CoCA Blog

Change-Seed: Contemporary Art from Hong Kong & Beyond

Posted by admin on April 3, 2015

March 19, 2015, Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA) hosted the opening reception of Change-Seed: Contemporary Art from Hong Kong & Beyond. The exhibition, which will run through May 15, features artists working in and around Hong Kong, China. Independent curator David Francis, PhD brought together a diverse selection of artistic responses to the sweeping effects of modernization, and to the subsequent political struggle that has brought international attention to Hong Kong.

Because the submission process took place long distance, the process of transmitting the materials of the exhibition was a challenge for exhibition manager, Ray C. Freeman III. While many artists mailed physical packages with their materials, several others sent their work via digital files. Artist Nelson Caban actually flew to Seattle a few days before the show in order to collaborate with a local sign maker to recreate his work.

One of the audience members at the opening, artist Mauricio Espinosa, pointed out a piece by Laurent Segretier, “I am intrigued by the idea of those artists who sent their artwork via email files to the gallery to be finalized here in the U.S… The process of transferring data from one part of the globe to another and then materializing itself physically seems relevant and poignant.”

The Segretier piece is a digitally manipulated image of a construction site in China. Rather than a physical copy, Segretier sent CoCA a digital image of the piece. Rock's Studio, a digital printing atelier in West Seattle, donated the printing of this image and others using material donated by LexJet, Glazer's Camera and Cascade Architectural and Engineering Supply. Although CoCA was in close communication with the artist throughout the re-creation of the piece, many physical properties such as the quality of the paper, the color, and the sharpness all resulted in multiple translations across culture, space, technology, and material. For Espinosa, the translation was the most striking part of the piece.

Laurent Segretier

Laurent Segretier, 73 x 98"


Translatability was a prominent theme in the Change-Seed exhibition. Hong Kong’s very recent modernization, and its rapid integration into the world of global commerce have opened the floodgates to a miasma of tropes of modernity such as modern art, social media, materialism, and democracy. These themes catch and spread like viruses, transformed in the process of their integration into something new and slightly uncanny to Western audiences.  What is fed back to viewers of the Change-Seed exhibition is the product of multiple layers of translation.  How we in turn interpret this material is up to us.

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This blog post is by Annie Lukins, CoCA Gallery Intern
, B.A., Comparative History of Ideas (2014), University of Washington.

Click here to read more about this exhibit.

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