Lecture Series


The Courtauld Institute of Art, London
6.30-8pm, 09.03.2023

Xin Liu, The White Stone (2021), digital video, 21'57''. Courtesy of the artist.

The second event in the Asymmetry Distinguished Lecture Series, ‘Energies of Attachment: Rethinking Intimacy in contemporary Chinese and Sinophone Art’ is a conversation between artist Xin Liu and curator Joni Zhu.

Xin Liu is an artist and engineer who creates experiences/experiments that trace the contours of personal, social, and technological space in a post-metaphysical world. Her work resides between the measurable and ineffable, seeking tensions and reconciliations at macro- and micro-scales that are at once otherworldly and all too human. While her research and practice has centred on extraterritorial explorations and cosmic metabolism, — the metabolism of our planet and how it has been affected by technological infrastructures — she has more recently shifted her focus inward, probing the intimate mechanisms of biological processes, genetic sequencing and reproduction. In their conversation, moderated by Senior Lecturer Dr Wenny Teo, Liu and curator Joni Zhu will speak to a number of themes that they share in their practice, including diasporic subjectivities, speculative fictions, machine conditioning, ecologies of care and alternative imaginings of the future.

The event will include a special screening of Liu’s celebrated video performance work, ‘Living Distance’ (2019), a poetic chronicle of a real event in which the artist launched her wisdom tooth to outer space in a crystalline robotic structure called EBIFA aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket, and brought it back to Earth again


Organised by Dr Wenny Teo, Senior Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Art, The Courtauld; Michèle Ruo Yi Landolt, Deputy Director, Asymmetry Art Foundation, and Dr Feixuan Xu, Asymmetry Postdoctoral Fellow, The Courtauld.


Xin Liu (b. 1991, Xinjiang/China) is an artist and engineer. Xin is the Arts Curator in the Space Exploration Initiative at MIT Media Lab and an artist-in-residence at SETI Institute. She is the recipient of numerous awards and residencies, including Porches Chinese Young Artist of the Year 2021, Forbes 30 under 30 Asia, X Museum Triennial Award, the Van Lier Fellowship from the Museum of Arts and Design, Sundance New Frontier Story Lab, SXSW Interactive Innovation Award, Core 77 Interaction Design Award, Fast Company Innovation by Design Award, among others. Xin’s transdisciplinary work is widely covered by international media including NY Times, Nature, Wallpaper, VICE, Scientific American and Art Forum.

Dr. Joni Zhu is a curator who works at the intersection of contemporary art, critical theory and cultural analysis with projects including programming and writing. She is a lecturer at the School of Creative Arts at University of Hertfordshire and has previously lectured at Goldsmiths, University of London where she received her PhD in Curatorial/Knowledge, and Postdoc investigating networked surveillance, visual arts and minoritarian politics. She has held positions at Sadie Coles HQ and Kings Place and organised projects for freethought’s Bergen Assembly, the Guardian, among others.

Dr. Wenny Teo is Senior Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Art at The Courtauld Institute of Art. She runs the MA Special Options ‘Global China’ (2022-23) and ‘Infrastructural Imaginaries: Technology, Ecology and Futurity in Chinese Art’ (2023-24). Her research centres on modern and contemporary East and Southeast Asian art in a global context, particularly artists based in the UK from the 1950s to the present day. She previously worked as a curator at the Museum of Modern Art Shanghai and Tate Modern, and her writing has appeared in numerous academic journals and art magazines. She is on the editorial boards of Oxford Art Journal, and Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art.