. This makes dynastic categories insufficient to describe the complexity of these sites and sculptures held within them. This paper will investigate the diachronic and geographical complexities of the Guanyin Pavilion (Guanyin ge 觀音閣) at Dule Monastery to reveal cross-dynastic and cross-geographical connections. My research indicates that the eclectic architectural styles that had developed since the Tang were motivated by the continuous demands of local rulers and practitioners of Esoteric Buddhism.

 

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Danni Huang is currently a first-year MAPH student at the University of Chicago. She received her bachelor’s degree in Art History and Asian Studies from Vanderbilt University. Her current research interest focuses on how religious spaces, like the ge and ta, dictate worshippers’ spiritual interaction with divinities in different ways, through complex assemblages of sculpture and architecture.

Wei-Cheng Lin is Associate Professor in the Department of Art History at the University of Chicago. Lin specializes in the history of Chinese art and architecture, with a focus on medieval period, and has published on both Buddhist and funeral art and architecture of medieval China. His first book, Building a Sacred Mountain: Buddhist Architecture of China’s Mount Wutai, was published in 2014 with the University of Washington Press. He has also written on topics related to traditional architecture in modern China. Lin is currently working on two book projects: Performative Architecture of China, explores architecture’s performative potential through history and the meanings enacted through such architectural performance. Necessarily Incomplete: Fragments of Chinese Artifacts investigate fragments of Chinese artifacts, as well as the cultural practices they solicited and engaged, to locate their agentic power in generating the multivalent significance of those artifacts, otherwise undetectable or overlooked.

Ellen Larson, Nov 3

We invite you to join us at Ellen Larson’s VMPEA talk this Thursday (Nov 3), from 5-7pm. The talk will be hybrid, at CWAC 152 and livestreamed. We hope to see many of you there!

 

Ellen Larson

CAEA Postdoctoral Instructor of Art History, UChicago

who will present the paper

“Spectral Ecologies: Post-Industrial Urban Aesthetics in Northeast China”

on Thursday*, November 3, 2022

from 5:00 – 7:00 pm CST* in CWAC 152.

Register here if you wish to join us remotely.

*Please note the unusual date and time

 

Abstract:

Since the turn of the 21st century, multimedia artists and filmmakers from China have employed the moving image as a tool to capture temporalities shaped by urban-industrial decline in northeast China. A counterpoint to massive economic prosperity within the Pearl River Delta, fueled by investments in new technologies and industries, this region, termed Dongbei in Chinese, has witnessed the dismantling of socialized production, along with the transformation of once thriving factory complexes into largely abandoned ghostly spaces. In this paper “Spectral Ecologies: Post-Industrial Urban Aesthetics in Northeast China” artists Hao Jingban, Wang Bing, and Wang Mowen reference the ghosts of cultural memory through distinctive visual presentations of bygone monumentalities from China’s socialist past, including grand memorials to Chairman Mao and other iconic forms of early PRC-era infrastructure, both physical and ideological. I propose that these artists incorporate what writer and critic Chris Berry has referred to as “on-the-spot realism,” (jishizhuyi) a term which incorporates site-specific observational cinematic realism to document occurrences within artists’ everyday surroundings. “Spectral Ecologies” contemplates how particularities within bygone centers of industrial-driven labor have influenced time-based works over the past two decades. Collectively, Hao Jingban, Wang Bing, and Wang Mowen activate the moving image as both archive and research method. They gesture towards geo-agencies somewhere in between the past and the future, the living and the non-living. Most significantly, they document the ruined decay of northeast factory zones, summoning the metaphorical ghosts of this regions’ industrial history.

Wang Mowen, Trinity, 2019, single-channel video, 16 mins., 9 secs.

 

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Ellen Larson is a Center for the Art of East Asia (CAEA) Postdoctoral Instructor in conjunction with the Department of Art History. Her research underscores the nature of temporalities as represented in moving image art made primarily in Mainland China. She is particularly interested in revealing how contemporary artists capture facets of accelerated time all the while living in a culture where physical environments and social connections are becoming increasingly obsolete due to major investments in robotics, AI technologies, online communication platforms, and virtual monetary exchange applications. Ellen’s research is also informed by urban studies, Asian futurisms, memory studies, and cyberfeminism studies. Her methodological approach to the study of art history incorporates curation and design as critical forms of applied practice. Before joining UChicago, she earned her PhD in art history from the University of Pittsburgh. Her doctoral dissertation, “On Time: Contemporary Chinese Video Art from China,” focused on emerging video and new media art since the turn of the new millennium. Her research has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, the Henry Luce Foundation, and the Dunhuang Foundation. She also holds a master’s degree in modern Chinese history from Minzu University of China (Beijing), where she completed all coursework in Chinese.

Nancy Lin, Oct 26

Please join us next Wednesday for the first VMPEA event of this academic year, featuring:

Speaker: Nancy P. Lin

Klarman Postdoctoral Fellow, Cornell University

Wildlife (1997-1998), a Multi-sited Art Activity”

Discussant: Ellen Larson

CAEA Postdoctoral Instructor of Art History, UChicago

 

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

4:45–6:45 pm CT, CWAC 152

For those who desire to attend remotely, please use this link to register for the Zoom meeting. 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

The password to this zoom session is 043582

Catalogue for Wildlife: Starting from 1997 Jingzhe Day (1997-1998)

Abstract

Throughout the 1990s artists from all across China turned from creating works within the studio and museum context to working directly on-site in everyday spaces. Examining the year-long, multi-sited art project Wildlife (1997-1998) organized by Beijing-based artist Song Dong and featuring twenty-seven artists across seven cities, this paper explores how the activity brought these disparate art practices together to advance a discourse for the first time around the aims of working on-site. It shows how the experimental project promoted art practices that were intimately tied to everyday locales and audiences and how it pioneered new strategies for exhibiting and disseminating such site-based works to broader audiences across China. By examining works by participating artists as well as Wildlife itself as a creative work, the paper reveals the ways in which artists in the second half of the 1990s converged on an expanded understanding of on-site art practice as both thoroughly local and transregional.

 

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Nancy P. Lin is a Klarman Postdoctoral Fellow at Cornell University specializing in modern and contemporary Chinese art and architecture with a particular interest in the relationship between art and urbanism. Studying contemporary Chinese art through a transregional perspective, her current book project examines locally situated, yet globally oriented site-based art practices in China during the 1990s and early 2000s. It explores the aesthetic and socio-political stakes for how and why artists during this period began to work “on-site” in everyday urban spaces such as city streets, construction sites, and other unconventional locations. She is also at work on a new project that explores the history of performance art in China and East Asia. Incorporating materials from Cornell’s Wen Pulin Archive of Chinese Avant-garde Art, this project considers the documentary mediation of performance art and issues surrounding performative action’s (in)visibility, duration, and public impact. Lin’s publications include a forthcoming article in Art Journal, a chapter in the edited volume The Allure of Matter: Materiality Across Chinese Art (Smart Museum of Art, 2021), and an article in the Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art (Intellect, Winter 2021).

Ellen Larson is a Center for the Art of East Asia (CAEA) Postdoctoral Instructor in conjunction with the Department of Art History. Her research underscores the nature of temporalities as represented in moving image art made primarily in Mainland China. She is particularly interested in revealing how contemporary artists capture facets of accelerated time all the while living in a culture where physical environments and social connections are becoming increasingly obsolete due to major investments in robotics, AI technologies, online communication platforms, and virtual monetary exchange applications. Ellen’s research is also informed by urban studies, Asian futurisms, memory studies, and cyberfeminism studies. Her methodological approach to the study of art history incorporates curation and design as critical forms of applied practice. Before joining UChicago, she earned her PhD in art history from the University of Pittsburgh. Her doctoral dissertation, “On Time: Contemporary Chinese Video Art from China,” focused on emerging video and new media art since the turn of the new millennium. Her research has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, the Henry Luce Foundation, and the Dunhuang Foundation. She also holds a master’s degree in modern Chinese history from Minzu University of China (Beijing), where she completed all coursework in Chinese.

VMPEA FALL 2022 SCHEDULE

The Visual and Material Perspectives on East Asia (VMPEA) workshop is pleased to announce the Fall 2022 schedule. All the in-person events will meet on selected Wednesdays from 4:45 to 6:45 pm CT at CWAC (Cochrane-Woods Art Center) 152 unless otherwise noted. For the online events or those who would like to join us remotely for the in-person events, we will send out the registration link prior to these events. You are welcome to consult the VMPEA website for further information about these events, and please subscribe to our listserv here to receive event notifications.

 

Fall 2022 Schedule

October 26 

Nancy P. Lin, Klarman Postdoctoral Fellow, Cornell University

“Chance Encounters: Song Dong’s Wildlife (1997-1998), a Multi-sited Art Activity”

Discussant: Ellen Larson, CAEA Postdoctoral Instructor of Art History, UChicago

November 3

Ellen Larson, CAEA Postdoctoral Instructor of Art History, UChicago

“‘Blast Off!’ Picturing Utopian Nostalgia in Su Yu Hsin’s Blast Furnace No. II”

[Note the special date and time of this event. We will meet from 5:00 to 7:00 pm at CWAC 152]

November 9

Danni Huang, MAPH Student, UChicago

“An Investigation of The Guanyin Pavilion and The Eleven-Headed Guanyin Statue at Dule Monastery: Architectural Styles and Buddhist Sculptures in North China from the Seventh to the Tenth Century”

Discussant: Wei-cheng Lin, Associate Professor, Department of Art History and the College, UChicago

November 18

Anthony Stott, PhD Candidate, East Asian Languages and Civilizations and Comparative Literature, UChicago

“Context after the End of Monumental Public Space: Toward an Archipelagic Reimagining of Urban Resistance in the Theory and Design of Isozaki Arata”

Discussant: Zhiyan Yang, PhD Candidate, Art History, UChicago

[This is an online event co-hosted with the APEA workshop, and will meet from 6:00 to 8:00 pm]

Please feel free to contact Lucien (lesun@uchicago.edu) and Li (jiangli@uchicago.edu) with any questions you might have, and we look forward to seeing you soon!

Ranxu Yin, June 1

Speaker: Ranxu Yin (visiting graduate student)

“Re-Presencing the Past? Rethinking the Exhibition History Behind the Object’s Lives and Human’s Experimental Interactions in Premodern China”

Wednesday, June 1st 2022

4:45 – 6:45 pm CT, Hybrid event (In-person at CWAC 152 + livestream via Zoom)


※online: Please use this link to register for the zoom meeting. password: museum61

※For this event, we will be having dinner after the talk. For those who would like to join this gathering after the event, please complete this form by Sunday (May, 29th) 11:59 p.m. so that we can order enough food for everyone.


These photographs serve as examples of the different lives of objects in museums and in the places where they have been rediscovered. 20221968

Abstract

 This presentation will start with the social lives of objects and the corresponding human experiences with them, raising the possibility of incorporating some pre-modern ritual experiences into the history of exhibitions. For example, collective human experiences in tombs and temples (or caves) to a great extent share the same “media system” with the contemporary exhibitions, including objects, spaces, information, and emotions. In all three spaces, one finds a similar touching relationship between humans and the mediums described as “contemporary inter-built relationship,” opposite to the “temporary encounter relationship.” In this light, collective human experiences with “exhibitionary spaces” are closely connected across time and space. I propose this connection to be one of the responses to the issue of “re-presencing the past” in media archaeology, prompting us to reconsider or redefine “exhibitions” as a concept and space for staging the human experiences.

 I will use the ritual processes in the tombs and human religious experiences in the temples/caves,focusing on the display of objects and the structures of corridors, as the primary cases of analysis for this presentation.

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Ranxu Yin is currently a visiting graduate student in the Department of Art History, the University of Chicago. She is a PhD student in the School of Humanities at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in China, where she majored in art museology. Ranxu studied visual culture and received her MA from CAFA. She is interested in the theories and methods that art history studies absorb and transform from media research of cultural studies. Her research mainly deals with the interactions between art history studies and the history of museum and exhibition.

Yan Jin, May 18

Speaker: Yan Jin (Ph.D. student, University of Chicago)

“From Paper to Pottery: Imperial Yang for the Production of Dayazhai Ceramic Wares in Nineteenth-Century China”

Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

4:45 – 6:45 pm CT. Hybrid event (In-person at CWAC 152 + livestream via Zoom)


※ Please use this link to register for the zoom meeting. password: dyz518

※For this particular event, we will be having dinner after the talk. For those who would like to join this gathering after the event, please complete this form by Sunday (May, 15th) 11:59 p.m. so that we can place enough food for everyone. For your information, we are planning to order Italian cuisine.


Dayazhai Yang no. 4, 1873-74. Ink and color on paper, 45.4 x 70cm. The Palace Museum, Beijing.

Abstract

At the imperial court of Qing China (1644-1911), how exactly was it ensured that the things seen and used by the emperor were made according to the imperial order and taste? Based on the myriad of records of Neiwufu 內務府 (Imperial Household Department), a general summary of the mechanism can be made: After the emperor had given out an order to have a thing—ranging from a small bowl to attires and to an entire architecture complex—made, a yang 樣 that visually delineates the thing would first be presented to the emperor by court officials or artisans working at the Imperial Household Department. The emperor would make comments and changes based on the yang and give his approval, according to which the final thing could then be produced. This process could go back and forth multiple times, during which it was the yang that was amended until it was able to meet the emperor’s expectation. But what is this thing called “yang?” By definition, the character itself may be translated as “shape/appearance,” “sample,” “pattern,” or “model.” However, the answer to this question is actually not so much straightforward and is the focus of this presentation.

In particular, this presentation looks closely at one set of such yang created in 1873-74, the last years of Emperor Tongzhi 同治’s reign (r. 1862-1874), for the production of a group of ceramic wares for Empress Dowager Cixi 慈禧 (1835-1908), now commonly referred to as Dayazhai 大雅齋 (Studio of Utmost Refinement) wares. Departing from previous scholarship on the Dayazhai ensemble, which pay more attention to the wares themselves rather than the yang and focus on the pictorial themes and stylistic features of these wares, this presentation instead aims to highlight the active role yang played in the overall commission and production process. By probing into the Dayazhai yang’s visual schemes, its maker and audiences, and the translation from yang to ceramics, I aim to demonstrate that rather than being merely a secondary object made for the creation of something final, the Dayazhai ceramic yang occupied a hierarchical position higher than the actual wares in both practical and conceptual terms because of its centrality in the shaping and delivery of Cixi’s ideals for imperial ceramics.

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Yan Jin is a PhD student in the Department of Art History at the University of Chicago, studying visual and material culture of late imperial China. Her research interests include cross-regional exchanges, negotiation between global and local artistic traditions, and issues of materiality and intermediality. Yan received her BA in Art History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2018) and her MA from the University of Chicago (2019) with a thesis on the production and display of glass mirror table screens at Emperor Qianlong’s court.