“thingworld: International Triennial of New Media Art 2014” is the third edition following the internationally acclaimed Olympic Cultural Project “Synthetic Times: Media Art China 2008” and “transLife: International Triennial of New Media Art” which was officially instituted as a triennial of new media art at the National Art Museum of China in 2011. The previous exhibitions have received extensive media attention and publicity with coverage from major news outlets such as China Central Television (CCTV), China Daily, Radio China, People’s Daily, Wenhuibao, Guangming Daily, China News Agency, Beijing Daily, Southern Daily, China Youth Daily, Vision, Esquire, Domus, Vogue, New Weekly, The Art Newspaper, New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Art Asia Pacific, Artforum, and Skymedia.

These triennials have investigated the most current intellectual trends in the discourse of media art and culture, providing a prominent platform for a global presentation and theorization of cutting edge media artwork. The 2014 edition will present 58 works by 65 artists and artistic collectives from 22 countries. Most of the works in the exhibition will be shown in China for the first time.

From metal balls ascending in an uncanny anti-gravitational movement to a Victorian sofa standing precariously à l’attitude; from miniature instruments which require a magnifying glass to peek at their elegance to monumental inflatables that entwine and elongate to permeate 5,000 square feet of gallery space; from murmuring tweets from the virtual void to billions of algorithmically generated configurations of a mere 24 cards depicting an 18th-century genre painting; from the umwelt of artifacts shuffling through a galaxy to a new ecosystem that emerges from the chemical sludges and trash vortex of the Pacific Ocean, the exhibition unfolds its three themes: Monologue: Ding An Sich; Dialogue: Ding to Thing; and Ensemble: Parliament of Things in a persuasive procession. By aligning Physical Being, Technical Being and Psychic Being (to borrow a concept of being from Gilbert Simondon) as the new vista of equality, Technology (as the reciprocal transduction of humanity and technicity) with its initiating motility may be the surprise candidate to turn anthropocentrism on its head: physical beings via technical beings achieve their own vivid presences, their own agency and autopoiesis, their own generativity, thereby evoking a conative penetration for the human being. They act and interact, dialogue and monologue, or chorus in the assemblage of the thingworld. In celebration of thingworld, there emerges an opportunity to reinvigorate the impasse of cultural production that is contingent solely on the premise of a human subject through a much-expanded field of operation; there will be a newfound world of discussions, concerns giving rise to new forms of artistic experimentation and new vocabularies of aesthetic manifestation that resonate with a vision of equity molded by a renewed political ecology, that is the “Equality of All Things.”

The catalogue accompanying the exhibition is co-published by The National Art Museum of China and The Liverpool University Press. Essay contributors include Graham Harman, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Mark B.N. Hanson, Sean Cubitt, Timothy Morton, WANG Hui and ZHANG Ga.

Participating Artists

Aaajiao 徐文恺 | CN, Keith Armstrong | AU, & Lawrence English | AU, Cécile Babiole | FR, Ralf Baecker | DE, Christopher Baker | US, Rosa Barba | DE, Catherine Béchard | CA, Julius von Bismarck | DE & Benjamin Maus | DE, Rejane Cantoni & Leonardo Crescenti | BR, Chen Shaoxiong 陈劭雄 | CN, U-Ram Choe | KR, Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen | UK, Jessica Deboer | NL, Noa Dolberg | IL, Zoro Feigl | NL, Ken Feingold | US, Benjamin Gaulon | FR, & Tom Verbruggen | NL, & Gijs Gieskes | NL, Jean-Pierre Gauthier | CA, Petra Gemeinboeck | AT/AU, & Rob Saunders | UK/AU, Michael Joaquin Grey | US, Gustav Hellberg | SE, Hu Jieming 胡介鸣 | CN, Sabin Hudon | CA, Yunchul Kim | KR,
Pe Lang | CH, Margareta Lekic | HR, Marcos Lutyens | UK/US, Chico MacMurtrie | US, Lawrence Malstaf | NO/BE, Wade Marynowsky | AU, Jennifer & Kevin McCoy | US, Ronald van der Meijs | NL, Martin Messier | CA, Erwin Redl | AT/US, Carl-Johan Rosén | SE, Adriana Salazar | CO, Björn Schülke | DE, Karolina Sobecka | US/PL, Saša Spacal | SL, & Mirjan Švagelj | SL & Anil Podgornik | SL, Wolfgang Staehle | DE/US & Jan Gerber | DE, Thomson & Craighead | UK, Jacob Tonski | US, Jonathan Villeneuve | CA, Silvio Vujicic | HR, Wang Chung-Kun 王仲堃 | CN/TW, Wang Yuyang 王郁洋 | CN, Gail Wight | US, Wu Juehui 吴珏辉 | CN, Yang Jian 杨健 | CN, Yang Zhenzhong 杨振中 | CN, Pina Yoldas | TR/DE, Zhang Peili 张培力 | CN, Zimoun | CH

Visual identity and catalogue design: Natasha Jen, Pentagram