Curated by Yongwoo Lee and Hans Ulrich Obrist, the Shanghai Project Chapter 2 exhibition Seeds of Time will launch on April 22, 2017. The show takes its title from the documentary of the same name, which follows visionary 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 Seed Vault consists of a seed collection on a scale larger than any other. Sharing the documentary’s call for action regarding the climate situation, the Shanghai Project seeks to explore sustainability in order to better understand possible solutions for urgent environmental problems.
The exhibition will present the projects of its five Shanghai Project Root Researchers including Sophia Al-Maria (artist) and team members: Vera Mey (independent curator) and Alvin Tran (choreographer); Bruno Latour (anthropologist) and team members: Martin Guinard-Terrin (artist), Jamie Allen (designer), òbelo (graphic design studio consisting of designer Claude Marzotto & visual artist Maia Sambonet), and Donato Ricci (design lead); Otobong Nkanga (visual artist) and team members: Adib Dada (architect), Helena Ramos (producer), Sun Haiyan (Business Ecology co-founder), and Peter Webb (ecopsychologist); Qiu Anxiong (artist) and team members: Li Qian (documentarian) and Yang Lei (animator); and Zhang Haimeng (McKinsey Shanghai principal and managing partner) and team members: Chang Hsiao-Ching (copywriter), Feng Kai (game developer), Lu Yunbo (associate professor and director of the Organization Simulation Center at Tongji University), and Yin Zhongrui (entreprenuer).
Exploring the causes and effects of ecological transformation, Shanghai Project researchers and collaborators address sustainability through the lens of interdisciplinarity. For 100 days, Seeds of Time will engage with audiences through an exhibition, a publication, and public programs such as screenings, performances, workshops, and social interventions. Facing the specter of extinction, we seek to inspire discussion and action regarding the sustainability of our futures in the 22nd century and the potential for solutions through collaboration.
Chapter 2 Researchers participating in Seeds of Time include: aaajiao (new media artist), Etel Adnan (artist / poet), Alessandro Bava (ECOCORE editor and founder), Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Cai Guo-Qiang (artist), Chen Xi (artist), Ian Cheng (artist), COLLECTIVE (ideas-driven design studio), Leonardo da Vinci (inventor), Dai Zhikang (entrepreneur), Diller Scofidio + Renfro (interdisciplinary design studio), Liam Gillick (artist), Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster (artist), Thomas Hartung (professor of environmental health and engineering at Johns Hopkins University, and professor for pharmacology and toxicology at University of Konstanz), Adrian Hon (Six to Start co-founder / author), Huang Rui (artist), Jennifer Jacquet (assistant professor in the department of environmental studies at New York University), Stuart Kim (professor of developmental biology at Stanford University), Li Naihan (architect), Maya Lin (artist), Lin Shumin (artist), Little Sun (Founded by Olafur Eliasson & Frederik Ottesen), Liu Chuang (artist), Ken Liu (science-fiction writer), Gustav Metzger (artist), Katja Novitskova (artist), Yoko Ono (artist), David Pamies (research associate in CAAT at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health), Qiu Zhijie (artist), Sarah Schlesinger (artist), Seeds of Time, Miriam Simun (interdisciplinary artist), Wang Xu (artist), Yu Hong (artist).
In response to the theme Envision 2116, the Shanghai Project Chapter 2 opening weekend will be inaugurated with the day-long conference “A Vision for the Future” on April 21. Keynote speakers and roundtable participants Neal Benezra (SFMOMA director), Wang Min’an (professor of literary theory at Capital Normal University), Stuart Kim, Cai Qinghua (professor at the Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences with a focus in systems of ecology and watershed ecology), Wang Kaimei (curator), Dai Zhikang, Chen Houqi (World Natural Medicine Union vice president and WHC vice president), Sun Zuyue (World Health Organization director), Li Ding (Wuji Academy executive president and Shanghai Institute of Chinese Culture superintendent), Lin Shumin (artist), Nikolaus Hirsch (architect), Betty Ng (COLLECTIVE founder and director), Daan Roggeveen (principal architect), Sun Haiyan, and Yu Ting (architect) will explore collective and individual crises related to sustainability and ecology. Through the fields of hard and soft sciences, speakers will examine the current and evolving practices of traditional Chinese medicine, as well as literal and abstract conceptions of architecture.
The opening talk concert at Daguan Theatre the following day presents excerpts from the multi-disciplinary performance Frozen Songs inspired by the Global Seed Vault. The performance is a collaboration between Ina Christel Johannessen (choreographer and director, Zero Visibility Corp), Feng Jiangzhou and Zhang Lin (multimedia artists, Sifenlv Studio), with music by Stray Dogs. Frozen Songs is co-produced by Zero Visibility Corp, Ibsen International, and the Arctic Theatre. Other highlights include a sound performance by Du Yun (composer) with projected notation drawings by Thomas Tsang (architect), and Bells for Shanghai, a piece conceived by Yoko Ono and performed by Yang Fudong (filmmaker). The exhibition preview that same night will be punctuated by performances from Seeds of Time Researchers Miriam Simun and Wang Xu.
At its core the Shanghai Project acts as a platform for investigations within and including local communities. A series of specially designed workshops by Seeds of Time collaborators Ibsen International, Wang Xu, COLLECTIVE, and Shanghai Project’s curatorial team on April 23 will engage with audiences by inviting them behind the scenes of the Shanghai Project. Public programming will continue throughout the summer within the spaces of the exhibition, the Envision Pavilion, and the city of Shanghai, including screenings and workshops by researchers Peter Galison (professor of history of science and physics at Harvard University) and Rem Koolhaas (OMA founder and architect) respectively.
The Seeds of Time publication, to be released opening weekend, not only explores the projects within the exhibition, but also takes a broader look at Chapters 1 & 2. The work includes newly commissioned writings by Jennifer Jacquet, Bruno Latour, Ken Liu, Bruce Sterling (science-fiction author), as well as a visual essay by the late Chen Zhen (artist). 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 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.