2020 was an unforgettable and confusing year. To list some topics: a pandemic, trade war, travel ban, recession. To address some of these topics and imagine a future of post-pandemic, eight artists from China and the U.S. gathered on a virtual space for a cross-cultural artistic exchange project, Empathy Zone.
The participating artists from Beijing: Li Linlin, Duan Shaofeng, Ye Su, and Yin Yadi as well as the artists from DC: Sobia Ahmad, Antonio McAfee, Joseph Orzal, and Naoko Wowsugi. In addition to the cultural differences, the two capital cities are located on polar opposite ends with a twelve hour time difference. Yet they face quite similar social issues: gentrification, overdevelopment and commodification, migrants and immigrants, the loss of traditional folk culture, intense work pressure, and so on. Some of these are recurring topics in the participating artists’ life, work and art practice.
We originally planned to host on-site group exhibitions in both cities. Once COVID-19 entered our realities, we had to shift the project into a virtual format.
The online version of Empathy Zone is structured in three parts.
Part 1: Exhibition. Each artist’s key projects are featured.
Part 2: Exchange. Each pair of artists developed a dialogue through a Zoom interview.
Part 3: Envision. All artists proposed their vision of the Empathy Zone as a reflection of the program.
Globalization is a double-edged sword. While accelerating urbanization and modernization, it also exacerbates conflicts and problems. Empathy Zone critically addresses these various issues from the perspectives of independent artists living and working in two capital cities of the two most important entities on the international landscape. We hope to acknowledge our differences while deepening genuine connections in the creation of these collaborations. During the pandemic, the screen has become a convenient means for people to keep in touch with others. The pandemic now keeps us online; instances of kindness and dialogues are taking place all the time whether or not we are paying attention. It is our hope that the background of this pandemic can actually inspire people to discover these small moments of connection in their everyday life, learn to cherish and enjoy them, as well as to actively seek them out. Our hope is to transform this world full of disunity into one large empathy zone.
美国哥伦比亚特区艺术人文委员会 DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities
策展团队介绍 Introducing the Curatorial Team
张雨卓 Yuzhuo Zhang (Mark) 策展人Curator
张雨卓, 92年生于陶都宜兴, 2015年本科毕业于南京艺术学院美术学书画鉴定专业, 19年获得南京艺术学院中国美术史硕士学位。18年获得美国马里兰艺术学院 (MICA) 策展实践 (MFA Curatorial Practice) 硕士学位。张曾担任马里兰艺术学院研究生展览协会 (GradEx) 主席, 在校内外策划逾20个重要的当代艺术项目及展览。他于18年3月在美国马里兰州巴尔的摩市的 Gallery CA 艺术馆独立策划了美籍意大利裔先锋艺术家 Lucio Pozzi 在该州独立艺术馆系统的首次公开行为艺术表演及相关艺术活动, 得到如 Baltimore Post–Examiner 等当地媒体的专访及报道。回国前, 张任职于洛杉矶18街艺术中心 (18th Street Art Center) 和 Los Angeles Contemporary Art Exhibitions (LACE) 洛杉矶当代艺术展览馆。张于20年1月回到国内, 曾在南京德基美术馆担任展览项目部经理。近期的策展项目有 巴尔的摩: White Lies, Spacecamp Gallery 画廊, Spectrum, Fred Lazarus IV Studio Center 艺术中心; Babble, Gallery CA 艺术馆; Expression, Cardinal Space空间; An Allegory Of Self–Joshua Pyburn Solo Exhibition, The Gateway; 洛杉矶: #SYNCHRONICITY–The Social Territories of a Warming World, 18街艺术中心; A NonHuman Horizon, LACE当代艺术馆等, 费城: Sour Sweet Bitter Spicy (酸甜苦辣) 费城唐人街城市公共雕塑策划案, 宾夕法尼亚艺术学院美术馆; 南京: 静电–贺天琪个人展览, Banana Art Space, Banana Art Space; 没有天空的梦–徐跋骋个人展览, Banana Art Space 等等。
Yuzhuo (Mark) Zhang is originally from the Capital of Pottery–Yixing, China. He received his BA Art History and MA Chinese Art History at the Nanjing University of the ArtsNUA) in 2015 and 2019. Zhang has written exhibition essays and reviews for various culture media and magazines in China. Zhang received his MFA Curatorial Practice from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2018. He was the lead organizer of MICA GradEx, an organization dedicated to providing graduate students with professional solo and group exhibitions. Zhang curated Lucio Pozzi’s performance-A Declaration in Patchameena at Gallery CA on March 2018. Zhang was recently invited to be the guest lecturer in Nanjing University Of Finance & Economics (NUFE). Before becoming the full-time curator for the contemporary art department at Deji Art museum, Nanjing, Zhang was working at LACE (Los Angles Contemporary Exhibitions) and 18th Street Arts Center in LA. Then, he worked as the full-time curator for Deji Art Museum in Nanjing. Recent curatorial and exhibition projects include Baltimore: White Lies, Spacecamp Gallery; Spectrum, Fred Lazarus IV Studio Center; An Allegory Of Self–Joshua Pyburn Solo Exhibition, The Gateway; Babble, Gallery CA; Expression, Cardinal Space; Los Angeles: #SYNCHRONICITY–The Social Territories of a Warming World, 18th Street Arts Center; Su Hui-Yu: Re-shooting–About martial law, cold war, censorship and those who were forbidden, Atrium gallery; To Oblivion: The Speculator’s Eden by Sandra de la Loza, LACE; A NonHuman Horizon, LACE; Nanjing: Static–He Tianqi Solo Exhibition, BananaArtSpace; Survival and Destiny–Xu Bacheng Solo Exhibition, BananaArtSpace. Zhang lives and works in Los Angeles, Beijing, Nanjing and Shanghai.
饶梦溪 Althea Rao 主编、采写、翻译 Writer, Translator, and Editor-in-Chief
Althea Rao creates social engagement models to facilitate playful conversations that unpack normalized systemic power imbalance. She draws influence from media studies, intersectionality, design justice and grass-root organizing. Her project Vagina Chorus, a bio-responsive, socially-engaged multimedia performance spotlighting women’s health and healthcare accessibilities, is a recipient of the 2020 MAP Fund. Rao has lived and worked in China, Japan and the US, and received training in journalism, media arts and filmmaking. Rao is currently an Engaging Artist Fellow at More Art. She was an artist-in-residence at Artspace New Haven (2020), a Fellow of Flaherty Film Seminar (2016), a mentee in NYFA Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program (2019), a toolmaker-in-residence at Signal Culture(2019), a Social Impact Fellow at Halcyon Arts Lab (2019).
Esther/Eunjin is a person housed inside a body of Korean origin, born in Seoul and relocated to the United States of America soon after her exit from the womb. She was fortunate enough to attend college, receiving her B.A. in studio art and graphic design from the University of Maryland, College Park, and participating in the Studio Art Departmental Honors Program. Since graduating in 2018, she has stayed in the Maryland outskirts of Washington DC and exhibited work at local venues, such as Portico Gallery, Dwell DC, and IA&A Hillyer. Outside of her practice, Lee currently works as a professional picture framer and graphic designer, and enjoys spending her time with music and nature.
Rubaina is an environmental professional in the DC area and is passionate about supporting the DC art community including working on the Empathy Zone Project. Her professional interests include examining and addressing the impacts of climate change on inequality. In her free time, you will often find her immersed in nature–hiking and looking for local fauna, riding her bike, or playing with her cat.