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A4AB | Bookshelf by the Door #2

  • Time
    2023.10.03 15:00-16:30 2023.10.15 15:00-16:30 2023.10.21 15:00-16:30
  • Location
    Multipurpose Space, 4F, A4 Art Museum
  • Curator
    Zeng Jie


This session’s theme: Joyful Moments

For this edition, A4AB has invited our friend Zeng Jie as the curator. Using the book list recommended by “The Depth of Light” exhibition artist Shinji Ohmaki as an opportunity, we are granted three chances to meet with different people. Stepping away temporarily from the current reality, we delve into niches framed by books or art, capturing clues about plants, symbols and the supernatural, and geographic exploration—threads hidden in everyday life—to reclaim our own time and enjoy a brief period of autumnal joy.

  • Curator Introduction

    Zeng Jie (Art practitioner, member/organizer of FENGMA, contemporary art conservator and archival researcher. Has worked with the conservation and preservation departments of contemporary art at the Birmingham Museum in the UK and Tate Modern. Organizer of international performance art festivals and participant in walking art projects. Member of the International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art – Asia Pacific, INCCA-Asia Pacific.)

  • Yu Tong, Plant Time, Traces, and Us Around

    Time: October 3, 2023, 15:00-16:30

    Location: Multipurpose Space, 4F, A4 Art Museum


    In our everyday encounters with plants, there often exists a kind of overlooked connection and the potential for new understandings. Artists from ancient times to the present have responded to and transformed plants through their practices and creations. At this event, in addition to finding inspiration in the recommended reading list that influenced artist Shinji Ohmaki’s creative clues about plants, participants can also share their experiences of time spent with plants. Together, we can explore the relationship between plants and our personal experiences more intricately and build a multidimensional way of feeling.

    Plants, accounting for 82% of life on Earth, in the long mechanism of life on our planet, other life forms are merely a trace. Without any deliberate search, whether in the countryside, city, or wilderness, a closer look at all our memories reveals a large presence of plants as “spectators” that have always experienced human time.

    Whether actively or passively, human spaces are closely connected with plants. Some plants are transplanted and cultivated from the wild, domesticated to provide material resources for human survival and development, forming cultural memories, or filling the imagination of different regions. Larger and more diverse plants are allocated in public spaces according to urban planning, “working” with different functions and landscape values: alongside pathways, in parks, residential areas, street corners, and even in the crevices of any city, we can find plants that have escaped through seeding. Plants from all over the world leave their native lands and enter rapidly developing modern cities through a highly developed transportation system, some even evolving into descendants more suited to urban life.

  • Yang Ran, Supernatural, Myth, and the Modern City's Wanderer

    Time: October 15, 2023, 15:00-16:30

    Location: Multipurpose Space, 4F, A4 Art Museum


    The ultimate meanings presented by absolute values are gradually dissolved in the process of modernization. An inevitable phenomenon is that perceptions which cannot be described in words are also forced to be continuously refined until they reach a certain degree of precision to constitute an effective dialogue.

    But what exactly are we discussing when we talk about the individual, the supernatural, or myths?

    When using abstract terms that cannot be verified, even if the literal meanings are the same, most of the time the “consensus” we assume behind the words is not entirely the same, and beyond this is a richer world of meanings. We hope this event will be a gathering of wanderers with different experiences in the modern city. The goal is to explore more possibilities of cognition from multiple perspectives and to attempt to share life experiences produced through individual practices.

    Anatole France once wrote a story where someone asked a spirit what they thought of the truth, and the spirit said: Truth is white. While the questioner was happy because the spirit acknowledged that truth is white, the spirit continued: I said ‘truth is white,’ not that it is pure and flawless, but you thought white means pure, immaculate, perfect. But I can show you, it definitely does not represent these. Then the spirit took out a large disc with thousands of portraits and various colors on it. The portraits included every kind of religion or philosophy, and each one held a flag with a caption—like “There is only one God”; “There are millions of gods”; “Humans are immortal”; “Only God is immortal,” etc., each statement contradicting each other in the strangest ways. But when the spirit spun the disc as fast as possible, making a thunderous noise, the disc appeared white. In the end, the spirit laughed and said: You see, this is the truth—it is white.

  • Liu Lin, Geographical Walks, Reveries, and the Boundaries of the Individual

    Time: October 21, 2023, 15:00-16:30

    Location: Multipurpose Space, 4F, A4 Art Museum


    Humanistic geographer Yi-Fu Tuan described that space implies movement, action, freedom, potential, and the future; it also signifies life and the perception of revival. The experiences humans gain through movement and space constitute what is called “life.” In this event, invited leaders and participants will share their specific experiences of geographical walking, engaging in an afternoon saunter through geography and locale. The aim is to layer more extended associations with places, collectively broadening the understanding of spatial experiences.

    Geological strata record time and store traces and histories left during the human epoch in the language of materials. Throughout the long history, humanity has used its own scale to measure and understand mountains, rivers, lakes, and seas. Hence, the high mountains and oceans that are difficult to conquer or cross are often endowed with divinity, and we fill the vast, unseen folds behind the vast geography with our imagination.

    Today, with the rapid iteration of modern technology, Mount Everest, the Bermuda Triangle, or an alley in Beijing can be precisely located on any smartphone navigation app. We can choose the nearest route, the most convenient means of transportation, and the best time to arrive, while deciding whether to stop for gas or buy bread along the way. As the divinity in natural spaces gradually dissipates, the human body is also being reconstructed to some extent.