Yongwoo Lee and Hans Ulrich Obrist have been announced as the co-artistic directors of the inaugural Shanghai Project, which sounds pretty kooky! My press release—a strange enough document that it seems to have given my godless existence some semblance of meaning on this Good Friday—states: “The Shanghai Project is an ideas platform which takes as its starting point the notion of a culture and knowledge ‘emporium,’ a shared time and space for people to gather, procure, and exchange culture and knowledge.” I take this to mean what we call in the biz a “conference,” but who knows? A more detailed description of the premise here sounds like an overly complicated game show:
The Shanghai Project will designate all participants as “researchers,” all of whom will be chosen from five fundamental disciplinary frameworks, including Visual Art; Architecture, Design, and Communication; Performance, Moving Image and Sound; Humanities and Social Sciences; and Science, Technology and Ecology. Anchoring the Shanghai Project is a new “root researcher” system. Inviting 8-10 individuals from various disciplines, these “root researchers” will in turn build interdisciplinary teams. Each of these teams will produce a publication to be launched at the conclusion of the Shanghai Project, as well as a new artwork, film, didactic display, or other response to be installed during the project’s opening.
Didactic display, indeed.
The first edition of this whosawhatzit has the theme “Sustainable Future,” and is called “2116.” In a bold, perhaps historic moment for press releases everywhere, the announcement calls the title an “arbitrary placeholder” for some reason. I don’t want this press release to ever end! Here is its remarkable climax, also in reference to the title: “The 22nd century is close enough that the future can be measured and predicted, conditioned by what we know and what exists today.” Haha, I respectfully disagree with that statement! I can’t predict or measure what I’m going to do for the rest of the afternoon. The 22nd century is like 100 years away! That’s so long!
Anyway, friends, colleagues, whomever: archive this press release so that it can be read as the eulogy at my funeral, which will hopefully take place long before the 22nd century begins. I want everyone to remember how far up its own ass the art world could stick its head.