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“China as an Issue” Lecture Series (4): Mobility and Suspension

Beijing Inside-Out Art Museum


Participants: Xiang Biao (Professor of Social Anthropology, Oxford University), Wu Xiaojun (artist), Yu Ying (artist)

Time: 14:00-17:00, Saturday, August 4, 2018

Venue: Conference Room, Beijing Inside-Out Art Museum

(No. 50 Xingshikou Road, Haidian District, Beijing)

The massive population and social mobility in China in the recent forty years, while generating stunning economic power, have also become a source of anxiety for individuals. Will the energy inherent in this mobility become a restlessness leading to self-exploitation, or the force for social change? Will mobility make us fickle and suspend our problems, or enable us to open up new space for existence? Concerning this issue, Beijing Inside-Out Art Museum invites scholar Xiang Biao, artists Wu Xiaojun and Yu Ying to participate in a conversation on how to feel, think, present and problematize the personal experience of Chinese people. Also, the art world today, in response to the social reality, is witnessing an increasing amount of participatory practices and works. Against this background, we wish to use the opportunity to confront and reflect the gesture, method, strategy and bewilderments we have when art gets involved in reality. The event will be the fourth lecture of the “China as an Issue” lecture series, initiated by Beijing Inside-Out Art Museum recently. 


Xiang Biao

Xiang Biao

Xiang Biao was born in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province in China in 1972. He received his bachelor and master degrees in sociology from Peking University in 1995 and 1998 respectively. Completing his PhD in Social Anthropology in Oxford University in 2003, he is now a professor of Social Anthropology there. His publications include Transcending Boundaries: Zhejiangcun: the Story of A Migrant Village in Beijing (Brill Academic Publishers, 2005), Global “Body Shopping”: An Indian International Labor System in the Information Technology Industry (Princeton University Press, 2006), and The Intermediary Trap: International Labor Recruiters and the Chinese State in Transition (Princeton University Press, forthcoming). His co-edited works include Return: Nationalizing Transnational Mobility in Asia (Duke University Press, 2013). Xiang Biao was awarded the Anthony Leeds Prize for Global ‘Body Shopping’ in 2008 and the William L. Holland Prize for “Predatory Princes and Princely Peddlers: The State and International Labor Migration Brokers in China” (Pacific Affairs, vol. 85, no. 1).

Wu Xiaojun

Wu Xiaojun

Wu Xiaojun graduated from Nanjing University of the Arts in 1988. He lives and works in Beijing. He has been working on various art forms from painting, sculpture, and photography to writing, slogan, action, and installation since the 1990s. He has been trying to build up new thinking platform and social model with autonomous subject of art. His attempts to make this acting aesthetic a day-to-day thing are supported by plentiful historical documents and socio-political events. To realize the potential of art as a power for liberation in the form of action and dialogues has been his main focus recently. He has participated in many art and social projects, and cooperated with some international art institutions, including the Finland Museum of Photography, Fukuoka Art Museum, Denver Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei, London Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), and The Japan Foundation, among many others.

Yu Ying

Yu Ying

Yu Ying (b. 1987) is the founder and member of BALCONY COLLECTIVE. He graduated from Tsinghua University (BA) in 2009 and graduated from China Central Academy of Fine Arts (MFA) in 2012. He was the recipient of numerous awards, including Today Art Museum 10 Years Retrospective Special Award (2015), the Finalist of Focus on Talents Project (2011), Finalist of Chinese New Painting Award (2011), Yang Feiyun Art Award (2009), etc. He has exhibited extensively at many major museums and institutions around the world, such as Contemporary Arts Museum Houston & Asia Society Texas Center (Houston, USA); Gaîté Lyrique (Paris, France); Mastio della cittadella (Turin, Italy); Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin, Germany); Power Station of Art (Shanghai, china); National Art Museum of China (Beijing, China). His works are broadly collected by museums and public collections, including Today Art Museum; CAFA Museum, Beijing, China; Tsinghua University Museum; Hong Kong Contemporary Art Museum.

About “China as an Issue” Lecture Series

“China as an Issue” is a continuation and upgraded version of the “Interim Meetings”,  an academic project initiated by Beijing Inside-Out Art Museum in 2017. We start the project in consideration of the specificity of our practice, because China, as the place and settings where our practice takes place, is our existence and reality. Another consideration relates to the situation that our peers within and without China have displayed excessive neglect of the issues of China as well as the thoughts and practices generated here. We question and criticize the revelry and fantasy resulted from the flattening of history and cultural relativism in global discourses. “China as an Issue” is not a slick mirror image that responds to the opportunistic actions in the dominant nationalist narrative, nor does it present an insular tendency to reject foreign theories in the research of domestic issues. Rather, it is the foundation of our practice and vision, as well as  the boundary to be challenged; it is a critical viewpoint born out of cultural, historical and political relatedness instead of exclusiveness. We would like to invite and call upon our peers in the art and academic circles to participate in our following lectures, exhibitions, publications, and to start the debate and discussion on “China as an Issue”.