Author Topic: Mixing Politics, Nudity and Art in China  (Read 301 times)

jbeegoode

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Mixing Politics, Nudity and Art in China
« on: December 26, 2018, 10:25:21 PM »
"Cheeky Chinese artist critiques society with nudity"

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/cheeky-chinese-artist-critiques-society-nudity-041609686.html

Ou Zhihang's photographs himself exercising nude at sites such as the Hong Kong bookstore linked to the disappearance of five booksellers

Setting up a camera in a public place, Ou Zhihang hastily removes his clothes, then with just one bottom-exposing press-up -- his work is done.

The artist has taken more than 700 photos capturing his nude exercises on streets in China and sometimes abroad -– a body of work unmatched in the contemporary art world.

But the locations he chooses -– sites of government abuses, protests and disaster -– show there is more to his work than just cheek.

"My aim isn't to get people to look at my press-ups, but to use a method to get society to think,” said the 46-year-old, clothed in a white polo shirt and jeans for a dim-sum lunch in his hometown of Guangzhou.

Taken as a whole, Ou's work presents an alternative history of China's last decade – highlighting “sensitive” events that Communist authorities would rather play down.

One 2008 photo shows him naked opposite the grey office of a milk powder company at the heart of a scandal which sickened some 300,000 babies that year. Pedestrians walk by opposite apparently oblivious.

Three years later, he stripped at a patch of scrubland near the village of Wukan in southern China, where villagers had risen up against local officials in protest at land grabs.

He has exposed himself at the site of China's deadliest high speed rail crash in 2011, anti-Beijing protests in Hong Kong in 2014, and chemical explosions in Tianjin last year.

All the events were covered by China's state-run media, but in a heavily censored form which shifted blame away from central authorities.

"The aim is to make the public remember these incidents," he said. "People know, if there is a place where something happens, I should make an appearance there.”

- Social strength -

A TV producer, Ou started experimenting with naked photography on work trips to foreign hotels "as a way of reliving stress", before his first outdoor shot on China's Great Wall in 2005.

As a method of physical exercise, the press-ups are meant to symbolise "building social strength".

Perhaps surprisingly, despite its sensitivity Ou has been able to distribute his work on China's closely controlled internet, and its oblique nature has enabled it to be featured in China's tightly censored domestic press.

He has been chased by dogs and had run-ins with local police –- who on several occasions have detained him and told him to delete photographs.

Last year, he was nabbed by officers outside a cottage in southern China where four children drank pesticide after being abandoned by their migrant worker parents, and only released once he flashed his press credentials.

"As soon as I took the photo, a car pulled up and took me away," he said.

He credits the survival of his work to his avoiding explicit verbal criticism of Communist authorities, letting his photos speak for themselves with simple titles stating their location and the incident in question.

But China's online population –- who remember incidents even after reports on them are deleted, get the message.

"Using nudity brings a force to his art, it shows the force of an individual in the face of powerful public architecture," said art critic Li Xianting.

Ou acknowledges the risks. “You have to be careful... at the moment I'm safe,” he said.

"You need to do things which are meaningful for society. It can open a window, and be shared by ordinary people. That's already a kind of change."

- Impertinent nudity -

Straddling art and journalism –- winning a commendation at the World Press Photo Awards in 2010 -- his work was the subject of a major exhibition in Venice last year.

"His 'impertinent' nudity is a protest against the arrogance and neglect of power to the society and people," Chinese art critic Gu Zheng said in the exhibition catalogue.

The artist has not had a large-scale exhibition on the mainland, saying he prefers to distribute his work online.

He updates an account on social media service Wechat with his thoughts on China's latest scandals -- from the death of an academic in police custody to the 50th anniversary of the destructive Cultural Revolution.

Most are accompanied by a image from his collection, picked to match the topic. His posts are often deleted, but the account has remained operational.

"I care more about having an impact on society than holding exhibitions for academics," he said, contrasting himself with high-profile artist Ai Weiwei, who is rarely displayed in China.

"Many people in the West think that Ai Weiwei's work is great, but over here it's not shown," he said. "A lot of his thoughts cannot be exchanged with the masses."

Ultimately, though, Ou would prefer there was no need for him to bare his flesh.

"I hope that China will stop having the kinds of incidents which need my involvement," he added. "That way I can live quietly".

Lifted this off of Kensunwalker's blog.
Jbee



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John P

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Re: Mixing Politics, Nudity and Art in China
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2018, 07:08:35 AM »
Lifted this off of Kensunwalker's blog.
Jbee

Very ethical of you to say so, JBG.

Meanwhile here's something in the New York Daily News, though actually I doubt if it's very artistic:

https://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-pol-mueller-nude-selfie-russian-troll-farm-20181228-story.html

Peter S

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Re: Mixing Politics, Nudity and Art in China
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2018, 11:56:23 AM »
Due to European internet rules this website isn't accessible from this side. Can you distill the contents, please, John.
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John P

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Re: Mixing Politics, Nudity and Art in China
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2018, 04:45:40 PM »
Well, ethics be damned. Here's the full text of the article. But don't ask me to explain what it's all about.



This investigation has it all.

Special counsel Robert Mueller got his hands on a “nude selfie” while collecting a cache of data from a Russian company charged with interfering in the 2016 presidential election, according to a court filing.

Concord Management and Consulting, which is accused of coordinating a massive social media plot to help elect President Trump, lamented in court papers late Thursday that the special counsel is overstepping his authority by refusing to release some of the data his team has obtained.

Mueller argues the data should be sealed because it contains “sensitive” information about national security and U.S. intelligence techniques.

Lawyers for Concord begged to differ.

“Could the manner in which he collected a nude selfie really threaten the national security of the United States,” the lawyers asked in the filing.

It was not clear from the filing who’s portrayed in the selfie and the exotic revelation wasn’t referenced at any other point in the papers.

A spokesman for the special counsel declined to comment.

Concord, which is the only Russian defendant charged in the special counsel investigation to actually engage in a U.S. court, has pleaded not guilty to a conspiracy charge related to the Kremlin’s sweeping interference in the election.

The company is owned and operated by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a billionaire oligarch who’s been nicknamed “Putin’s chef” because of his closeness with the Russian president.

Prigozhin, 57, has been separately indicted by Mueller with bankrolling the so-called Internet Research Agency, the Kremlin’s primary troll farm, which launched a multifaceted interference campaign to boost Trump’s chances and disparage Hillary Clinton.

Mueller continues to investigate whether the Trump campaign colluded with any Russians before the election. His inquiry has produced dozens of indictments against Trump associates and Russian nationals, including the President’s former campaign chairman, national security adviser and personal lawyer.

Bob Knows

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Re: Mixing Politics, Nudity and Art in China
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2018, 06:27:04 PM »
Quote
Mueller argues the data should be sealed because it contains “sensitive” information about national security and U.S. intelligence techniques.

Mueller has filed charges against about 2 dozen Russians and Russian companies, but has not yet presented any evidence against any of them to the court.  Only one of them bothered to enter a "not guilty" plea.  And Mueller is refusing to provide evidence against the Russian company.  Many Americans believe that all the charges are lies. 
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BlueTrain

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Re: Mixing Politics, Nudity and Art in China
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2018, 08:02:31 PM »
Meuller is a republican, you know. Republicans don't lie. They don't, do they?

Bob Knows

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Re: Mixing Politics, Nudity and Art in China
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2018, 09:23:03 PM »
Meuller is a republican, you know. Republicans don't lie. They don't, do they?

I think Mueller is actually a Communist.   But, maybe that was his buddy from the CIA.   
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jbeegoode

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Re: Mixing Politics, Nudity and Art in China
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2018, 08:56:24 PM »
I always remember what Snowden told us. The government, which is closely associated with Britain's government, has been doing their best to hide their surveillance.

Somewhere along the way our basic civil rights ceased to be guiding principles. Now, they only apply to Americans and the rest of the world don't deserve basic civil rights. Something that is dangerous.

The principle was placed in the constitution in reaction to British soldiers ransacking peoples homes and papers when we were colonies. The USA government excuses itself, now that it has become the Empire subjugating the world.

So, intelligence gathering may expose these tricks to us and the rest of the world. There was great hoopla in Germany and Brazil for some of Snowden's exposures. They don't want us to know, them to know, that our government is playing a disrespectful, underhanded, ill-principled and dirty game on us all. So, it follows that "national security" is considered to be jeopardized if someone knows that their private emails have been snooped into.

Only Americans are supposed to be secure in their papers and mail, but we know that now that is not true.

It may be that the evidence would be thrown out of court anyway, perhaps for these reasons.

So,what's with the censorship making it so that people in Europe can't read this stuff?
Jbee
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Peter S

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Re: Mixing Politics, Nudity and Art in China
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2018, 10:55:34 AM »
Not censorship. The EU brought in new rules about websites installing cookies to track”the user experience”, and a lot of US sites either haven’t or won’t adjust their settings to cope, so just lock out EU-based readers. The main effect of the rules is that instead of making users accept cookies, a site has to offer an opt-out.
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BlueTrain

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Re: Mixing Politics, Nudity and Art in China
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2018, 12:16:44 PM »
I find it ironic that a nudist should be concerned with privacy. Privacy is a very modern concept. American natives, usually called Indians, would find it equally ironic that white people should be worried about being safe in their homes.