The Research, Writing and Practice of Postmodern Visual Narrative 后现代视觉叙事的研究、书写与实践
The Abode of Anamnesis
The Research, Writing and Practice of Postmodern Visual Narrative
March 8, 2019
Venue: Auditorium, 1st Floor, OCAT Institute
The first symposium of the exhibition will take place at the OCAT Institute on the opening day of the exhibition. Centered around the theme “The Research, Writing and Practice of Postmodern Visual Narrative”, the symposium consists of two different panels: “Narrative Turn in Contemporary Art: Theory and Practice” and “Vision of Contemporary Photographic Narrative”. Researchers from various disciplines in China and abroad are invited to talk about different issues related to the research, writing and practice of visual narratives in the global art industry, with the aim of promoting cross-media and cross-disciplinary research on theories of visual narratives.
Panel I: Narrative Turn in Contemporary Art: Theory and Practice
Moderator：Wang Huan (Writer, Curator, Winner of the Fifth International Awards for Art Criticism)
From the 1990s to date, research on postmodern narratives has been flourishing in fields such as literature, film and video art for nearly 30 years. Theories born in different areas of study, including semiotics, art history and iconology, are widely used in the research and writing of visual narratives and have deepened the dialogue between different cultures and disciplines. At the same time, artists are constantly redefining the boundaries of visual narratives through the use of new media, ingenious constructions of their work and creative ways of presentation. “Narrative Turn in Contemporary Art: Theory and Practice” focus on the research and practice of narratives in contemporary art in China and the West. The panel will explore different media such as film, video and photography as well as their connection to traditional literary narratives and the mutual construction between the two.
10:00-11:30 Guest Talks
From Representation to Collage: Aesthetic Turn of Postmodern Photographic Narrative
Speaker: Long Diyong (Professor of Art Theory, Department of Art, Southeast University)
Observations from a Meta-perspective: History, Media and Science Oriented Practices
Speaker: Wang Ziyun (Curator, Researcher, PhD Candidate at Tsinghua University)
Speaker: Yang Beichen (contemporary art & film researcher, a lecturer at the Central Academy of Drama)
Photographic Image and Its Dwellings: A Pictorial History of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Speaker: Zhu Xinwei (English Professor, School of Foreign Languages, Beijing Forestry University)
11:30-11:45 Coffee Break
11:45-12:20 Panel Discussion
Guests: Wang Huan, Long Diyong, Wang Ziyun, Yang Beichen, Zhu Xinwei, Yang Yuanyuan, Chen Min, Dong Yuxiang, He Yining
Panel II: Vision of Contemporary Photographic Narrative
Moderator: He Yining (Writer, Curator)
Communicating meanings through elaborately constructed images and incorporating photos into macro- or micro-narratives by freeing them from their representational functions and reordering them are both strategies used by creators of contemporary photographic narratives in their attempt to break from traditional narratives. Due to the richness of the photographic language and its complicated relationship with other narrative media, “Vision of Contemporary Photographic Narrative” will focus on a series of questions closely related to contemporary photographic narratives: Can we use postmodern theories on narrative in the formulation of a set of analytic strategies for image narratives? Why should we construct narratives through photography when video art has been fully developed? What do photographic narratives have in common with literary and cinematic narratives and what are the differences? Does the popularity of photobooks worldwide play an important role in the current trend of photographic narratives?
14:00-15:30 Guest Talks
The narrative in the Single Photograph: When, How and Why?
Speaker: Greg Battye (Adjunct Professor, University of Canberra, School of Art and Design)
1+1=3: The Mechanics of Photobookwork Practice
Speaker: José Luís Neves (Lecturer in Photography, the University of Ulster in Belfast, UK)
Publishing: “Artificial Landscape” in Contemporary Image Art
Speaker: Shi Zhen (artist, independent publisher)
Fictional Narrative: Photography as Pseudo-Archive
Speaker: He Bo (Artist, Editor of Chinese Photography magazine)
15:30-15:50 Coffee Break
15:50-16:30 Panel Discussion
Guests: Greg Battye, José Luís Neves, Shi Zhen, He Bo, Li Lang, Zhu Lanqing, He Yining
Abstracts of Speeches
Long Diyong: From Representation to Collage: Aesthetic Turn of Postmodern Photographic Narrative
Since the invention of photography, it has been recognized as a way of representing external reality in the form of an image. Nevertheless, a single photograph can rarely tell a story clearly in all its complexity. More often than not, photographic narratives (such as photojournalism reports) tell stories with ordered series of photographs instead of individual photographs. In traditional photographic practices, authenticity is required for both individual photographs and ordered series; in other words, when it comes to visual narratives like photojournalism reports, deceit is strictly forbidden, and photographers have to ensure that every photograph represents the reality of each narrative as faithfully as possible.
With the emergence of the digital image and its wide application, however, aesthetic doctrines of traditional photographic practices have gradually come undone. At the same time, a new concept of photographic narrative with characteristics of postmodern aesthetics begins to develop. “Through appropriation, transformation, reprocessing and re-synthesis, digital images give meaning and value to calculated, ready-made objects; we have entered the age of digital collage.” According to Fredric Jameson, digital collage is one of the most prominent features/techniques of postmodernism. As a matter of fact, photographic narratives—in a very specific way—testify to the essential characteristics of postmodern narratives with their diverse narrative devices and ever-changing visual styles.
Wang Ziyun: Observations from a Meta-perspective: History, Media and Science Oriented Practices
In recent years, theories and practices of contemporary art have been evolving in an ever more fluid environment. We are caught in the colorful chaos that has resulted from our changing understanding of narratives. On one hand, history-oriented narratives have freed themselves from simple ways of representation based on time periods, biographic information and events, etc. and turned toward subtler and more complicated dynamics, and they tend to follow the logic of “documents & archives” and “little narratives”. On the other hand, the “implosion” of information based on internet media is creating a new kind of time-space relationship and subjective consciousness that play out both internally and in social mechanisms with the help of the internet- and media-based artistic practices. Finally, the integration of science and art gives birth to new ways of visualizing and perceiving the world, which constantly incites our curiosity and excitement toward new things. Whether we are heading toward trouble or progress, we are at a pivotal point in our investigation of biopolitics. Based on these premises, this talk will explore specific issues such as artistic creation, artwork and concept, exhibition and display, as well as an institutional practice.
Yang Beichen: Narrative of Scale
“Scale” has always been the driving force behind narratives, though we may easily overlook its significance. From the ocean in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick to the description of fossil fuels in Victorian literature, and to the high value placed on object-oriented aesthetics in contemporary art and literature, an entanglement of scales between human and nonhuman entities can always be found in the undercurrent. The confrontation between geological time and individual time, as well as that between deep time and the political/ethical time of the human world, give birth to a contemporary consciousness of speculative history that keeps pushing us to reconsider the meaning and structure of the time we are living in on a planetary scale. In this talk, I will use the works of several artists and writers as examples to discuss the evolution and potential of scale as a narrative form/chain and to analyze how concepts like the Anthropocene has become a new kind of narrative prototype.
Zhu Xinwei: Photographic Image and Its Dwellings: A Pictorial History of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published in London as an illustrated children’s book in 1865. Although it was written for children, the book has provided generations of readers with unlimited room for imagination. Even today, the story is still being retold and rewritten in literature, drama, films, paintings, plastic arts, video games and pop culture. Alice’s story not only fascinates readers, audiences and participants alike, but also serves as an inspiration for artists such as Salvador Dali, Yayoi Kusama and Jan Švankmajer. Carroll’s work even caught the attention of French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. In an essay titled “Lewis Carroll”, Deleuze argues that Alice keeps moving between surfaces. In Logic of Sense, Deleuze discusses several philosophical issues using Carroll’s literary works as examples. He believes that, in addition to Carroll’s wordplay and utilization of linguistic absurdity, the relationship between Alice’s story and image has also raised a few questions that are worth exploring. In this talk, we will start from images based on Alice’s story and proceed to explore the relationship between image, object and movement through close readings of literary materials, photography, early films and stop-motion animations.
Greg Battye: Narrative in the Single Photograph: When, How and Why?
This talk addresses a specific question raised by the project “Picturing Histories: Historical Narratives in the Contemporary Chinese Photograph,” namely: what does photographic narrative have in common with literary and cinematic narrative, and what are the differences?
While narratives may be attached to photographs in a number of different modes and circumstances, the main focus of this talk is a relatively unusual phenomenon: the self-contained narrative in a single photograph. Using comparisons with the established tradition of narrative painting, this talk will firstly examine the conditions under which a single picture of any kind, without support from textual information or from other pictures in a sequence, might have narrative qualities. An interdisciplinary framework is applied to several examples to show why it is more difficult for a single photograph to be a narrative than it is for a painting to be a narrative. And from this discussion, some attributes are derived that might allow particular kinds of single photograph to be genuine — though very limited — narratives. To further clarify the significance of narrative as a quality which inhabits a wide variety of media, but which works differently in each medium, the nature of narrative in films and novels is compared, and briefly contrasted with photographs.
José Luís Neves: 1+1=3: The Mechanics of Photobookwork Practice
Despite the numerous photobook surveys published in the last decade – mostly focused on expanding the geographical and thematic classification of photobook practice proposed by Martin Parr and Gerry Badger in The Photobook: A History (2004, 2006) – not many studies have attempted to trace and expose the inner workings of this particular type of photobook. This lecture attempts to uncover the potential grammar of this practice by focusing on what Alex Sweetman has called ‘photobookworks’, that is, photographic books in which photographic images and sequences compose the core narrative of the book. The talk, which will examine three specific artistic and historical punctuations, will begin by investigating the early stages of photobookwork practice and the development of narrative montage during the 1920s. This analysis will be followed by an investigation of photobookwork practice during the 1960s and 1970s and the impact of appropriation and conceptual art upon the artistic use of photographic images in book form. The final segment of the lecture examines contemporary photobookwork practice vis-à-vis the above punctuations. It will attempt to interpret current bookmaking methodologies and understand how narrative montage, structural investigation and discourse based on sampling and remix practices have shaped a complex and multiform contemporary photobookwork field.
Shi Zhen: Publishing: “Artificial Landscape” in Contemporary Image Art
La Maison de Z is an artistic research project based on image publishing with the goal of discovering and exploring the possibilities of image narrative through editing and publishing practices. As an artist publisher, La Maison de Z is not only the “ferryman” between artists’ books and their readers in the traditional sense of publishing but also the creator of the “artificial landscape” of narrative. Based on these premises, the speaker will use the publication process of several artists’ books as examples to discuss the similarities and differences between photographic narratives and narratives in literature and film, as well as how we can incorporate other art forms, such as music, architecture, drama and dance, in the narrative agent of artists’ books.
He Bo: Fictional Narratives: Photography as Pseudo-Archive
Today, more and more photographic artworks have adopted fictional archives as a narrative strategy to encourage contemplation on two overlapping questions: “How can photography become archive?” and “How can photography forge archive?” This talk will focus on issues related to the strategies, rules and methods of fictional photographic archives, and the discussion will revolve around three main topics: (1) how contemporary photographic artworks question “truth”, including the truth of archival materials; (2) how photographers reengage in history by examining, correcting, rewriting or even modifying archival materials; and (3) the illusion or pseudo-truth artists create with the interaction between text and photographs or other images that can be used as “evidence”. These strategies also raise questions concerning power, institution, domain, order, history, memory and media, which combine to form the utopia of photography as an archive; in this utopia, the “fictional” is ever searching for an opening to override the lies of “truth”.
Long Diyong (b. 1972) was born in Yichun, Jiangxi. He is a doctor of literature and holds postdoctoral degrees in literary science and art. He currently works as a professor and doctoral advisor at the School of Arts at Southeast University and serves as the secretary-general of the narratology division of the China Association for Sino-foreign Literature and Art Theory. His research focuses on narratology, iconology and comparative studies of the image-text relationship. He has led several major projects sponsored by the National Social Science Fund of China and provincial governments and has received several provincial awards. He has published more than 100 scholarly articles in academic journals such as Theoretical Studies in Literature and Art, Foreign Literature Studies, Comparative Literature in China and Academic Research, many of which have been republished in Xinhua Digest, Chinese Social Science Digest, Chinese University Academic Abstracts and the Renmin University of China database. Long is the first scholar in China to come up with the concept “spatial narratology”. His work, A Study of Spatial Narrative, was included in the National Achievements Library of Philosophy and Social Sciences in 2013. Currently, Long’s research focuses on cross-media narratology between literature and art. Outside academia, Long also writes creatively. He has published a prose collection titled “Searching for the Poetic”.
Wang Ziyun, Curator, researcher, a doctoral student in the Academy of Arts & Design, Tsinghua University. Wang Ziyun graduated from Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 2016, majoring in art criticism theory and practice. The same year, he started and founded Chaos Art Space in Chongqing. He also engaged in exhibition practice, art history research and critical writing. He curated The Second Micro-Curatorial Project Light, Heat, Power! that hosted with Frank F. Yang Art and Education Foundation in Shanghai, and as a finalist participated in Emerging Curators Project at Power Station of Art, as a researcher participated in the research program From a History of Exhibitions Towards a Future of Exhibition Making - Curatorial Practices in Asia at Rockbund Art Museum, in 2018. He attended the first and the second HUAYU ART FORUM in 2016 and 2017. His articles are published in Yishu, Artforum.cn, etc.
Zhu Xinwei, PhD in Literature (Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies, University of Essex, UK, 2018), MA in Anglo-American Literary Theory and Cultural Studies (Foreign Literature Research Institute, Beijing Foreign Studies University, 2013). She is now a lecturer in the English Department, Beijing Forestry University, teaching course in English Literature. Her research interests are word-image relationship in 19th century English literature, cultural history, material practice and media technology, nature and arts. She was co-editor of the 2017 Long Reading Project Special issue "Art and Waste" for Art World Magazine (Oct 2017)
Greg Battye is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Art and Design at the University of Canberra. He has completed his Doctorate at Wollongong in 2001 on connections between photography and narrative theory. Since then he has branched out further into explorations of narrative forms and structures, in both conventional and non-conventional writing and in areas of cultural production not ordinarily seen as narrative. He has supervised and co-supervised a wide range of Masters and PhD students in areas as diverse as video production, sports history, creative writing (novels and screenplays), classics, psychophysics, and interface design. His publication includes Photography, Narrative, Time: Imaging Our Forensic Imagination.
José Luís Neves is currently a Lecturer in Photography at University of Ulster in Belfast, UK. He completed his PhD at the same institution in 2017 under the supervision of Prof, Paul Seawright, Prof. Donovan Wylie and Prof. Martin Parr. Before his current work and research in Belfast, he completed the Photographic History and Practice postgraduate programme at De Montfort University, in Leicester. Between 2010 and 2012 he worked at the Wilson Centre for Photography in London as a cataloguer and assistant curator. His main areas of research include the history and historiography of the photobook, artist's book history and practice, photographic technology, photographic history and visual narrative. His current research work focuses on understanding the historical and material development of photobook and photobookwork practice.
Shi Zhen is an artist and independent publisher. She has produced a diverse body of work comprising of photograph, artist’s book and video. Her work has been included in exhibitions and festivals in China and Europe, more recently at Lianzhou Photo Festival, Lianzhou, China (2018), Beijing Zhengguan Art Gallery, Beijing, China (2018), Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, Beijing, China (2018), OCAT Shanghai and Shenzhen, China (2017 & 2018), Festival La Gacilly, France (2017), Festival Circulation(s), Paris, France (2017), Espace Emergency, Vevey, Switzerland (2017), Les Rencontres d’Arles, France (2016), etc. Shi Zhen was received Emerging Photographer in Festival Photo La Gacilly, France (2017), and Tribew Awards, France (2016). She was nominated for Les Rencontres d’Arles Photobook Award (Photo-Text), France (2016), Mack First Book Award, UK (2016) and the 10th Three Shadows Photography Award, Beijing, (2018), Foam Paul Huf Award, Netherlands (2019).
He Bo is an artist and editor of Chinese Photography magazine. Born in Deyang, Sichuan province, China, 1989. He studied in Nanchang University, Beijing Film Academy and the University of Paris VIII and graduated from Beijing Film Academy with an MA in 2015. Working as an editor in Chinese Photography magazine, he planned several feature stories which revolve around themes such as “The Recreation of Found Images", “Contemporary African Photography”, “Photography as Tool”, “Thomas Ruff”, etc.. His practice in art focuses on subject matters including found image, amateur photography, disasters and incidents of violence, approaches ideas of the narrative relationship between images and text, as well as the fictive nature of archives and memories. He was shortlisted in the Foam Talent Call 2018 (the Netherlands) and the 9th Three Shadows Photography Awards (China). His articles have been publishing in magazines and publications such as Foam, Chinese Photography, Digital Photography, Photographers’ Companion, Photo World, Photography Is Art, Chinese Photographers, Analysis of Personal Cases of 100 Chinese Post-85s Photographers from Natural Growth.
Wang Huan is a Beijing-based writer, curator. He has tried practising a kind of anti-stylistic writing and has published a series of art reviews in various public media such as ARTFORUM, LEAP Magazine, Jiazazhi Magazine, Art World Magazine, ARTSHARD and Ray Art Center’s Reviews. He has also curated a list of exhibitions including Objects That Have Been Intruded (a programme of Jimei Arles International Photo Festival 2016), Finalist Exhibition of 2016 New Talent Award (Chronus Art Center (CAC), 2017), etc. He won the first prize of the 5th International Award for Art Criticism (IAAC) in 2018.
HE Yining (born. 1986), curator and writer of photography. Graduate of London College of Communication, University of the Arts London. In 2010, she began to work as a curator, translator, and writer specializing in photography and visual culture. Her work is principally focused on the way in which photography is able to freely straddle the boundaries of contemporary art, responding to and raising questions about contemporary and historical social issues through effective, diverse, and interdisciplinary means. Yining's exhibitions have been held in museums, art museums and galleries, and other institutions in China and Europe. Her publications include "Photography in the British Classroom," and "The Port and the Image," among others. Further information and detailed descriptions of her work can be found on her website, www.heyining.com.
“尺度”（Scale）从来都是叙事发生的动力，只不过我们很可能对此视熟视无睹——从梅尔维尔（Herman Melville）《白鲸》（Moby Dick）中的海洋，抑或维多利亚时期小说中对于化石能源的描述，到今天当代艺术与文学对于以客体为导向美学（object-oriented aesthetic）的推崇，其背后都酝酿着某种介于人与非人（nonhuman）间的“尺度纠缠”（entanglement of scales）。地质时间（geological time）与个体时间、非人的深层时间（deep time）与人的政治/伦理时间的遭遇与对峙，催生出一种当代的思辨历史意识，其不断促逼着我们在行星尺度（planetary scale）上重新思考所处时代的意义与结构。在此次的讨论中，我将借助若干艺术家与写作者的工作，探讨尺度作为一种叙事形式或链条的演变与可能性，并分析如“人类纪”（Anthropocene）这样的概念如何成为新的叙事原型。
尽管过去十年间有海量的摄影书调查报告出版——大部分聚焦于拓展马丁·帕尔（Martin Parr）和格里·巴杰（Gerry Badger）在《摄影书的历史》（The Photobook: A History）中提出的基于地理与主题的摄影书实践分类——鲜少有研究试图探索与揭示这种特殊类型的摄影书的内在机制。此次讲座通过关注亚历克斯·斯威特曼（Alex Sweetman）所讨论的“摄影书作品（photobookworks）”，暨由摄影图像与摄影序列构成了核心叙事的摄影书，以揭开此种实践的内在语法。整个发言将考察三个特别的艺术与历史节点，首先将研究“摄影书作品”实践的早期阶段及1920年代叙事蒙太奇的发展。随后将对20世纪60年代和70年代的摄影书作品实践进行调查，并且考察挪用和观念艺术对于艺术家以书本形式，艺术化地使用摄影图像的影响。演讲的最后一个部分将考察与以上节点相关联的当代“摄影书作品”实践，试图解释当下书籍制作的方法论并理解叙事蒙太奇、结构研究以及基于样本和混合实践的话语是如何塑造了一个复杂而多样的当代摄影书作品的领域。
“真姨书房（La Maison de Z）”是一个基于影像出版的研究型艺术项目，试图通过编辑和出版实践不断挖掘与探索影像叙事的可能性。作为艺术家的出版人（Artist publisher）在某种意义上既是传统出版中作品与读者间的“摆渡人”，也是叙事这一“人造风景”的建构者。在此基础上，发言人将通过数个出版案例探讨摄影与文学、电影叙事的异同，以及如何将音乐、建筑、戏剧、舞蹈等其他艺术形式运用到“书”这一叙事载体中。
王子云，策展人、研究者，清华大学美术学院博士生，现居北京。2016年毕业于四川美术学院美术学系艺术批评理论与实践专业，同年发起并创办灰空间（Chaos Art Space）。主要从事策展实践、艺术史研究与批评写作。2018曾策划杨锋艺术与教育基金会主办的第二届“微征集”项目“Light, Heat, Power!”（留下空间，上海），并入围上海当代艺术博物馆“青策计划“；作为“亚洲策展实践项目”研究员，参与上海外滩美术馆关于1990年代展览史的课题研究。参加首届及第二届华宇艺术论坛（2016、2017）并撰文；也曾为《艺术论坛》（Artforum）、《Yishu（典藏国际版）》等媒体供稿。
杨北辰，当代艺术与电影研究者。先后毕业于法国巴黎第十大学与北京电影学院，以论文《作为档案的电影》（Film as Archive）获得电影历史与理论博士学位；并作为资深编辑在《艺术论坛》（Artforum）中文网工作多年；现任教于中央戏剧学院，并担任新世纪当代艺术基金会特约研究员。他长期致力于当代艺术与电影研究之间的跨领域工作，曾发起并策划多项运动-影像的展览与放映活动，如“世界的散文”（OCAT当代艺术中心，深圳）、“现代性巫术或偶像破坏者”（中央美术学院美术馆，北京）、“王兵：经验与贫乏”（魔金石空间，北京），“新冶金者”（Julia Stoschek Collection，杜塞尔多夫）等；并担任过北京独立影像展（2012）、中国独立影像展（2013）、FIRST青年电影展（2016）与北京国际短片联展（2017）的评委，以及“拜德雅•人文丛书”与“新迷影丛书”的编委会委员。目前主要从事当代运动-影像理论、媒体考古学与新物质主义方面的研究。其博士论文《作为档案的电影》即将付梓。
石真，艺术家，独立出版人。现居巴黎，以摄影、手工书及混合材料为媒介进行创作。石真的作品在国内外广泛展出，近期展览包括连州摄影节（2018），北京正观美术馆（2018），北京三影堂摄影奖作品展（2018），上海/深圳OCAT“听我说”（2017&2018），法国La Gacilly摄影节（2017），巴黎Circulation(s)摄影节（2017），瑞士沃韦Emergency艺术空间（2017），法国阿尔勒摄影节（2016），上海abC艺术书展（2016）等。曾获法国La Gacilly新锐摄影奖（2017），台北Wonder Foto Day评审奖（2017），法国Tribew摄影奖（2016），阿尔勒摄影节摄影书奖提名（Photo-Text Award）（2016），英国Mack First Book Award提名（2016），入围第十届三影堂摄影奖（2018），并入选2017年度挪威Sunnhordland美术馆艺术家驻地项目。
何博，艺术家，《中国摄影》杂志编辑。1989年出生于四川德阳，北京电影学院艺术学硕士，2014年赴巴黎第八大学艺术、哲学与美学学院交流。曾围绕“现成图像的再创作”“当代非洲摄影”“作为工具的摄影”“托马斯·鲁夫”等主题为《中国摄影》杂志进行专题策划。艺术实践涉及现成图像、业余影像、灾难与暴力事件、记忆与虚构等方向。入选荷兰Foam Talent Call 2018，2017年第9届三影堂摄影奖等。作品和文章发表于《Foam》《中国摄影》《数码摄影》《摄影之友》《摄影世界》《摄影是艺术》《中国摄影家》《自然生长：百名85后中国摄影师个案剖析》等刊物。