As the public health crisis persists, many practitioners in the performance industry have turned to searching for alternative opportunities online. But during this time, the seasoned performance group SHEN QI XIAN XING became active on the streets instead. The group believes audiences tend to be tolerant and understanding towards performances in the context of a theater, but that is not always the case for performances in public spaces—public performative acts or performances must find an equilibrium between the rules that govern a public space and the production (or the construction of imageries) of the performance. This experimental art program invites the group to take performance from inside the theater to public spaces throughout the city, as an intervention in increasingly vigilant and alienating public, interpersonal relationships, and to explore the construction of imageries in public spaces, the space in which they exist, and the limit of their endurance, as well as the public nature and authenticity of urban spaces.
The first series of Tentacle Project consists of three core components: Launching with an opening ceremony, SHEN QI XIAN XING will then conduct four public performances in urban spaces throughout the city over the course of the next seven months, as well as two talk and performance at UCCA Edge and an exhibition in the window corridor gallery space on the fourth floor of the museum. UCCA Edge invites audiences to wander through urban spaces such as city streets and parks with the performance group as a guide, participating in these impromptu acts of performance and dispersal as prompted, while probing at the limits of performances in public spaces, the presence of their imageries, and the timing of their dispersal. Documentation, second-degree creation, and materials collected during the process of each performance will be gradually accumulated and mounted in the museum gallery in the forms of video, objects, photographs, and manuscripts. The exhibition will grow and be completed along with the passage of time.
Music is integral to SHEN QI XIAN XING as a vehicle to communicate the group’s organic, first-hand experiences with the city and to express their keen interest in the lives of individuals in the big metropolis. The four performance routes in this series correspond to four musical works by SHEN QI XIAN XING in the past two years. Excerpts from the lyrics and the silhouette of the route map provide hidden clues for the exhibition space: “Sichuan Bei Road” describes how the city and its culture have been transformed by time (Sichuan Bei Lu—Shanyin Lu—Luxun’s Park); “No. 50 Changle Road” depicts the changes and reflections on the progress of urbanization (Changle Lu—Huaihai Lu—Fuxing Park); “Suzhou Creek Shows All of It” is a tender love confession to home (Garden Bridge—South Suzhou Creek Road—Butterfly Bay); and “Night on Fuxing Island” is an ode to the delicate details of individuals’ lives (Dinghai Lu—Dinghai Bridge—Gongqing Lu—Renaissance Island Park).
Audiences could choose to participate in the outdoor performances off-site, to enter into a space filled with imageries of time past, or to take a seat in the narrow gallery space and take in the cityscape outside the window. In the final section of the exhibition, a CD specially recorded by the performance group will present the music featured throughout the project, interspersed with the emotionally sincere stories of the city that highlight the core of the project—through which, as the title “The City Tells It All” suggests, energy circulates among urban dwellers, and the connection between humans and the city deepens. This program is organized by Lin Luqi and Qian Mengni of the UCCA Edge Exhibition Department.
About Tentacle Project
“Tentacle Project” is an experimental art program built upon the windowed corridor on the fourth floor of UCCA Edge. This narrow, semi-wrapped-around corridor space connects between the indoor and outdoor galleries, while emphasizing the view of the city on the other side of the glass wall. The project seeks to utilize display in the irregular space of the art museum and to organize a series of public programs connecting across disciplines such as theater, music, and architecture and opening up discussions on issues shared by the public.
SHEN QI XIAN XING is an art group in Shanghai, co-founded by Sun Dasi and Zhang Lihua. Instead of results, SHEN QI XIAN XING pays more attention to the natural processes and methods carried within, from the arrival of "inspiration" to the presentation of the works, and the energy flow and connection between the people brought about by these methods. Participating members of this project are: Sun Dasi, Zhang Lihua, Li Yifei, Shen Jianwen.
Sun Dasi is a musician, a worker in the arts, and creator No.1 of SHEN QI XIAN XING. Dasi wishes to pursue a way that leads to the good and the beautiful in her work, as if guided by the sound of the Tao.
Zhang Lihua’s practice focuses on the energy communicated by words and images. She is creator No.2 of SHEN QI XIAN XING. She anticipates a “now" in which every human being is capable to create.
Li Yifei is a multimedia artist who explores themes of the public life of music and theater, kitchens, and unique living spaces, as well as gardens and greens. She invites you to enrich your life beyond the screens.
Shen Jianwen is a freelance writer and photographer. She likes to walk around wherever she goes. She cares about how people feel about their living situations and how their surroundings affect people's health and vice versa.
Sichuan Bei Lu—Shanyin Lu—Luxun's Park
Changle Lu—Huaihai Lu—Fuxing Park
Garden Bridge—South Suzhou Creek Road—Butterfly Bay
Dinghai Lu—Dinghai Bridge—Gongqing Lu—Renaissance Island Park
UCCA Edge Auditorium
UCCA Edge Auditorium