Jen Liu: The Land at the Bottom of the Sea

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April 15, 5-6:30 p.m.
Screening and artist conversation
California College of the Arts
Timken Lecture Hall
1111 Eighth Street, San Francisco

Part of CCA Visual and Critical Studies Forum and co-presented with / (Slash)

Image: The Land at the Bottom of the Sea, 2023, 4K video with two-channel audio, 27 minutes, 30 seconds. Courtesy of the artist, Upstream Gallery (Amsterdam), and Blindspot Gallery (Hong Kong).

This event will begin with a screening of The Land at the Bottom of the Sea, 2023, a short film commissioned by the Taipei Biennial, with its recent US premiere at The Sculpture Center, New York.  

This film begins with the question: what happens if you are liquidated – financially, socially, politically, environmentally?  Under what conditions is it possible to survive?  The conditions for labor activism in China have greatly changed since 2016, symptomatic of larger changes in the global economic and political landscape.  This film considers these changes as a series of deaths: the death of Chinese labor NGOs, unable to survive in the face of overwhelming governmental force; the death of techno-optimism, unable to provide any solutions to concrete environmental and social problems, and the impending death of a body of artwork, which has been unable to assess future possibilities with any truth.  Firsthand accounts of industrial workers and worker poetry are embedded within other nonfiction sources, woven into a melancholic elegy alongside a visual narrative depicting failed social encounters (with mermaids).  The elegiac nature of this film is just a candy shell, however:
packed within its digital body is an assembled archive of disappeared women activists, tens of thousands of digital proofs of the existence of fighting women, preserved against the dissolution of memory.

After the screening, Liu will give a short synopsis of the research, methods (AI natural language processing, steganography) and textual sources behind this work, and then will be joined by CCA Visual and Critical Studies Chair Việt Lê for a conversation.  

Jen Liu is a New York-based visual artist working in video, painting, performance, and sculpture, on diasporic Asian identities, postcolonial economies, techno-biopolitics, and the re-motivating of archival artifacts. In her most recent work, she’s used genetic engineering and dark encryption to reframe firsthand accounts of electronics workers, and created semi-speculative scripts combining corporate brochures and industrial manuals with firsthand accounts of industrial workers and incarcerated labor activists in Asia.  

Liu has presented work at MoMA, The Whitney Museum, The New Museum, Sculpture Center, Kunsthaus Zurich, Kunsthalle Wien, MUSAC Leon, KW Berlin, multiple Berlinale exhibitions at AdK, Royal Academy and ICA in London, and was included in the 2015 Shanghai Biennial, 2019 Singapore Biennial, 2023 Future of Today Biennial (Beijing), and the 2023 Taipei Biennial. She has also received multiple grants and residencies, including Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart; Para Site, Hong Kong; Pioneer Works and LMCC in New York; and de ateliers, Amsterdam, NL.  Liu is a recipient of the Creative Capital Grant, the LACMA Art + Technology Lab grant, the Guggenheim Fellowship in Film/Video, the \Art Award from Cornel Tech, the NYSCA/NYFA Fellowship in Digital/Electronic Art, the Pollock-Krasner Award, and is a 2022 recipient of the Hewlett 50 Arts Commission.  As part of the Hewlett Commission, she will premiere "Jen Liu: GHOST__WORLD," a solo exhibition at / (Slash), curated by Tanya Zimbardo, as well as "GHOST_WORLD: a performance for 4 dancers" at The Lab on April 27 and 28, 2024.


California College of the Arts - San Francisco, Estados Unidos


Monday, April 15, 2024 - 17:00



Monday, April 15, 2024 - 17:00
  • 1111 Eighth Street
    94107-2247   San Francisco, California
    Estados Unidos
    37° 46' 2.5608" N, 122° 23' 58.4484" W