What You Looking At?!

Including the work of Professor Marina Roy …

February 25 to March 20, 2017

Plaza Projects
#2370 4000 No.3 Road

Late last year saw the media coverage of the world’s ‘saddest’ polar bear; “Pizza paces past murals of icebergs in his glass enclosure … shakes his shaggy head under artificial lights [and] crouches by an air vent to sniff the outside world.” Despite public outcry, Grandview Mall in Guangzhou, China holds in captivity the aforementioned polar bear in an enclosed space that measures approximately 40 square meters, in an addition to ‘Asia’s largest aquarium’ which contains six beluga whales in a pool smaller than that of the average Olympic swimmer. Subsequently the mall announces plans to an additional “Adorable Pet Zoo” section of nationally protected species such as white tigers and pandas.

Here, the logic of shopping as an experience, pioneered in North America with the emergence of malls such as West Edmonton is stretched to its absurd conclusion. The existence of Grandview then is symptomatic of the larger abuse of space and other species commoditized into an experience that goes hand in hand with capitalism.

What you looking at?! addresses both the specifics of Grandview mall as well as the broader framework of animal – human relations; the history of animals, not as autonomous beings but its depictions, objects and representations that constitutes how we interact with them. In these instances such as a zoo, or a zoo in a mall is the manifestation of an imbalance of power, one that renders palpable our exploitation of the other.

What you looking at?! features works from the many Guangzhou artists, first witnesses to the mall including He Lixiao, Cai Yimei, Li bo, Zeng Jinghao, Fu pengfei, Xiao Shanshan, Group 3234, Guo Kaiqi, Mr Hippo, Huang Shan+Huang He, Ke Kanfa, Li Hanzhou, Li Xiaoqian, Liang Peiru, Wang Xian, Wu Jiawen, Xiaohei, Yi Ying, Zhou Qinyi, CCA, and Faye. Alongside are local artists that explores differing conceptions of other species including Woojae Kim, Amy Thompson, Wei Cheng, Charlotte Yao and Marina Roy. Additionally are collected documents from Grandview mall regarding their animals in captivity as well as animal research experts and organizations that shed light on illegal animal trading networks that spans across nations.

Curated by Steven Dragonn, Steven Tong, Pongsakorn Yananissorn