M+, at the West Kowloon Cultural District, launches its new global partnership initiative M+ International with the project The Hidden Pulse, taking place in Sydney between 29 May and 2 June. The five-day programme is part of Vivid LIVE 2019, the annual centrepiece of the Sydney Opera House’s year-round contemporary music programme, and is curated by Ulanda Blair, Curator, Moving Image, M+, and Sarah Rees, Curator, Contemporary Art, Sydney Opera House. Vivid LIVE at the Sydney Opera House is part of Vivid Sydney, the largest festival of light, music, and ideas in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Hidden Pulse is the first-ever moving image programme in Vivid LIVE’s eleven-year history. The programme comprises artists’ videos, films, and talks that use contemporary music and performance as their stimuli, and that consider the political, social, and cultural power of music and performance histories.

As Hong Kong’s new museum of visual culture, M+ is dedicated to collecting, exhibiting, and interpreting design and architecture, moving image, visual art, and Hong Kong visual culture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The museum is launching M+ International to create partnerships and collaborations for these activities, and to expand connections with regions beyond Hong Kong. The initiative aims to generate a broader international resonance for M+, whose Herzog & de Meuron–designed building is slated for completion in 2020.

Suhanya Raffel, Museum Director, M+, emphasises the importance of the international collaboration: ‘M+ continues to define a distinctive voice in the contemporary conversation on visual culture, as we work towards the completion of our permanent home in Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District. M+ International is a clear expression of our voice on a new global stage and, with The Hidden Pulse, we affirm our commitment to collaboration across contexts. The growth of our transnational and cross-disciplinary work allows us to establish new relationships, produce new research, and tell new stories for visual culture in Hong Kong, Asia, and beyond.’

Ulanda Blair, Curator, Moving Image, M+, underscores the programme’s significance for M+: ‘The Hidden Pulse explores intersections between moving image, music, and performance, and I am delighted to be able to feature some of the artists in M+’s growing moving image collection. The programme articulates our strong engagement with contemporary practices from around the world, as well as our firm grounding in Asia. Through this exciting interdisciplinary collaboration with the Sydney Opera House, M+ can share our work with Australian audiences for the first time, while also activating our moving image collection in new and unexpected ways.’

Through moving image works, The Hidden Pulse explores the capacity of music and performance to build community, resist authority, shape identity, transform culture, excavate history, and ultimately reclaim cultural space. The programme showcases work by Arthur Jafa (American, born 1960), who was awarded the Golden Lion for best artist at the Venice Biennale in 2019; Wu Tsang (American, born 1982); and Cheng Ran (Chinese, born 1981) and Shao Yanpeng (Chinese, born 1981), all of whom will give talks alongside their screenings. Major presentations of work by Charles Atlas (American, born 1949) and Stan Douglas (Canadian, born 1960) accompany these live events, and The Hidden Pulse also presents four free thematic screening programmes, featuring work by Oliver Beer (British, born 1985), Meriem Bennani (Moroccan, born 1988), Jay Chung and Q Takeki Maeda (American, born 1976; Japanese, born 1977), Martin Creed (British, born 1968), Dara Friedman (German, born 1968), Camille Henrot (French, born 1978), Amrita Hepi (Bundjulung (Australia) and Ngapuhi (New Zealand), born 1990), Christian Jankowski (German, born 1968), Rashid Johnson (American, born 1977), Mark Leckey (British, born 1964), Angelica Mesiti (Australian, born 1976), Vincent Moon (French, born 1979), Jenn Nkiru (British, born 1987), Hetain Patel (British, born 1980), the Propeller Group (established Vietnam, 2006), Justin Shoulder and Bhenji Ra (Australian, born 1985; Australian, born 1990), Tao Hui (Chinese, born 1987), YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES (established South Korea, 1999), Samson Young (Hong Kong, born 1979), Katarina Zdjelar (Serbian, born 1979), and Zhou Tao (Chinese, born 1976). Panel discussions involving local and international artists and curators unpack the themes of The Hidden Pulse.

Sarah Rees, Curator, Contemporary Art, Sydney Opera House, says, ‘The Hidden Pulse will give audiences the opportunity to view moving image artworks by acclaimed international artists from diverse geographical locations and cultural backgrounds. I hope the screenings and talks will prompt audiences to consider some of the complex histories that have shaped contemporary music, and the social contexts in which it is both produced and consumed.’

Sandra Chipchase, Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer and Vivid Sydney Executive Producer, says, ‘Vivid Sydney celebrates the Harbour City as the creative hub of the Asia-Pacific, and this exciting addition to Vivid LIVE at the Sydney Opera House reflects that. We know that millions of visitors will enjoy exploring the breadth of light installations and projections, music performances, collaborations and creative ideas, and discussion and debate.’

For more details on the programme and ticket prices, please visit https://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/vividlive.

Remarks

About M+
M+ is a museum dedicated to collecting, exhibiting, and interpreting visual art, design and architecture, moving image, and Hong Kong visual culture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. In Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District, we are building one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary visual culture in the world, with a bold ambition to establish ourselves as one of the world’s leading cultural institutions. Our aim is to create a new kind of museum that reflects our unique time and place, a museum that builds on Hong Kong’s historic balance of the local and international to define a distinctive and innovative voice for Asia’s twenty-first century.

About the West Kowloon Cultural District
The West Kowloon Cultural District is one of the largest and most ambitious cultural projects in the world. Its vision is to create a vibrant new cultural quarter for Hong Kong on forty hectares of reclaimed land located alongside Victoria Harbour. With a varied mix of theatres, performance spaces, and museums, the West Kowloon Cultural District will produce and host world-class exhibitions, performances, and cultural events, providing twenty-three hectares of public open space, including a two-kilometre waterfront promenade.

About the Sydney Opera House
The Opera House is a masterpiece that belongs to all Australians. It is the nation’s premier tourism destination, a world-class performing arts centre and celebrated community meeting place. Each year, the Opera House welcomes 10.9 million visitors to the site, including more than 2.1 million performance and tours patrons. A global beacon for creativity, it is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List and Deloitte has estimated its total social asset value to Australia at $6.2 billion. Since embarking on a decade of renewal at its fortieth anniversary, the Opera House is now midway through a programme of major upgrades to ensure this twentieth-century icon continues to inspire twenty-first-century artists, audiences, and visitors.

About Vivid LIVE
From 24 May through 15 June 2019, the Sydney Opera House welcomes some of the most ambitious and innovative artists on the nation’s most famous stages and, most publicly, its iconic sails, for Vivid LIVE, part of Vivid Sydney, the largest festival of light, music, and ideas in the Southern Hemisphere.

Entering its second decade in 2019, Vivid LIVE continues to transform the Opera House inside and out. Curated for the fifth time by the Opera House’s Head of Contemporary Music, Ben Marshall, Vivid LIVE is the annual centrepiece of the Opera House’s year-round Contemporary Music programme, and features Australian premieres and exclusives, bespoke music projects, and expansive programming.

Since 2009, Vivid LIVE has staged major cultural events including Brian Eno’s Pure Scenius (2009), the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O in Stop the Virgens (2012), Kraftwerk’s The Catalogue in 3D (2013), St. Vincent (2014), An Evening with Morrissey (2015), Bon Iver’s Cercle (2016), Max Richter’s Sleep—performed overnight in the Concert Hall Northern Foyer (2016)—and Solange’s four-night residency in the Concert Hall (2018). The ground-breaking Songlines transformed the sails into an animated canvas of indigenous artwork in 2016 and last year (2018) Jonathan Zawada created Metamathemagical, inspired by Australian motifs across science, nature, and culture. Watch all Vivid LIVE past highlight videos here.

About Vivid Sydney
Vivid Sydney is the largest festival of light, music, and ideas in the Southern Hemisphere. Celebrating its eleventh anniversary in 2019, Vivid Sydney is continually setting the benchmark for world-class events, creativity, and innovation. It will transform the Harbour City into a colourful creative canvas from 24 May to 15 June 2019.

The Festival features spectacular large-scale light installations and projections, contemporary and cutting-edge music performances and collaborations, public talks by renowned thought leaders, industry seminars, conferences, and creativity workshops, all celebrating Sydney’s place as the creative industries hub of the Asia-Pacific. Vivid Sydney is owned, managed, and produced by Destination NSW, the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency, and in 2018 attracted 2.25 million attendees. For more information visit vividsydney.com.

About the Artists

Charles Atlas
Innovating at the nexus of dance, performance, and moving image, New York–based artist Charles Atlas (American, born 1949) is considered a pioneer of the film-dance genre. Working in film, video, installation, theatre, and performance for over four decades, he has created works for screen, stage, gallery, and television. He has collaborated with important figures from the worlds of dance, art, performance, music, and theatre, including Michael Clark, Merce Cunningham, Leigh Bowery, John Kelly, Marina Abramović, Antony Hegarty, Yvonne Rainer, Fennesz, New Humans (Mika Tajima and Howie Chen), Karole Armitage, and Bill Irwin. Atlas’s groundbreaking early works, including the seminal Blue Studio: Five Segments (1975–1976), evolved from a unique collaboration with Merce Cunningham, for whose dance company he was filmmaker-in-residence from 1978 to 1983. Atlas has worked on numerous international productions for television with choreographers, artists, and musicians. Typified by a provocative, postmodern performance sensibility and an ironic urban insouciance, Atlas’s works transform performances into vivid time capsules of contemporary culture.

Cheng Ran
Cheng Ran (Chinese, born 1981) has emerged in recent years as one of the most significant video artists and filmmakers of his generation. Born in Inner Mongolia and trained at the China Academy of Art, he is inspired by a range of media, including painting, sculpture, and film, as well as by language and sound. His work approaches existential malaise and the ambiguities of everyday reality through an otherworldly lens, blending cinema, theatre, and poetry in a sophisticated grammar of sound and image. Cheng was an artist in residence at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam in 2013, and his work has been exhibited widely, including at the Munich Kino der Kunst Film Festival (2013); the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2013); the OCAT Contemporary Art Center, Shenzhen (2014); and the Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2014). A solo exhibition of his work, Cheng Ran: Diary of a Madman, was held at the New Museum, New York, in 2016. He was named Best Video Artist by Ran Dian magazine in 2011, and was nominated for the OCAT – Pierre Huber Art Prize in 2014. He received the Best Director Award at the Madrid International Film Festival in 2017.

Stan Douglas
Since the late 1980s, Stan Douglas (Canadian, born 1960) has created films and photographs—and more recently theatre productions and other multidisciplinary projects—that investigate the parameters of their medium. His ongoing inquiry into technology’s role in image-making, and how those mediations infiltrate and shape collective memory, has resulted in works that are at once specific in their historical and cultural references and broadly accessible. Since 1990 his films, videos, and photographs have been seen in exhibitions internationally, including documenta IX, X, and XI (1992, 1997, 2002); the Carnegie International (1995); the Whitney Biennial (1995); and three Venice Biennales (1990, 2001, 2005). Most recently, he was named as one of the artists included in the Venice Biennale in 2019.

Arthur Jafa
Arthur Jafa (American, born 1960) is an artist, filmmaker, and cinematographer. Across three decades, he has developed a dynamic practice comprising films, artefacts, and happenings that reference and question the universal and specific articulations of Black being. Underscoring the many facets of Jafa’s practice is a recurring question: how can visual media, such as objects and static and moving images, transmit the equivalent ‘power, beauty, and alienation’ embedded within forms of Black music in US culture? Jafa’s films have garnered acclaim at the Los Angeles, New York, and BlackStar Film Festivals and his artwork is represented in celebrated collections worldwide including the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Studio Museum in Harlem; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; the Dallas Museum of Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Stedelijk Museum; the LUMA Foundation; the Pérez Art Museum Miami; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Recent solo exhibitions of his work were held at the Pérez Art Museum Miami; the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archives; and Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague. A forthcoming solo exhibition will be held at Moderna Museet, Stockholm. Jafa was awarded the Golden Lion for best artist at the Venice Biennale in 2019.

Shao Yanpeng
Shao Yanpeng (Chinese, born 1981), who also performs as Shao and was previously known as Dead J, is an acclaimed electronic music artist, composer, and sound designer based in Beijing. He delves into the dynamics of sound and space with rich, complex compositions that are influenced by German techno and textured with diverse sonic fragments. His dreamlike music articulates architectural ideas of light, void, and construction, responding to the contemporary transformations of Chinese society and the urban landscape. He regularly collaborates with director Meng Jinghui, creating scores for avant-garde theatre productions. In 2009, he directed the film Date, documenting the electronic music scene in Berlin, and he was invited by the Goethe-Institut in 2011 to re-compose the soundtrack of Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent film Metropolis. Shao performs extensively in China and beyond, and developed an innovative live set with visual artist Wang Meng. He released three albums under the Beijing label Modern Sky and was the first Chinese artist to be signed by the renowned Berlin label Tresor, releasing an EP in 2015 and the album Doppler Shift in 2018.

Wu Tsang
Wu Tsang (American, born 1982) is an award-winning filmmaker and visual artist. Her films and artworks have been broadcast and presented in festivals and art exhibitions around the world, including the SXSW Film Festival; the Berlinale; Hot Docs, Toronto; the Museum of Modern Art, New York (MoMA); the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; the New Museum; the Whitney Biennial; Tate Modern; the Stedelijk Museum; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Hammer Museum; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Gwangju Biennale; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei; and the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art. She was a 2016 Guggenheim Fellow, and was named one of 2012’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film. Her first feature film, WILDNESS (2012), premiered at MoMA’s Doc Fortnight festival and won Best Documentary at Outfest Los Angeles. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, The New Yorker, Artforum, Frieze, Interview, Dazed, and Vogue. In 2018, Wu Tsang was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship, a multi-year funding grant for artists of exceptional originality, insight, and potential.