Overseas Investigation | “Graduation…Honestly, I don’t know. Everything and Nothing.”

TEXT:CAFA ART INFO    TIME: 2020.6.28

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What are the keywords for the year 2020? Pandemic, quarantine, turmoil, dilemma, drastic changes... These relatively negative words often occur to most people at the very beginning when thinking about this. 2020 is indeed a special year for everyone, it is also a tough year, that cannot be denied. As for graduates in 2020, the situation can be even more challenging. From the initial outbreak of the pandemic to the turbulence encountered by all of society in the post-pandemic era, graduates are faced with a series of tests, such as the shift of their graduation creation, the unusual form of the graduation show and ceremony, life after graduation and employment, etc.

In the graduation season 2020, “Graduates of 2020” have become a hot topic of concern throughout the world. On this occasion, as well as from focusing on domestic graduates in China, CAFA ART INFO also pays attention to overseas students. Through having conversations with art graduates from different countries, we expect to observe and analyze the dilemma, challenges, their mental health and the new opportunities under this circumstance from their eyes.


“What are you pursuing your studies away from home?”

“Why do you choose this country, university, and major to study?”

Most of the overseas graduates who participated in the dialogue chose to leave their homeland to study art in a new country and this question above was answered by each overseas student in his or her own personal statement when applying for school as one of the most basic questions. The answers often involve “unique cultural ambient”, “humanistic atmosphere and tradition”, “professional ranking”, “avant-garde contemporary art practice”, “school platform”, “supervisors’ “research interests”, “alumni resources” ...And on the occasion of graduation, we once again review this question as well as discuss graduates’ understanding of their majors and professional knowledge.

For most students who chose art academies based in European countries to develop their professional skills, they are often attracted by a strong humanistic atmosphere, solid academic traditions and active and avant-garde art concepts and practices. The contemporary, experimental, and open artistic atmosphere allows for many artistic thoughts to be gradually implemented. At the same time, the specific division of professional directions can allow students to focus on the artistic practice of a certain field under the guidance of professional supervisors and offer the opportunity to extend their research fields and develop their art creations to other dimensions on this basis.

Shokir is a second-year student who studies Public Sphere at MA Contemporary Art Practice at the Royal College of Art (RCA), UK. Shokir’s artistic creations have always been concerned with the public sphere and what is happening now. After entering this major, the research direction of the supervisor and the professional content design of the course featuring publicity and urgency coincide with Shokir’s professional interests. By being involved in the class, Shokir’s critical thinking on art creation is also cultivated in this process. When talking about “class”, Shokir admitted that it was not the same as what she had expected: "it is more like a process to learn how to contact and share with each other, to open up your own world and to experience how to present our works in different places.”

 

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Shokir, "Lose Waves", Oil Painting, 20 x 20 cm

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Shokir, "Now it’s your turn", Oil Painting, Collage

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Shokir was preparing for the degree show.

Despite experiencing the summer school in the RCA, Yukako Tanaka, who is now in the same program with Shokir, still feels that this MA course exceeded expectations. From Tanaka’s perspective, the art practice of multimedia, diverse concepts, and various thinking modes expanded her focus on social and political issues which can adapt scientific evidence into a fine art context.

Li Wenli, who is currently a second-year postgraduate student studying fine arts at the Paris-Sorbonne University, chose to come to France because of its abundant avant-garde fine arts resources. Prior to this, Li Wenli's major was design, so she did not have a deep understanding of the theory and practice of fine arts. Reviewing her knowledge of this major at graduation, Li Wenli said: “This is a path towards my true self and can give me a sharper insight into the social environment around me, which is completely in line with my original understanding of art.”

作品1.jpgLi Wenli,"The World Above the Horizon",Woodcut, Book Production, 20 x 10.5 x 2 cm

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Li Wenli, "When my eyes are dark",Video installation

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Li Wenli, "Thread",Silk,Photograph

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Li Wenli, "Golden Momory", Installation, Mixed Materials

On the other side, in the United States, many well-known contemporary art institutions, pioneering contemporary art practices, a mature art market system, a highly industrialized and professional film atmosphere also attract people who come to study and explore. However, the fast-paced modern metropolis life, the blending, and contradiction of various cultures and races present a different living and learning atmosphere from European countries. Zhang Luowei, who studied art management at New York University, emphasized the geographical and resource advantages of New York University in this field. While reviewing his two-year studying process, he also felt the cruelty of this field: “‘One achieves goals while ten thousand bones rot.’ I hope I can stick to it.”

Zhao Yongyueyang is an undergraduate student majoring in film direction in the United States. He completed high school in Canada so he is no stranger to the Western education system and cultural background. Since his parents are all engaged in the field of painting, Zhao wants to "choose a different path from them". Thus, film direction, as a major containing multiple art categories, became his final choice. Over the past four years, his views on the industry have changed a lot, and at this stage, he shared a sentence from the head of the department at the time of admission: “In this industry. If you are not white. You are gonna have to work twice as hard. If you are not a man, you are going to have to work three times as hard.” Zhao emphasized that the dean’s words at that time were not malicious, just as a reminder, which also directly revealed the cruel reality of this field in this country—race, gender, and cultural background all may be the reasons why you are not seen and this is a set of “rules” that everyone knows in their hearts. Later, Zhao realized that many rules did not only exist in Hollywood. He admitted that many of his fantasies had been broken by reality and his thoughts of making a blockbuster had been hidden in his pocket.

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Zhao Yongyueyang,"The Dog of Dewey Street", Screenshot

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Zhao Yongyueyang,"Summer Never Ends", Screenshot

For most students who go to study art in a new cultural environment, adapting themselves to the new environment should be the first lesson to learn. The faster they adapt to the country's culture, atmosphere, customs and even social rules, they can often start more efficiently to practice their artistic pursuits as originally conceived. However, due to cultural shock, language issues, VISA limitations, course setting, etc., the time for students to adapt is too limited. Many of them may still be confused and anxious, and they come to graduation in a trice. And the graduation season this year seems to be extremely caught off guard because of the advent of the pandemic.


(adj.) Graduation Year

Q:“Can you use 1 to 2 keywords to conclude your graduation year“

A:“Confusing”, “Persisting”, “absentminded”, “Tough”, “Waiting”, “Creating”, “Thinking”, “Hurry”, “Contradicting”, “Chaos”, “Disappointing”, “Changing”, “Opportunity”, “Regression”, “Challenging”, “Vulnerable”, “Ice cream – it just melts.” …

It is not difficult to see that the state of confusion, haste and chaos occupies the majority of students’ graduation year in these simple words. The quarantine policy with the world pandemic situation seems to allow everyone to be alone with their families, but the reality is that most people are spending this special period in a cycle of anxiety, waiting, relief and becoming anxious day after day.

MLJ, who is studying art history in central United States, is currently in her second year of the postgraduate program and will graduate in June this year. When retrospecting her graduation year, MLJ picked a pair of contradictory words – “persisting” and “confusing” to summarize. As she mentioned, “there are too many unknown and undecided matters, but it is a pity to give up here.” MLJ had completed her master's degree thesis last year so that she could do further research based on her personal interest in the visual culture of karuta playing cards in the Edo period in Japan. The rich resource in her university and the guidance from her supervisor can largely benefit her exploration of this topic. However, subject to the pandemic, the original field investigation was forced to be canceled and switched to telephone or video interviews. Although the research process was able to move forward, MLJ still regretted that “the original plan was to visit a once-in-ten-year Kannon Hall opening. The mother of the manager of Kannon Hall who we planned to interview is advanced in ag, and the Japanese scholar who would travel with me is also in his seventies. I realized that if I miss this opportunity, I don’t know if I can still meet and work with these older people during the next decade.”

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Left:The Kannon zushi feretory at Nose Kannon Hall, closed, decorated by “Kurofuda” regional-patterned karuta playing cards. Image provided by Sannohe Board of Education, Sannohe, Aomori Prefecture.

Right:Depiction of a spirit of karuta playing card, in Chikusō, Saki-wake ron, c.1778-80.

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Left:MLJ. After Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, “Teasing the Cat,” 1888.

Right:MLJ. After Kitagawa Utamaro, “Twelve hours in Yoshiwara: 2:00 in the morning,” 1794.

In all kinds of adjectives representing complex emotions, Li Wenli in Paris still chose “creating” and “thinking”—two things an artist does every day, to summarize this year. Facing the sudden arrival of the pandemic and the various changes that followed, Li Wenli said that in her post-graduation planning, there was not much discrepancy before and after the outbreak. For her, the forced quarantine and maintaining of social distance enabled a quiet period of rest for the self-focused creation, which takes away the hustle and bustle of the city.

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Li Wenli was preparing for final presentation.

Han Zhuang, who is also in Paris, studying at the Angelica Mesiti studio in the third year of the National School of Fine Arts Paris, France. This year is the last year of his undergraduate degree. For Han Zhuang, who focuses on video and sound installations, similarly, the spread of the pandemic in Europe did not have an impact on his art creation very much. The graduation exhibition will be held in the right gallery of the National School of Fine Arts Paris at the end of June as usual. However, the cancellation of the opening somehow indicates that a few audiences will participate in it this year. When it comes to how to digest and understand that as an art graduate facing such challenges and difficulties this year, Han Zhuang expressed a frank acceptance of various problems: “An artist's responsibility is to find and solve problems, then the problem comes, which is beneficial to each artist’s creation. We need to look at all the good and bad things that this world brings to us, instead of just being confined to our own personal world.”

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Han Zhuang,2019 Graduation Design, "Tonight You Sleep This Side, Tonight You Sleep That Side"

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Han Zhuang,2020 Graduation Design, "Love me, Fuck me"

For students graduating in the UK this year, the tests began at the end of 2019. From November 25th to December 4th, 2019, 60 universities across the UK were suspended due to a strike. Many art schools that have not participated in strikes before were also among them this time. Strikes and demonstrations brought about a period of academic gap that delayed or even canceled many courses, lectures, and workshops that were originally planned. Moreover, many opportunities for communication and cooperation with external artists, curators and institutions based on the academy platform cannot be achieved as scheduled. As a result, all the variables have frustrated students who value the opportunities and platforms provided by academies, projects, and supervisors. If the class-suspension gives students more time to think, digest and create independently, then the following pandemic made things even worse – it stops students from any studios and faculties. Using equipment and consulting literature in the library which has turned out to be impossible.

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At the end of 2019, UCU announced university strike between Nov.25th to Dec. 4th 2019.

Source: http://ukchinese.com/

Wang Hongxuan is currently majoring in fine arts at Goldsmiths College, University of London. She studied in Studio Four of the Printmaking Department at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts. At this stage, she is officially involved in the speculation of contemporary art, which has also brought her many problems that require to be understood and solved. In the past two years, due to many variables in the external environment, confusion and pressure have always been with Wang Hongxuan. “It seems that the previous problems have not been solved yet and new problems have emerged.”

Paola Estrella is pursuing a master's degree in the UK. According to the original semester plan, Estrella should finish the degree show and thesis in June and successfully graduate this year. However, under the catalysis of the pandemic, Estrella had to choose to pause school until 2021, “it is not worth paying such a high fee for online teaching from my studio in Mexico, without even getting any compensation.” The closure of school facilities and studios, the alternative online courses which have replaced face-to-face lectures and seminars and the unlimited delay of a physical degree show made Estrella feel that the experience of graduation this year did not match the huge investment she spent. Postponing graduation is a frustrating decision.

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Paola Estrella,Graduation Creation "A Timeless Parallel", Video Installation, Moving Images

Like Estrella, Yukako Tanaka also decided to take a leave of absence for one year. She picked the word “chaos” to conclude the graduation year. From tutors’ strikes to COVID-19, Tanaka’s second semester was filled with countless changes. Despite most of Tanaka’s graduation creations are videos and moving images, and the online experience may even be better than the physical space in terms of the final presentation effect, but as Tanaka mentioned, the pandemic situation is getting worse in Japan. It is particularly important to support each other and the family at this moment. Based on this, Tanaka has to extend the semester to stay with family.

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Yukako Tanaka,"Memory of Ghost—Sound of Gravitational-wave"

*This moving image is a part of the performative ceremony.

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Yukako Tanaka,"Close Encounters of the Existence", 3D Hologram

Like the Royal College of Art, many art colleges and universities have given different options of either to graduate on time or extend the semester for graduate students. However, for most international students, the biggest challenge would be the VISA policy if they cannot graduate on time, especially currently, the policies of different countries responding to the pandemic keep changing every minute. In this case, the consideration of issues such as great investment in tuition and living expenses has taken a back seat.


“Dilemma: What does graduation mean?”

A:“It means going out of a place where you can make mistakes at will. In the future, you need to face everyone and deal with everything in the most professional way you learned during the university.”

“The circus tour comes to an end.”

“We often joke that graduating is going to be ‘severely beaten by society.’ University graduates are too small in the film industry, and no one really needs you at this stage. Graduation is the beginning of learning for me.”

“Be clear about yourself.”

"Professional thinking is still going on, and many problems have not been solved, but an environment that can help and relax my concentration has to leave. I have to face the pressure of life caused by the inevitable environmental changes. Graduation means that I have to face reality. Finally, I am not far from the situation where I always have to compromise.”

"Art will no longer be just art, it can also be a means of earning a living."

“Honestly, I don’t know. Everything and nothing.”

“Graduation for me is a lot about the degree show.”

For most students, graduation means the end of a trip, but at the same time, it is also the beginning of a new chapter. In the new journey, the identity of the students no longer exists, and the guidance of the school and the tutors has come to an end. Recognizing yourself and facing reality will be a necessary lesson. Prior to this, for the art students, the most intuitive embodiment of the concept of “graduation” was the degree show—students will display their works to present what they have learned and it was also the first time they would be examined in front of both industry professionals and the general public. However, under the severe situation of the pandemic in 2020, every art academy had to reconsider its graduation exhibition—cancellations, postponements or transitions to online. As the graduation season approaches, various initiatives have been notified and launched.

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2019 Central Saint Martins Degree Show—Show Two: Design Opening

Source:IG:csm_news,Photo by John Sturrock

The Degree Show of Central Saint Martins, which is held regularly in May and June every year, is regarded as not only a platform for fashion design and art institutions throughout the world to select talent and exchange professional ideas but also a special time that allows the general public free entry. This year, in order to cooperate with the government to protect against the pandemic, the CSM Degree Show in the summer of 2020 has been canceled and the graduation ceremony has been postponed until further notice. Although the university announced that it would launch a virtual showcase platform in July and will also try to reorganize the offline exhibition this year according to national policies, the notice that “degree shows are no longer part of the assessment for any course: students’ final grade is not dependent on showing their work in public", and the missed opportunity that allows face-to-face exchanges with industry leaders frustrates the majority of students to a great extent.

A great number of art academies in the UK have adopted the same policy as Central Saint Martins. Most online platforms will be launched around July and universities are also making every effort to promise offline exhibitions this year once the pandemic is effectively controlled. However, everything is still unknown as of now.

When discussing the impact on the graduation creation this year, Ioannis Dimopoulos believes that it is not the change of medium or the choice of the university to move the show online that affects the work, it is the whole situation itself that shifts many things in people. Under this circumstance, a lot of the things we are undergoing and planning to do and many intimate needs have been changed. Dimopoulos emphasizes that it is the situation which each one of us is experiencing and understanding that matters most.

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View of 2017 BA Degree Show of Athens School of Fine Art

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Ioannis Dimopoulos, "Route 47"

Under the current circumstances that the online graduation exhibition becomes the general trend, Wang Hongxuan is pleased with the temporary decision that the Goldsmiths College of London will not move the degree show from offline to online. But the graduation exhibition held every July is postponed to September this year. When Wang Hongxuan was discussing this decision with tutors, the Dean of the department explained that the school made the final decision based on the role of the graduation exhibition can play in the entire society with the pandemic. “When the quarantine is over, we hope that our physical degree show will allow the audience to come in for face-to-face communication, and intervene in a new or restarted social environment in the name of art.” Wang Hongxuan deeply felt that in the coming degree show, the exhibits would no longer be just a group of students’ works. This is why she was able to overcome the frustration and negative emotions caused by the pandemic and insisted on creating.

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Wang Hongxuan, "After the failure of the Revolution", Video in loop, Stand Microphone, Still Frame Screenshot

Kenichi Ishiguro, who has just obtained a master’s degree in MA from the Global Seminar of the graduate school at Kyoto University of Art and Design felt fortunate that he was able to participate in the degree show in February as usual because the semester in Japanese universities normally ends in March, with a new semester starting in April. At the beginning of this year, Japan had not yet been seriously affected by the pandemic. While successfully graduating, the outbreak of the pandemic forced Ishiguro to face the postponement or cancellation of group and solo exhibitions he is participating in, as well as concerns about the delay for the artist residency in Sydney. During this period, Ishiguro stated that he would continue to focus on experimenting and preparing new works for the postponed exhibitions.

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2019 View of Graduation Exhibition of Kyoto University of Art and Design

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Kenichi Ishiguro, "The Island of Stone Money and My Sculpture",

Limestone from the island of Palau, Storyboard, Lebbek tree, Cuban mahogany, Video, Photo and others

The cancellation of the graduation exhibition made Zhao Yongyueyang majoring in directing feel relieved: “Many art graduates will be explored by major companies after the graduation exhibition, but this does not include students in the film department. The reality is no one will carefully go through our short films in such a crowded and noisy environment. Also, nobody will hire you to be a director as it just depends on several insignificant palm marks.” Zhao frankly said that he had more time to deal with his own unfinished short film due to the cancellation of the degree show, which is not a bad thing.

Shi Yang, who is studying film in the U.S., was not impacted by the online version of the degree show and graduation ceremony except for the lack of a sense of ritual. However, in the post-pandemic era, the influence of the whole art ecology would never stop at the degree show. Specifically, for art graduates, the next challenge after graduation should be job hunting and livelihoods. Originally, Shi Yang planned to work for one year and then continue to study. But at this stage, he has had to face a sharp decline in job opportunities in the United States. At the same time, the projects in the domestic studio he was running were postponed as well because he could not return to China. Tang Shichen, who encountered the same situation, originally planned to join a film group in February. Due to the pandemic situation, the working schedule was postponed to July. During the 6 months of “spare” time, apart from home creation, Tang Shichen could only pick up some short term work such as editing, writing, or MV making to cover living expenses.

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Shi Yang, "Last Night in Baihua Street", Screenshot

5.pngTang Shichen, "Get Lost", Screenshot


“The Future? The Essential Qualities of Being An Artist?”

Q:“Entering society and becoming an artist, especially this year, what are the real challenges and qualities that must be possessed?”

A:“To keep sane and in a productive state of mind. I do believe that the main struggle is the economy."

“Don't lose enthusiasm in this silent year.”

"Thinking is still the hardest. Essential traits include allowing yourself to live well in an uncontrollable external environment, intervening in rampant social networking, and the ability to explore happiness in it.”

“Artists always have to face variable issues in society. Even now in these particular circumstances, I don't think this will change the challenges and the essential qualities of being an artist.”

When it comes to the plan after graduation, apart from theory-based majors such as art history, art criticism and some majors with intimate involvement in the related art ecology, market and industry such as art management, design and film directing, a large number of graduates of art academies will continue to engage in pure art creation and become independent artists. Compared with the status of students at school, entering society as an "artist" will require graduates to re-examine themselves in different environments and dig into their qualities.

It is undeniable that economic income may be the biggest dilemma faced by all creators who have dedicated themselves to art. And this predicament was pushed to the extreme under the influence of the COVID-19 this year. Under the current situation, all walks of life are confronted with large-scale layoffs, salary reductions and industry depression, it is difficult for art creators to have a fixed income to maintain even the most basic demands. As companies, art institutions and organizations are also facing difficulties, it is hard for them to provide individual artists with project funding as usual. This seems to be the most straightforward manifestation of the so-called “experiencing social trials” and “facing with cruel reality” that many graduates talked about in the interview. In this case, how can we persist in or even further tap the essential qualities of an art creator in such a predicament?

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"Can Do Art. But Not Necessary"

Image from Internet.

During the interview, to answer this question, Paola Estrella who is engaging in the contemporary art practice shared her experience as a graphic designer before she chose to take the MA program. “I believe that the most important thing in the career of an artist is to keep going and to make your practice focus on your life. Although in some stages you will need to work in other fields to earn a living, you have to keep making art.”

In fact, when someone gives up his or her life and work and shifts to another professional field, an extremely strong belief is necessary, which also comes from his or her enthusiasm and persistence in art creation. Being able to acquire new professional skills and knowledge from the new program is one aspect, but for the fine art field, what is more significant is that students are given a lot of freedom to be focused on discovering and exploring themselves as an artist. For further studies in the field of art creation and practice, Estrella responded frankly: “If you are not sure you want to be an artist, I would rather recommend studying something else and investing that money on a master's degree that will give you more job opportunities in the future.”

Admittedly, enthusiasm and perseverance are indispensable spiritual forces during the long-distance running of an art creation. At the same time, keeping thinking actively and cultivating the adaptability to confront the changing society and the world should also be possessed by artists to perceive the surroundings and reflect on the current situation. Among the post-pandemic art ecology, the prosperous growth of online platforms and virtual media indicates that the concepts, technologies and thinking of art creation are being reformed and the faster the creators can adapt themselves to such transformation and utilize those variables, the more efficiently they can capture the valuable information and keep on creating art from a sharp and unique perspective.  


“Foreseeing Opportunities in Crisis and Turmoil?”

Q:“Besides the number of negative impacts brought up by the pandemic, do you perceive any new opportunities and possibilities in terms of your personal development or the change to the entire industry?”

A:“During the quarantine, the crowd was extremely differentiated.”

“We need solidarity, cooperation and to share opportunities more than ever. We want to share real ideas; we need opportunities to communicate with more people.”

“I think the pandemic just increased the industrial chain of communication between virtual and reality and brought the world virtualization one step closer.”

“Virtual galleries, live-stream performances and social media platforms have a lot of attention now, it has been very interesting to participate in those and reach a different audience.”

“It is time to reconsider and reorganize activities occuring in the last two years.”

Regarding the word “foreseeing”, not only graduates but even professionals are often cautious and conservative to it. Under the influences of pandemic, in the general environment, all ethnic groups and cultural communities have unprecedented unity and empathy and human beings are more aware of the importance of cooperation and sharing than ever before. In the field of art, although the vigorous rise of online platforms and virtual media has been quite obvious in various countries, the every-minute change in the post-pandemic society forces the majority to take the wait-and-see attitude. But there is no doubt that in the process of art creation, artists more or less feel and touch the changes around them, and such insight into variables is often projected in their thinking on self and observation.

Yukako Tanaka mentioned that thanks to online viewing, the possibility of international attention is the most beneficial in the current circumstance. At the same time, however, artists also need to pay extra attention to this huge range of “online” audiences. Zhang Luowei from New York University is also concerned about the rise of online platforms. It coincides with his research on the graduation thesis of social media strategies of Beijing art institutions. From his point of view, the future exhibition methods may be combined with social media genes.

Kenichi Ishiguro talked about the unheard-of support and funding of cultural and artistic activities by the national government under the pandemic. In Japan, various local governments have established their own artistic and cultural aid grant. In particular, Kyoto City has decided to provide excellent arts and cultural support grants for freelance artists and others.

What attracts Wang Hongxuan’s attention is the obvious group differentiation during the quarantine—some people quickly adapt to offline and online transformations; some feel powerless, but move forward swept along by the environment; and some choose to resist the changes with anger. Faced with such a complex but interesting social mobility change, we as artists can observe and reflect on so many details, and we should no longer restrict our attention to the promising future that we might encounter.

Regarding this topic, Ioannis Dimopoulos shared a different viewpoint. Dimopoulos sees the “opportunity” and “possibility” that are proposed as a way to unite the world under these conditions. Either freer accessibility of online resources or sympathy for each other, it is the principle that we needed to practice a long time ago. We should not wait for the proposals to call for unity and we should help each other until the disaster strikes. In fact, many voices were saying and pointing out those things. It just happens that it is now that someone finally noticed them, thought of it, and did it.

What has inspired us from Dimopoulos’ viewpoint is the significance of “timing”. In the raging pandemic, various industries have suffered serious setbacks, each group in society is confronting different challenges, and people are slowly repairing themselves. However, it is undeniable that in the great social turmoil, many unnoticed voices and demands have been pushed to the front of society and many overlooked issues and groups have also been enlarged and concerned. Challenges and opportunities coexist at this crucial moment. It may be difficult for people to predict how society and the world will be reconstructed and reborn after the pandemic, but to accept this world will always have accidents, to be concerned, to listen, to think, are the actions that each of us can take.

YouTube, Dear Class of 2020

Source: YouTube

2020 is destined to be remembered by history. Graduates of this year have experienced unprecedented dilemmas, confusion and chaos, but at the same time, they have received unheard-of worldwide attention. A few days ago, the virtual graduation ceremony Dear Class of 2020 held on YouTube has aroused widespread social concern and resonance and also encouraged the 2020 graduates to a great extent. In this article, the status of overseas graduates and the perspectives on issues are only a very small aspect of this group. The discussions mentioned above are not the most representative, but they do involve some common aspects in the present. On the occasion of graduation, I hope to share a paragraph of the speech given by Beyoncé Giselle Knowles to all of you:

“Keep your eye on your intention. Don’t let any outside distraction or your own insecurity stop you from your goals. Embrace that struggle. Surviving that struggle will strengthen you. This is crucial in our history and in your life. The earth is ripping that Band-Aid off so we can really see our wounds, so we can acknowledge and nurture them. That's when true healing begins.”

—Beyoncé Giselle Knowles, Dear Class of 2020, YouTube


Special Thanks to all Interviewees:

MLJ, Wang Hongxuan, Shokir, Li Wenli, Han Zhuang, Paola Estrella, Kenichi Ishiguro, Yuki Kobayashi, Yukako Tanaka, Shi Yang, Tang Shichen, Ioannis Dimpoulos, Zhao Yongyueyang, Zhang Luowei


Interview and Text conducted by Emily Weimeng Zhou

Edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO

Image courtesy of interviewees (except for special annotations).