The Kind Stranger | The Total of Contraries

Venue UNArt Center No.150 NanQuan Road North, Pudong, Shanghai
The Kind Stranger | The Total of Contraries

In London:The Biography, Peter Ackroyd quoted William Blake’s words, that “Without contraries is no progression.” He then concluded it as Blake’s illustration of the city of London, claiming that whichever corner of the city you hit, you will encounter something different - the city is a total of contraries. 

In The Kind Stranger, you will encounter miscellaneous subjects such as technology, tools, space, and neuroscience, while none of them are floating terms. Instead, they are woven into the narrative/time-space of the exhibition: ancient landscapes are rendered by algorithms, Welsh artisan fabricates part of a space suit. The total of all contraries constructs our imagination of the protagonist. Perhaps, the “kind stranger”, is also such a total, something derived from the extension of cognitions. 


Artists who participate in the discussion are not merely “artists”, their work encompass disciplines of design, digital architecture, earth science, computational music and environmental studies. These boundaries are more than “inter-discipline”, and carry with them the elements of history, culture and environment, as well as individual practitioners’s trajectory among them.  Hence, the discussion looks beyond the catch-all phrase of “cross over” or “interdisciplinary”. Perhaps we could revisit Blake’s original quote: “Without contraries is no progression. Attraction and repulsion, reason and energy, love and hate, are necessary to human existence.”

We invite four artists, as the visitor of the Kind Stranger, to the first afternoon tea session of the exhibition. 


Art Yan, Iris Long



Hefin Jones

Hefin Jones is a designer that works with different people and communities to create different ways of seeing their culture, situation, and locality. Grounding his practice is a model called participatory speculation. This involves generating knowledge through research about a context — its people, cultures, materials, histories, industries, infrastructures — and then re-configuring this with the relevant people to speculate on alternative possibilities. Recent residencies and commissions include National Theatre Wales, Design Museum, UP Projects and Crafts Council.

Rena Giesecke
Foto Rena

Rena Giesecke is a Doctoral Researcher at the Chair for Digital Building Technologies at the Institute of Technology in Architecture at ETH Zurich in Switzerland. She studied architecture in Germany, Japan at the Tokyo University of Arts and in Austria at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Rena‘s work spans between performance, new technologies, field work and architectural installation through which she explores the relationship between natural and human-made, and nature`s mutations. She is interested in the human desire to preserve and replicate evanescent iterations of the natural or seeminly natural,which might only remain with us in the form of data or replicas in the future - technologically preserved through models or memorials. Her work reflects on the human desire to engineer artifacts as beautiful as if they were results of natural processes - blurring the boundary of what is engineered and what is natural. 

Yutaka Makino

Yutaka Makino was born in Tochigi, Japan in 1976. He studied Earth science, computer music and visual arts in Japan, the Netherlands and the USA. Since 2010, he lives and works in Berlin. On the basis of research into areas such as phenomenology, experimental psychology, psychoacoustics, neuroscience and systems theory, Makino probes the processes of perception in experimental setups. His performances and installations provide acoustically and visually conditioned environments that make processes of perception tangible to the perceivers and provoke reflection on the acts of perception.

Cédric Van Parys
Photo_Cédric Van Parys

Cédric Van Parys was born in Belgium,now lives and works in London, Rotterdam, Shanghai and Venice. As an artist and architecture, he is always attracted by some structures and objects. These structures and objects provide an overview and a space for observation and contemplation. His installations, sculptural works and exhibition designs are frequently favouring, highlighting or generating centerpieces, using monumentality as a tool to seduce, amaze and create stories. 

Exhibiton The Kind Stranger 2019.08.24-10.20
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