Exhibition: Seeds of Time
22 April - 30 July 2017
Yongwoo Lee & Hans Ulrich Obrist
Venues: Shanghai Himalayas Museum, Envision Pavilion, Zendai Zhujiajiao Art Museum
From its initial Chapter in 2016, the Shanghai Project has been an experiment, a laboratory for testing the boundaries of existing assumptions, and for considering how ideas might expand beyond the confines of individual silos of knowledge. For 100 days, Seeds of Time will engage with the public in Shanghai through an exhibition, a publication and public programs such as screenings, performances, workshops and social interventions. Facing the specter of extinction, the Shanghai Project seeks to inspire discussion and action regarding the sustainability of our futures in the 22nd century and the potential for solutions through interdisciplinary collaboration.
Envision Pavilion at the Shanghai Himalayas Center, designed by Sou Fujimoto
Seeds of Time
Curated by Yongwoo Lee and Hans Ulrich Obrist, the Shanghai Project Chapter 2 exhibition Seeds of Time will be inaugurated on April 22, 2017.
Taking its title from the documentary of the same name, which shares the project’s call for action regarding the climate situation, the exhibition seeks to explore sustainability so as to better understand possible solutions for urgent environmental and social problems.
Seeds of Time is a single chapter within ongoing investigations by Shanghai Project participants. With each new chapter, the ever-unfolding structure develops further beyond the biennial format to which it first responded. The exhibition will present the projects of Root Researcher interdisciplinary teams led by Bruno Latour, Sophia Al-Maria, Qiu Anxiong, Otobong Nkanga, and Zhang Haimeng, coming from one of five fundamental disciplinary frameworks.
Sophia Al-Maria: The Limerent Object, 2016
The contribution of Bruno Latour’s team “Reset Modernity! Shanghai Perspective” concentrates on a set of issues that modernity encounters at a time of deep ecological mutation. Sophia Al-Maria’s “The Limerent Object,” combines video, dance, and text in a series of offerings intended to future-proof and bless 2116. Venturing out into the city in the form of a bus, Qiu Anxiong imagines in “Route of the Future” what shape an underwater Shanghai may take in a century’s time, visually responding to science-fiction writer Ken Liu’s “Shanghai in 48 Hours, a Weekend Itinerary for International Visitors by Roaming Planets Guides, 2116.” Already fully realized in the fall of 2016, Otobong Nkanga’s “Landversation Shanghai” and Zhang Haimeng’s “Fast Forward Future” both connect to our conception of land and the role of technology in the future, respectively.
Otobong Nkanga: Landversation, 2016
Exploring the causes and effects of ecological transformation, Shanghai Project participants, address sustainability through the lens of interdisciplinarity. Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s “EXIT” quantifies and displays global human migratory conditions and causes, and explores their far-reaching consequences. Liu Chuang engages with the research of Thomas Hartung and David Pamies as well as that of Stuart Kim, shedding light on our efforts to find scientific solutions to environmental problems, while also suggesting the limits we encounter. Responding to the role of inventor and visionary Leonardo da Vinci, Li Naihan has developed “Mind Palace,” a virtual reality experience that explores the potential methods and practices of future polymaths.
Diller Scofidio + Renfro: EXIT, 2008-2015
Yoko Ono’s long commitment to spreading peace and love with humanity is embodied in different forms in the exhibition, including the performance “Bells for Shanghai,” sound installation “We’re All Water” and ongoing project “WISH TREE,” offering a glimpse of hope and comfort in the midst of intense discussion about how to affect change. The documentary “Seeds of Time” follows Cary Fowler as he champions the creation of the world’s first global seed vault. Located in Norway and a vital defense against rapid loss of crop diversity, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault consists of a seed collection on a scale larger than any other.
Svalbard Global Seed Vault, Norway
Maya Lin’s installation “What is Missing? Empty Room” is a tribute to vanished and endangered species and speaks to a sixth mass extinction. Seeds of Time also includes an homage to Gustav Metzger (1926-2017), a world renowned artist and tireless anti-consumerist, anti-capitalist activist who challenged us to act against extinction. Adapting the WH Auden quote, he wrote: “We must become idealists or die.”
Maya Lin: What is Missing? The Empty Room
Chapter 2 Seeds of Time participants
List of Individual Researchers and Root Researcher Teams
The Shanghai Project is organized by the Shanghai Himalayas Museum, co-organized by the Shanghai International Culture Association, with lead sponsors Envision Energy and Zendai Group.
Image on top: Still from “Seeds of Time,” Cary Fowler. Documentary film by Sandy McLeod, 2013. Courtesy of the Researcher.
(From press information
Press release, 21 March 2017)