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Hang Li

PhD Work

Curating-in-Formation between Art, Science and Technology: Envisioning curating as translocal co-working that supports epistemic justice


The research sets up a value-sensitive exploration of the links between, first, curating as epistemic practices that involve creative co-working, and second, the questioning of neoliberal and modernist subjugation of science, technology and art on transnational scales. The research is driven by an awareness of curating's ill-equipped epistemic conditions, which hinder creative practitioners from identifying valuable questions to ask and address, especially when considering technoscience as a constituent of contemporary conditions. This research asks: How to envision a curating-in-formation that does justice in its epistemic practices if we identify technoscience as a key cultural, political and economic subject to understand and reshape translocally?


This practice-based research consists of four projects taking place in Britain and China and connecting with translocal agencies. They each attend to curating as knowledge territories manifested through pedagogy, curatorial practice, or the curators’ involvements in organisational on institutional planning. The research sees collectives and communities as epistemic agencies and takes situated and collaborative knowledge-making as the basis of the research method. Each project is actualised through collaborations with college students, independent curators, creative practitioners, small-scale organisations, larger-scale art institutions or higher art education departments. The main focus is to articulate and problematise the intersecting powers of domination that are shaping curating’s communal epistemic resources, which tend to prioritise particular groups of knowledge and knower and transfer misconceptions and violence beyond disciplinary and national borders. In particular, the practices seek to examine some proliferate approaches in curating, such as neoliberal entrepreneurship, tech-related innovation, and scientific and logistics management. The projects also scrutinise the ideas curating has borrowed from technology industries, such as Silicon-Valley-exemplified technological optimism and design thinking, and the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) industries’ top-down problem-solving mindset.


Weaving together feminist epistemologies, science and technology studies, social movement organisation and curatorial study, the research asks the following questions:

-   How to make tangible the link between curating as knowledge practices and curating's involvement in power and domination when intersecting with science and technology?

-  To untangle curating from the modernist and neoliberal science and technology, what it is to be negotiated and retooled in the epistemic resources of curating, and what knowledge should we take into account during a collective revisioning of curating? During the reenvisioning of curating, through what means can people from different knowledge terrains and localities work together justly?

-  Lastly, what art-ecological enabling conditions are needed for revising curating as knowing well together across differences, and what risks will these art-ecological changes generate?


The research will provide a groundwork for understanding the creative practices in China and the UK from translocal perspectives by considering their links with technoscience, knowledge and ethics. It will be of value to those who practice, teach, organise and fund the multidimensional terrains interlacing art, science and technology. It will also be of interest to those seeking creative and value-sensitive approaches to co-working across disciplines and nations.

MA work

For the Time Being

For the Time Being is an experimental programme of photo-performance, conceived as a response to the everyday presence of social media. The project invites five international contemporary artists – AgoramaAgil AbdullayevFeng MengboMax Grau and Tamara Kametani – to reflect on the role of image sharing networks in their personal lives. Through a series of on and offline events and performances, the artists will interrogate the way in which popular apps like Snapchat, Whatsapp and Instagram have affected an understanding of intimacy, digital connectedness and notions of personal and collective memory.

Info

  • PhD

    School

    School of Arts & Humanities

    Programme

    Arts & Humanities Research, 2019–

  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Arts & Humanities

    Programme

    MA Curating Contemporary Art, 2019

  • Hang Li is a researcher, curator and designer based in London and Beijing who works to seek curating-in-formation that can tell better stories and act for shaping just science and technology at translocal scales. Her focus is on the curatorial intersecting art and technology, drawing upon ideas including collective working, feminist epistemologies, and organisational approaches to social justice. Hang’s essays are published in journals and books. She has curated several art projects for institutions and organisations such as The Photographers’ Gallery, Spazju Kreattiv, Royal College of Art and Skelf.


    Hang is currently a PhD researcher in the School of Arts and Humanities at the Royal College of Art (RCA) and working as the first Asymmetry Curatorial Writing Fellow at Chisenhale Gallery. She is also working as Project Researcher for "Blue Cables in Venetian Watercourse", a winner of the Emerging Curators Project 2020 at the Power Station of Art (Shanghai). She graduated from the Bartlett, University College London with an MArch in Architecture Design, followed by an MA in Curating Contemporary Art from the RCA.

  • Degrees

  • BArch Architecture, Tianjin University, China, 2014; MArch Architectural Design, The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College of London, 2016; MA Curating Contemporary Art, Royal College of Art, 2019
  • Experience

  • Exhibition assistant, Beijing Centre of Arts & Position Architecture, Beijing, 2014; Event coordinator and deputy director’s assistant, Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2015; Researcher, Today Art Museum, Beijing, 2017; Art fair assistant, Magician Space in Frieze London, London, 2018; Researcher and Curator, OPEN Research Initiative, London, 2020; Guest speaker, CORONAvideoS ep 10, curated by Albert Figurt, 2020; Guest speaker, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, 2020; Visiting mentor, MA Curating Contemporary Art, Royal College of Art, 2020; Project Researcher in the curatorial project "Blue Cables in Venetian Watercourse", Power Station of Art, Shanghai, 2021; Project Lead of Across RCA workshop "Questioning Online Curating", Royal College of Art, 2021; Asymmetry Curatorial Writing Fellow, Chisenhale Gallery, London, 2021
  • Exhibitions

  • Meta Utopia – Between Process and Poetry, Zaha Hadid Design Gallery, 2016 (works shown in group exhibition); Emotional Practices, Open Research Initiative, 2019 (Online project); Restaging For the Time Being, Video Vortex 12, 2019 (in group exhibition); For the Time Being, The Photographers’ Gallery, London, 2019; Textual bodies: Online Studio Visit with Adam Walker, RCA Show2020, 2020; Sense-Making for Sharing Sensibilities: Art, Design and Social Change, RCA Show2020, 2020; no-longer-being-able-to-be-able, Skelf, 2020
  • Awards

  • The Prize for Excellence, HYP Cup International Student Competition in Architectural Design, 2012; Shortlised, Hyundai Blue Prize 6/15, 2018; Asymmetry Curatorial Writing Fellowship, 2021
  • Publications

  • Li, H., 2020. Tensions and Transformations: Mapping the intersection between contemporary art and the network society. [first-year PhD literature review] School of Arts and Humanities, Royal College of Art.; Li, H., 2020. If There Still is a Point to Curating on Social Media, What Is It?, in: Lovink, G., Treske, A., Wilson, J. (Eds.), Video Vortex Reader III: Inside the YouTube Decade, INC Reader. Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam, pp. 245–357.; 李航, 2020. 戒断,应激,文化断层?从COVID-19期间的艺术机构网络实践谈起. 美术馆 2. 文章委任于中央美术学院美术馆 (CAFAM) 的“疫情后的美术馆“研讨写作计划,并收录于北京大学视觉与图像研究中心 [Li, H., 2020. Cultural Stratum and Disjunction: A reflection on the art institutional practices online during COVID-19, Museums 2.]; 李航,2021,痛感共振中,艺术界 LEAP (电子出版,“动不动”系列) [Li, H., 2021. The Resonating Suffering, LEAP (digital publishing)]