V&A Ox

French Connection Friday Late

Friday 30 January, 2009. 6.30-10pm
V&A Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7

Sarah Baker & Andy Hsu David Blamey & Craig Richards Celine Condorelli / Support Structure feat. 718, ISAN, Isambard Khroustaliov and Zafka Anthony Gross Lu Chunsheng Tai Shani Yan Jun
I-Ching Readings Keliang Jiang / London Chinese Radio Lao Jianhua Curated by Jen Wu


In celebration of Chinese New Year and its rituals of folk-futurism, YEAR OF THE OX travels across contemporary and ancient, East and West, bringing together new and specially commissioned works by artists and musicians in China and the UK. Inspired by the current Chinese sound art scene, chance, mysticism, and dream collide in layered narratives and cosmic explorations as histories of influence and trajectories of progress - from the Industrial Revolution and global economy, to the I-Ching and John Cage - are revealed in an increasingly intermingled present of material and fantasy with a bold future-forward sensibility.

All photographs and video courtesy the V&A.

Yan Jun
01 taxi driver
02 drinking game
03 new year's eve
04 subway singer
05 step on snow
06 broken loudhailer
07 metro in sihuidong, beijing
08 dongsi beidajie
09 diabolo
10 eating noodles
11 xiang qi
12 she huo
13 news
14 a poet
15 dee
16 my heartbeat
17 happy new year
18 water pipe
19 crows in xiangshan
20 hulusi
21 a door
22 sound check
23 dogs and frogs
24 on a lake
25 machine
26 making iron pan
27 bells shop
28 silent tribute for earthquake
29 snore of a cat
30 hot spring steam drop
31 bird and tricycle
32 frying
33 test a microphone
34 road pipe
35 train lunch
36 throat singing lesson
37 bus
38 silo
39 before a microphone
40 workers


'Local Listening' by Yan JunRaphael Gallery

Specially commissioned for YEAR OF THE OX, Beijing-based sound artist Yan Jun presents a new installation composed of 40 pieces of field recordings. Headphones set at variable heights amidst a subtly movable landscape encourage visitors to construct their own sonic and physical vistas - self-assembled navigations of urban sounds, natural sounds, everyday life sounds, music, news and nonsense sounds from 'broken loudhailer' to 'silent tribute for earthquake' creating a sensorial politics of change and experience.


'Music for Museums' (2008)
by Celine Condorelli / Support Structure

'Music for Bookshop' by Isambard Khroustaliov V&A Shop
'Music for Gallery' by ISANChina Gallery 44
'Music for Café' by ZafkaCafé space
'Music for Bathroom' by 718 Bathroom

Music for Museums creates a soundtrack for museums using the history of the muzak corporation. Here featuring Beijing-based musicians 718 and Zafka as well as UK-based musician Isambard Khroustaliov and duo ISAN, each track was developed for a specific functional area within gallery and museum spaces, in the tradition of Erik Satie's 'furniture music'. Addressing the existing cultural and commercial typologies of the museum, Music for Museums reconsiders these spaces of 'neutrality' to stimulate a critical engagement as places of production.

music for shop

speakers china gallery
music for museums poster
blamey richards   'Quiet Place' by David Blamey and Craig Richards
Lecture Theatre. 20:00-21.30

Contemplative, sedative and alarming, this collaborative performance of multi-layered sound will goad the audience in and out of sleep. A live 'deep listening' improvisation by artist David Blamey and Fabric resident Craig Richards, this otherworldly sonic intoxication blurs the boundary between art and a DJ experience. The sound generated will induce slumber in perfect harmony with a wandering mind.

'History of Chemistry Vol. I'
(2004, 30 min)
'History of Chemistry II, Excessively restrained mountaineering enthusiasts' (2006, 96 min)
by Lu Chunsheng
Gallery 111 with sound spilling into Cast Courts
& Leighton Corridor 107

Lu Chunsheng's video-films contemplate the morphing symbols of our layered global imagination, constructing idiosyncratic narratives amidst the unstable remnants of shifting ideologies. Shanghai and London provide the setting for parts 1 and 2 respectively: wild pre- and post-industrial landscapes populated by sailors and gentlemen "lost or detached from reality, wandering around like somnambulant sleep-walkers." Depicted in a style that is simultaneously magical and hyper-real, absurdity, repetition, and new wave sensibilities relay a unique vision of contemporary China compellingly "weightless, and a little bit forward". Sound score for Part II composed by B6.

history chemistry 2
history chemistry 1
  'Tetragrammaton's Home in the Abyss: Reduced to 6' by Tai ShaniPoynter Room, Café
This performance runs on a durational cycle which lasts approximately 30 minutes

With over twenty performers, this fantastical and dreamlike live installation explores the cosmology of chance amidst the universe's multiple realities. The character of 'Kitty' is staged in 6 simultaneous scenarios, mute encounters with characters of heightened and disturbing allegory. Amidst Kitty's voiceover, the Cosmic Censor rings, bringing with it another cycle of changes, and in 6 successive casts of fortune, narrative possibility, choice and divination intertwine. With music by Guapo. Sound relayed through headphones provided at the performance by the Messenger Majorettes.

tetragrammaton busbytetragrammaton headphone
  'Sarah Baker and the Ominous Ox' by Andy Hsu & Sarah Baker Throughout the Museum

Blending Chinese folk mythology and the aesthetics of the traditional lion dance with a dash of Western contemporary bling, artist 'Sarah Baker' leads around an obstinate fortune-telling ox, made by Andy Hsu. Issuing mysterious messages of personalised destiny out of its third eye, this wandering oracle and its futuristic visions could portend an auspicious new year - if you are lucky...
sarah baker ominous ox
sculpture unit 1
sculpture unit 2
'Sculpture Unit - Made in Shanghai - Build Your Own City!'
by Anthony GrossGrand Entrance

Sculpture Unit is a modular component - a simple shape that can be endlessly combined, with visitors invited to assemble their own sculptural skyline. Designed by Anthony Gross and manufactured by specialist import/export companies in Shanghai and Ningbo, this seemingly self-replicating unit of chromed plastic refers to the open systems art of the 1960's via the cheap materials of products found in Chinese supermarkets. A study of global manufacturing 'abroad', its evolution here mirrors China's urbanisation buttressed by bamboo.

Accompanying the sculpture is Gross' film of a Shanghai recycling centre where labourers separate by hand the materials brought in on the backs of bicycles.
I-Ching readingsNational Art Library

One of the oldest Chinese scriptures, the I-Ching or 'Book of Changes' describes an ancient system of cosmology - a channel of divination underpinning Chinese philosophy revealed through chance, hexagrams and oracular texts.
i ching 1
i ching library
  Fortune BoatsSackler Centre Art Studio
Create your own New Year fortune boat with product designer and HSBC Designer in Residence Lao Jianhua.

Crafted in FoodSackler Centre Lunch Room
Explore Chinese New Year traditions of food sculpture with Lao Jianhua and have your masterpiece captured on camera.

The HSBC Designer in Residency programme is supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.
Chinese delicacies served in the V&A restaurant.
V&A restaurant
grand entrancekeliang Keliang Jiang from London Chinese Radio
Grand Entrance

Transonic transport to the shops, offices and karaoke clubs of China, Keliang Jiang plays the latest Mando- and Cantopop at the main entrance and bar.
    Shanghai World Expo Display Tour

How can design and innovation contribute to ideas of nationhood and cultural diplomacy? Explore the history of Expos with V&A curator Abraham Thomas through a journey examining key moments of design history such as the 1851 Great Exhibition, the 1951 Festival of Britain and ending with a sneak preview of the plans for the Shanghai World Expo in 2010.
V&A ox cards
With thanks to Rachel Francis and Ligaya Salazar, V&A Contemporary Programmes