Artist Shen Xin joins curator and writer Alvin Li for an intimate conversation in this online event. The two have maintained a longstanding friendship marked by frequent collaboration since 2015, despite being based in different countries. Shen’s work, consisting predominantly of moving images and performances, employs fictional and oftentimes queer encounters to confront the layered complexities of the world in all its multiplicity. They often confront historical traumas of colonialism and racism, further exacerbated by emergent technologies and ecological meltdown, as rehearsals to undermine dominant power structures through the creation and staging of interpersonal and affirmative spaces. Li, a curator with a background in LGBTQ+ activism, concerns himself with writing and building exhibition frames to excavate forms of alterity, insurgency, and counter-position in transnational visual and sonic cultures. Undergirding both of their practices is a commitment to—in Shen’s words—“[Empowering] alternative histories, relations, and potentials between individuals and nation-states.’ In lieu of a conventional studio visit, the two interlocutors will proceed by posing each other a series of questions informed by their ongoing research interests regarding ecology, language and translation, as well as the tactics and problematics of representation. Both Shen’s and other practitioners’ works will be discussed.
Shen Xin (b. 1990, Chengdu) creates moving image installations and performances that empower alternative histories, relations, and potentials between individuals and nation-states. They seek to create affirmative spaces of belonging that embrace polyphonic narratives and identities. Shen Xin’s most recent work, Brine Lake (A New Body), premiered in “Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning: Gwangju Biennale” (2021), and will have its North American premiere in their first US museum solo exhibition at Walker Art Center (2021). Shen Xin has been a visiting artist at numerous institutions, including Slade School of Fine Art, Goldsmith’s University London, University of Connecticut, and Newcastle University. They received the BALTIC Artists’ Award (2017) and held the Rijksakademie residency in Amsterdam (2018-19). Shen Xin practices on Miní Sóta Makhóčhe, the land of the Dakhóta Oyáte, as well as in London, UK.
Alvin Li is a curator and writer based in Shanghai, China. He currently serves as The Adjunct Curator, Greater China, Supported by the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation, at Tate, London. Li is also the co-founder of CINEMQ, a Shanghai-based queer film and publishing collective that organizes monthly screenings focusing on East Asian queer independent productions.