Magic Spaces is a multimedia exhibition project involving five Australian and five Chinese artists reflecting on the theme of cultural exchange and cultural re-imagination, with final work presented in Beijing between Feb-March 2011. The project brings together a distinguished group of Australian and Chinese artists to foster a new space for visual articulations of social change engendered by inter-cultural interaction. While issues of cross cultural communication, urbanization, migration and sustainability arising from geographical and digital mobility extend worldwide, the focus will fall on Australia and China, their relationship and the space in between.
The physical space between China and Australia has never been as close as it is currently. In the age of globalization, particularly one facilitated by digital technology and the Internet,? there is relentless increase in the traffic of ideas, commerce and visitors between Australia and China. This has resulted in profound change for each respective country. These sometimes occur as pockets of obscure change, that will nonetheless pervade social stratum over time, with widespread impact. Such conditions give rise to an urgency for spaces of cultural re-imagination. It is the goal of the project to create a space for Australian and Chinese artists to engage, connect and interact to find new ways of expressing these changing world.? At the same time, issues of defining, maintaining and encouraging unique cultural, religious and political identities have become paramount. The need to reinforce our unique cultural identities whilst at the same time building our inter-cultural relationships is an underlying theme of this project.
Entitled Magic Spaces, the project will celebrate “Australia and China Year” 2010 and 2011. Magic Spaces implies multiple transmitting sources, multiple constructions of ideas, interdisciplinary practices, inter-cultural interventions and endless possibilities. It will be a space that gathers two cultures to examine diverse points of view across many disciplines and critical attitudes. Creating new synergies allows multiple readings of meaning and multiple translations of meaning. Australia and China have a long history of engagement dating back to the era before the Australian gold rush. The historical spaces of this is evidenced by the significant role of the Chinese in the economic and cultural development of Australia. The engagement in reciprocal contact is evidenced by the biographies, memorabilia and photos of Chinese migrants to Australia, which marks the trajectory of this cultural interaction. Magic Spaces will explore and present the Australia-China relationship as it is today through contemporary art, while reflecting on its past connections and contemplating on its future. Magic Spaces aims to provide local, national and international perspectives on contemporary Australian and Chinese art and culture; to explore the relationships between different communities in Australia and China; to be cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural, with an important holistic emphasis on social, cultural, environmental and economic issues; and to encourage critical thinking of the participating artists as well as the audiences involved.