By Wang Ge, ARTINFO China

Published: September 27, 2010

http://www.artinfo.com/news/story/35868/get-it-louder-exhibition-blasts-beijing-and-shanghai-with-contemporary-art/

BEIJING— After a brutally hot summer, Beijing’s inhabitants have been luxuriating in early autumn rain for days. And since September 19 the place to luxuriate has been the Sanlitun SOHO business compound, built by Beijing’s biggest real-estate developer, Pan Shiyi. There, one can mingle with artistic types, computer geeks, and assorted hipsters, all attending the young traveling exhibition Get It Louder, which will run in Beijing through October 10 and then move to Shanghai for a two-week season.

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Launched in 2005, Get It Louder started off as an exhibition series focused on young Chinese talent from the realms of art, design, music, and film. After two editions in 2005 and 2007, this year’s event seeks to address “sharism,” a term coined to capture the kind of freewheeling, communal spirit fostered by social media and the Internet.

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What is intriguing about this so-called biennial (which arrives one year late after the 2009 show was canceled due to the global economic crisis) is how cyber-activities have penetrated the creative sphere, and how art is flourishing in communal spaces such as shopping malls and commercial compounds instead of museums and galleries. This year’s theme examines how the boundaries between public spaces and the private realm are complicated by the Web.

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Event founder Ou Ning is one of the most interesting characters in China’s art scene today, all the more so for being so enigmatic. By turns urban activist, curator, writer, designer, artist, and filmmaker, Ou paired up a few years ago with independent media magnate Thomas Shao (of the Modern Media Group) to launch the Shao Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to stimulating cultural debate and production. Get it Louder is their most public activity and, like Ou himself, aims for a kind of ubiquity.

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Get It Louder 2010 features a huge range of events including artist talks, workshops, film screenings, and performances, with participants coming from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Europe, and the United States. Highlights include the work of collective Lv Xiao (the “Green School”), a group of cartoonists whose contribution to Get It Louder features hand-painted paper, sculpture, printed materials, and publications. Forget Art, which recently staged an art happening in a Beijing bathhouse, also puts in an appearance with “Object Transformer,” a piece that invites visitors to participate by leaving something from their pockets behind, which a team of 13 artists then manipulates and puts on display.

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Artist/activist Ai Weiwei and rocker Zuoxiao Zuzhou collaborated on “Munich Pork Hock,” which features stills from Ai’s recent documentary film about his trip to Chengdu to testify on behalf of imprisoned activist Tan Zuoren. (Tan, like Ai Weiwei himself, has fought to expose corrupt officials seeking to cover up the shoddy construction believed to have led to the high death toll during the catastrophic Sichuan earthquake of 2008.) The stills from the documentary are shown alongside Zuoxiao Zuzhou’s original compositions for the soundtrack.

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The film program is a particularly strong aspect of the traveling exhibition this year. Director Liu Jiayin is screening two films, her brilliantly drawn, award-winning portrait of a working-class Beijing family (her own, in fact), titled “Oxhide,” and its sequel, “Oxhide II.” Meanwhile Yang Rui’s experimental “Crossing The Mountain” presents an eerie story set in striking landscapes in southwest China among the Wa people, with whom the director lived for three years. Documentary filmmaker Zhang Zanbo presents “Falling From The Sky,” a long, slightly surreal documentary set in Suining, a small town in southern China within the impact zone for rocket debris from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. Last but not least, newcomer Xue Jianqiang blurs the line between documentary and sci-fi in “Martian Syndrome.”

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Literature makes its way into the Get It Louder program for the first time this year, with workshops by renowned Chinese writers including Han Dong, Zhu Wen, and Lu Yang, as well as London author Hari Kunzru and American author (and former Beijing resident) Roy Kesey. Meanwhile, in the design section, Cai Yuanhe exhibits a striking series of wood engravings titled “Non-place,” while Shanghai-based designer Liu Zhili offers “Outside,” an electronic sconce that doubles, in the true spirit of “sharism,” as an elaborate joke about the internet.