23 July 2010
Artist Michael Yuen has been touring Europe and China with his lecture series ‘Cities: from flux to now,’ in preparation for creating a new work using phones.
Both the lectures and the phones are concerned with re-envisaging the city. Michael lectures about new views on the city: he has a desire to go beyond our known positions on it, to confront its cliches and ultimately our inaction.
Against the backdrop of Asia’s mega cities Michael guides us through the complexities of the contemporary city. Within today’s cities of flux, we find rapidly changing social structures and built environments with no clear direction. And, in them, Michael tells us it is not enough to merely describe and document, but rather it is important to find tools for acting. Michael's talks aim to dismantle urban theory from the last sixty years, and search for new terms for the city in art, architecture, philosophy and city planning.
The current tour has included the Willem de Kooning Academie Rotterdam (Netherlands); Jan Matejko Academy Krakow and Warsaw Polytechnic (Poland); Bauhaus-UniversitÄt, Liszt School of Music Weimar, Whiteconcept Berlin (Germany); Love Vienna (Austria) and C Space, Beijing (China).
In preparation for his new 'Phone Lectures' project supported by CPU:PRO in Beijing, the Australian-Asia Centre in Sydney and the Inter-Arts Office of the Australia Council for the Arts, Michael is using the lecture tour to spread his ideas about contemporary cities. He plans to create performative intervention in public space, by leaving mobile phones in public spaces, supermarkets, cafes, offices and alleys. The phones are used to deliver lectures and engage broader communities in conversation about the city and philosophy.
Michael Yuen is an Australian artist working across a range of mediums including sound, light and performance. This is not the first time Michael has tackled the idea of cities. In 'Follow', Michael paid fifty people to follow him for a day as he went about his usual activities walking through the city. His works have been selected for exhibitions and projects with Zendai Museum of Modern Art (Shanghai), Australian Centre for the Moving Image (Melbourne), Beijing Modern Dance Company, Hong Kong Shenzhen Biennale of Architecture, Adelaide Festival of Arts, SSamzie Space (Seoul), Beijing 798 Biennale, Freies Museum (Berlin), ArtBeijing and MODEM Centre of Contemporary Art (Hungary). He has served as a peer for the Inter-Arts Office and Music Board at the Australia Council, and received Ruby Litchfield and AsiaLink awards. Michael is also the co-founder of the Donkey Institute of Contemporary Art, an art space travelling Beijing's streets on the back of a donkey.
'Phone Lectures' has been supported through the Inter-Arts Projects grant.
For further information about Michael Yuen and this project see www.michaelyuen.com.au.
Image credits: Michael Yuen lecturing at the Bauhaus-UniversitÄt, Weimar, Germany. Photo by Constantin Popp.