REMOTEWORDS marks two roofs within the Shenzhen Pingshan International Sculpture Exhibition 2019:
TRANSCENDING DIMENSION: SCULPTING SPACE with a quote from Paul Virilio (1932-2018).
Virilio is best known for his theory of speed, simulation, virtualism and is also the founder of dromology (from ancient Greek: dromos [race track] and logos [science], “Logic of movement”), the speed of modern locomotion and communication defines our relationship to space and time.
Virilio believes that speed annihilates space and compresses time.
Shenzhen was China´s fastest growing city in 2018, the populations increased by approximately 498.000 residents last year.
Installed | Location | GPS: 13-05-2019 | Shenzhen Pingshan International Sculpture Exhibition 2019: TRANSCENDING DIMENSION: SCULPTING SPACE | Shenzhen, Guangdong, China | 22.675854,114.349433
Authors | Words | Curatorial Team: Quotation Paul Virilio | ACCELERATED STANDSTILL | Li Zhenhua & Liu Xiaodu & Liu Si
Roof Size | Font Size: 2 x 486 qm | 20,70 m x 4,50 m
On Air: –
REMOTEWORS The french philosopher Paul Virilio is best known for his theory of speed, simulation and virtualism, and is also the founder of dromology (from ancient Greek: dromos [way, race track] and logos [word, reason, science]; “Logic of Movement”). He says that the speed of modern locomotion and communication determines our relationship to space and time. He also believes that speed annihilates space and compresses time.
Shenzhen is one of the fastes growing cities in the world; it was the fastest growing city in China in 2018: the populations increased by approximately 498.000 residents. For the Shenzhen Pingshan International Sculpture Exhibition we have therefore proposed a freely translated quotation by Paul Virilio, which best expresses his philosophy and the paradox of progress: “Accelerated Standstill”. When we sent you this proposal by mail, you answered us with 3 emojis, all in the form of the “smiling face“. How is this to be understood?
Li Zhenhua It’s a confirmation, but at the same time a reflection on the metaphorical meaning of the words for today’s China, a fact of the fast development of everything, but at the same time it can be stopped at any time as well.
But I did not imagine the Covid-19 would do that till now worldwide. Maybe my mind is limited to the perspectives ‘installed’ by the press, what would be the logic link to the words and the world? Which kind of society am I in today? Globalization, high tech, transformation of the human body, mutation, arctic melting, burn everything down….
Or should I assume we are living in a better world compared to the history? But which history? A Jesus Christ history, a history of Allah, of geology, of archeology, etc. Or does it depend on our mind and perspective to look at things? Who am I? What am I? Then think again, what is the meaning of ‘Accelerated’, and what can be the meaning of ‘Standstill’….
REMOTEWORS In his current article “Virus, Virality, Virtuality. Or: The Corona Virus, the Leviathan of the Proxy-Society” (www.nzz.ch, 20.3.2020), Peter Weibel quotes the philosopher and media scientist Paul Virilio, in connection with Covid-19. He speaks of the transformation of an “accelerated standstill” (Rasender Stillstand) to a “standstill of frenzy” (Stillstand der Raserei) and predicts a future of communication without (travelling) bodies, since the direct way of exchanging messages has had its day, and predominantly only immaterial message carriers are allowed to “travel“.
Chinese society is already digitally determined in almost all socio-logical, economic and political areas. How will this continue under these paradigmatic shifts?
Li Zhenhua I think it’s the best moment to think about what to “do”, after an alienation of the human being in modern society. For me, learning to cook or carpentry would be the best thing I could do; learn and appreciate what we have.
To treat things equally, to travel less, and shorter, – this could be good to find a flower nearby. The mind will go with the immaterial force anyway, like your work in Shenzhen when I am able to experience it online :-)
REMOTEWORS I have just checked the virtual globes again: neither on Apple Maps, nor on Google Earth, nor on the Chinese Baido Maps the map material is updated, so we still have to be patient. I remember when we discussed the wording with the mayor of Shenzen (or what exactly was her function?) at the opening of the Biennial. She said “Acceleration“ would be good, but “Standstill” would not please her.
In his book “Aufhebung der Ökonomie“ (Dissolution of Economy), Georges Bataille speaks of the fact that “when a system can no longer grow, it is lost without profit and wasted, willingly or not, in a glorious or catastrophic way“.
Do you think that the myth of eternal growth is now also being taken more critically in China? Do you think the mayor woud respond in the same way today?
Li Zhenhua Development, in all its complex meanings, is a comprehensive subject. I like the work because it reflects the two extremes of our situation, how we as human beings are confronted with technology, capacity, environmental changes – that’s why I think that the words -in direct comparison- make more sense because it is an international issue.
And the work has a prophetic meaning for our world during the pandemic situation of Covid-19: everyone in life has to stop, everything freezes: cancelled flights, closed museums, kindergartens and public spaces for meetings and assemblies. The question also arises whether we are accelerating the pandemic situation due to globalisation, or whether at the same time, in the face of globalisation, we must ask ourselves what should be stopped: the disease, the people, the new technology, a better idea of the future?
It’s again a question of Babel, and we always live in this dualism, a contradictory being in the moment, what is right, what is not right.
We also lack the vision of the future; too much fear and socially engaged function on humanity. I am not criticizing this, I just wonder how we can be better, understand better, and better conceive what we can be, even in times of change. I believe that everything will be in balance, and your work reflects the two extremes in absolute balance.