An online presentation by the Hubei-based artist and writer Ou Ning on his current research project “Utopian Field,” which examines experiments in communitarianism that developed in diverse corners of the world from 19th century through the present. In addition to sharing examples from his field work into rural reconstruction projects, hippie communes, and countryside art projects around the globe, Ou Ning also explored how these communities responded to past crises, such as the Panic of 1837, WWI, and the 1929 Great Depression.
Following the lecture, curator Xiaoyu Weng joined Ou Ning in conversation about their own experiences during lockdown in Hubei, China and New York, U.S.A respectively, and considered what we could learn from the historical examples offered by the utopianists and how these lessons might apply to our current global situation.
Ou Ning is an artist, film maker, curator, writer, publisher and activist, currently based in Jingzhou, China. He is the director of two documentary films San Yuan Li (2003) and Meishi Street (2006), was the chief curator of Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism and Architecture (2009), a jury member of Benesse Prize at 53rd Venice Biennale (2009), member of Asian Art Council of the Guggenheim Museum (2011), chief editor of the literary journal Chutzpah! (2011-2013), founder of the Bishan Commune (2011-2016) and School of Tillers (2015-2016), visiting professor of GSAPP, Columbia University (2016-2017) and research fellow of Center for Arts, Design and Social Research (2019-2020).
Xiaoyu Weng is an Associate Curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. In 2015, she was appointed to spearhead The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative. At the Guggenheim, she has curated the exhibitions Tales of Our Time (2016–17) and One Hand Clapping (2018). Previously, Weng served as the founding director of the Kadist Art Foundation’s Asia Programs (Paris and San Francisco) and as a curator at the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts (San Francisco). Most recently, she curated the 5th Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art in Yekaterinburg, Russia. She has also curated exhibitions and projects at Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Bergamo (Bergamo), Guangdong Times Museum (Guangzhou), Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art (Rotterdam), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), among many others.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.