Curator and Serpentine Galleries artistic director Hans Ulrich Obrist, who this week launched a new conversation series with Art Basel geared toward connecting artists with their influencers, named an installation by young Shanghai artist aaajiao
(the virtual persona of Xu Wenkai) at Leo Xu Projects
as a favorite of the fair thus far. The piece, Gfwlist
(2010–2013), explores the strict arm of China’s firewall, through which the state limits the online experience. According to Obrist, the installation is “based on Stanley Kubrick’s black monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey
,” he said. “In the middle of the monolith the artist inserted a small printer, which prints out nonstop papers with a list of encrypted domains of websites blocked by China’s Firewall (such as Google, Facebook, YouTube, the New York Times
, Twitter, BBC, etc.).” Ultimately, he said, it “creates a junction of distribution and censorship, translation and encoding.” The artist’s work is currently on view in “HACK SPACE,” a group exhibition co-curated by Obrist at Shanghai’s chi K11 art museum.