CAO Shu: Contains it like lines of a hand

2023.09.24 Sunday 19:00


No.3, Lane 40, Wukang Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai

Performer:Cao Shu

The performance lecture will incorporate one of my self-made video games. The unfinished, decrepit game is based on my mother’s verbal account of my grandmother and, in some ways, showcases a perspective of emotional contagion exclusive to females in the last century. The game engine weaves together many fragments of the reality: life in an earthquake-resistant shelter after the 1976 Tangshan earthquake, memories during the “qigong fever” social phenomenon, myths of earth arteries, stories and narratives of deities and monsters, nightmares plagued by physical pains and wounds, and the haunting of patriarchy within a 20th-century family. The clues scattered throughout the game and performance process concern landforms as well as human bodies because they bear resemblance to each other, as both are shaped and sculpted by ghosts down through the generations. 

For me, this video game is a technological form of experiencing death in advance, much like Tetris blocks continuously falling down and signifying an inevitable endpoint. During this process, memories, with each of their Sisyphean repetitions, seem to be able to reconcile with time at last.

About the Performer

CAO Shu (b. 1987, Shandong Province, China) lives and works in Hangzhou, China, teaching at China Academy of Arts. His working interfaces include but are not limited to, 3D digital moving images and interactive games. Cao Shu often constructs narration in a restrained way, offering the audience a new perspective of things, and through his transdisciplinary practice, a multi-branched network of meanings is formed. His works are often based on a specific place and ask open-ended questions. He hopes to reactivate historical events or personal memory at the perceptual level through experiments with different materials and media. In addition, he is also interested in the notions misreading and dislocation based on different cultural and technological environments in history. His works have won such awards as 2022 OCAT x KADIST Emerging Media Artist Award,2021 Exposure Award of PHOTOFAIRS Shanghai, 2015 New Narrative Award from the Long Week of Short Films, and 2017 BISFF Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement. His works has been exhibited in art Museums around the world, such as Kunsthausbaselland, UCCA Dune, Macao Art Museum, Beijing Minsheng Art Museum, OCAT Shanghai and Shenzhen, Sleep Center New York, Die Sammlung Falckenberg Hall Hamburg. Works are collected by KADIST Art Foundation, Australian White Rabbit Art Gellary, Blue Mountain Contemporary Art Foundation, Zhejiang Art Museum, etc

About the Vortex

Vortex is a long-term project. We will update the content of performance lectures by artists and talks by experts both on- and offline. Following the fundamental approach of connecting local practice, theories, and context, we hope that this nonstandard art venue will become a place of torrents, flux, and confluence.

The Macalline Center of Art (MACA) is a non-profit art institution located in the 798 Art District of Beijing and officially inaugurated its space on January 15, 2022. Occupying a two-story building with a total area of 900 square meters, MACA unites artists, curators, and other art and cultural practitioners from around the world. Through its diverse, ongoing, and collaborative approaches, the Center establishes a new site on the contemporary art scene. Guided by the “work of artists” and backed by interdisciplinary research, the Center aims to bring together a community passionate about art and devoted to the “contemporary” moment so as to respond proactively to our rapidly evolving times.