Social Sensibility R&D Program | forget art

Tag: Social Sensibility R&D Program

25 八月
by An Xiao on August 24, 2012
from HYPERALLERGIC
“I want to feel the sun on my skin,” a slogan artist Ma Yongfeng pulled from conversations with workers at Bernard Controls Beijing.

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LOS ANGELES — The image of the Chinese manufacturing plant is quickly becoming a 21st century icon of production, just as the car plants of Fordism were in the 20th century and Victorian coal mines were during the Industrial Revolution. They’re frequently portrayed as sites of high efficiency, but rarely as spaces for art, humanity and wonder.

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In 2010, Beijing-based Italian artist Alessandro Rolandi staged a series of interventions in a Beijing factory run by Frenchman Guillaume Bernard. These well-received interventions have now become a curated series of invitationals to local artists.

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“After several intense and spontaneous conversations about the nature of work, capitalism, human development, corporate structure, radical art, future and creativity,” Rolandi explained over email. “I designed a program that invites every two months one artist/designer/architect/musician to intervene in the factory in a subtle but radical way to stimulate discussion, raise questions and confront the reality of work with a different angle, straight on the field, without any mediation.”

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Determined that should be predominantly experimental in nature, Rolandi still drew a strong connection to his goal of tying the work to labor: “We invented a definition using enterprise language to give legitimacy to the project and make it understandable (at least its general nature) to people working in companies,” he noted. And so the name of the project was born: Social Sensibility R&D Program, situated at Bernard Controls Asia.

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The work has become embedded in the, well, work of the factory. Take Ma Yongfeng‘s series of spray painted slogans. “The owner now uses his sentence sprayed on the wall ‘INVEST IN CONTRADICTION’ as the first thing to be discussed in  job-interviews with new employees,” Rolandi points out. “Workers and managers had mixed feelings about the tags and felt all in need to discuss them.”

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The stencils themselves are re-interpretations of Chinese propaganda, lifted from conversations with workers and reflective of the strict systems of control.

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Rolandi also noted the effort of Lulu Li to provide ambient music for workers. “Even in Europe in most factories, listening to music is now forbidden for various reasons, from safety to concentration, and here we tried with these small devices and rhytmic compositions from classical to experimental to noise (avoiding words, as they are proved to affect concentration),” he says. After a series of negotiations with floor managers, Li and Rolandi agreed to only play music on Fridays, at least for the moment.

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There’s a tension to the idea that the artists, at the behest of top brass, can move around freely and explore interventions, while the workers themselves must remain in optimal flow under the strict rules enforced and determined by the very same management. The artists of the Social Sensibility R&D Program are not oblivious to this.

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“Our interventions must be conceived in order to interact with the physicality of the area and with the conceptual codification of the signs and of the different working sections,” Rolandi said. “Timing is also very important as precise schedules define the rhythm and the flows. ”

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Beijing-based art critic Edward Sanderson, who visited the plant, had this to say about the space in a terrific review in Artslant:

This particular factory is unlike the cliché of a Chinese factory: you won’t find thousands of workers performing mundane and repetitive tasks over long conveyor belts in an airless hanger. This factory is relatively small, with about a hundred staff, of whom only twenty to thirty actually work on assembling the product. The work areas are also relatively discrete in terms of their interior design. Rolandi says it’s not an environment where you feel you have no way out, where everything is under surveillance. But at the same time, “No matter how you look at it, it’s still a factory.”

Sanderson goes on to explore Rolandi’s own initiation into the workers’ lives by undergoing the training procedures and entering the world of high-efficiency production, as well as some of the questions he wrestled with. It calls to mind some of the work done by Cao Fei with factory workers in southern China, where the majority of the manufacturing sector is concentrated. Her PRD Anti-Heroes and Whose Utopia project looked at types of similar work.

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Unlike Sanderson, I’ve not seen the interventions in person, so I can’t comment on their merits per se. But seeing the videos and speaking with the artists, I find that what makes Social Sensibility interesting is Rolandi’s choice to invite artists to stage interventions in two-month phases. The in and out of the artists over time reflects the rhythms of factory life, and the diversity of perspectives allows for a certain freshness to each intervention.

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The turnover of the creative people,” said Rolandi, “is designed to provide a constant tension around the next new ‘intruder’, his proposal and the way it will be received and dealt with, and prevent habit and comfort to settle in.”

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The Social Sensibility R&D Program is an ongoing project at Bernard Controls Beijing (A2-1, Lidaxing Industrial Zone, No.15, Fourth JingHai Road, Economic & Technological Development Area, Beijing).



27 四月


25 四月

Social Sensibility R&D Program founded and directed by Alessandro Rolandi

Project n.2

artist: MA YONGFENG

title: INVEST IN CONTRADICTION

date: april 25/26  2012

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In Chinese industrial tradition, revolutionary quotes, generally from Mao’s poems, speeches or writings were often painted in large characters on the walls of the factories where millions of workers had to see them everyday.

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MA YONGFENG will re-interpret this aspect of Chinese propaganda, creating 7 large graffitis in Bernard Controls Beijing.

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The sentences will be chosen from random conversations with the workers or the managers, picked from the panels of the working rules, or from the factory’s safety procedures and other similar sources.

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Each sentence will explore an aspect of  life inside the working environment:    the need to adapt to a strict control system, the human desire to evade and dream, the pression of efficiency and the humour to be able to deal with all this.

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The walls of Bernard Controls Beijing will host a new subtle form of propaganda, the artistic propaganda for independent and creative thinking.

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Social Sensibility Research & Development Program

is project by Alessandro Rolandi and Bernard Controls.

[Beijing, Feb 2012 – Feb 2014]

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The Social Sensibility R&D Program is a biennal innovative strategic project with the aim to bring artistic research and creativity in contact with the working environment. It is structured around the idea to orient the artists’ work towards developing sensibility among workers, managers and the steering committee of Bernard Controls. Every 3 months, the program invites a professional of the creative field to deliver a project (any kind of media..) whose goal is to help developing new possibilities of human action and interaction within the factory. The long-term intention is to establish partnerships and collaborations with academic, financial, artistic and political structures to explore all the further application of such a model to the field of industry, social research and education.

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社会敏感性研究与发展计划项目

发起人、总监:Alessandro Rolandi

艺术家:马永峰

主题:新“大字报”

时期:2012年4月25/26

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从建国后到文化大革命时期,工厂墙壁上的大字报宣传流行于全国上下,工厂的人们每日都会看得到。大字报的内容多数来自于毛主席的诗句、演讲和文章。

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时过境迁,马永峰对大字报的宣传形式也有他自己的诠释。为此,他将会在Bernard Controls的工厂墙壁上创造7个“大字报”式的涂鸦作品。

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内容将会随机的从他和工人们或者管理人员的聊天中产生,也可能会是员工工作守则或安全生产程序中的任意一句,或其他类似的章程中的语句。

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这7句“大字报”所探讨的是员工的工作环境:他们必须要适应这种严格的工作程序、偶尔的逃避情绪和对梦想的追求、工作效率下的压力和如何用幽默来化解这些压力。

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Bernard Controls的墙壁将会巧妙的变成一个艺术性的独立、自由和创造的大字报宣传墙。

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社会敏感性的研究与发展计划

项目由李山和伯纳德控制设备(北京)有限公司合作

[北京, 2012年2月--2014年2月]

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社会敏感性的研发计划是一个创新的双年展战略计划,目的是带来艺术研究和在工作环境中的创造力。它是围绕一个观念,对艺术家和工人,管理者以及伯纳德控制设备(北京)有限公司(Bernard Controls)的委员会成员们一起工作时的理性思维的思想培养所创建的。每3个月,计划邀请创业领域的专业人士提供一个项目(任何媒体。。。),其目的是帮助发展在工厂内新的人类行为与互动的可能性。长期的打算是在学术、金融、艺术和政治结构上建立伙伴与合作关系,以探索行业、社会研究和教育领域的进一步应用模式。


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