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Open Call: Announcement of Recipients

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Open Call: Announcement of Recipients

© Xiaofei Mo
© Sponge-Gourd Collective
© Matjaž Tančič & Christiano Bianchi

We are overwhelmed by the amazing response of high-quality applications. Here are the recipients of our research grant:

Xiaofei Mo

What does it mean to be “foreign”? After the 1858 Treaty of Tientsin which granted foreigners the right to travel in China, Russian orientalist Alekseĭ Matveevich Pozdneev visited Beijing, Yanqing, and Zhangjiakou — the terminus of a principal caravan route at the time, and now the host of the 2022 Winter Olympics. Pozdneev arrived in China at a moment when the notion of foreignness was intensely debated, and now the occasion of the Olympics — a meeting point of local and foreign — seems to offer another opportunity for discussion. Together with an AI companion named POND, we plan to visit sites along Pozdneev’s route as a pair of foreigners to produce a new travelogue. The goal here is not to pledge allegiance to one history or another, but instead to develop a way of seeing from outside, a voice that can only be understood as foreign and alien.

Xiaofei Mo is an archivist and filmmaker based in New York. She is currently working on POND, an AI that grows and expands through a series of human-machine collaborations to explore the porous nature of moving image. Recent projects include curator of A Disappearing Act (Triangle Arts Association, New York, 2017), curator of screening program for Public Spirits (Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, 2016), and editor of artist book Zhou Tao: Blue and Red (2015). She worked as an archivist at Asia Art Archive in America from 2011 to 2017, and was a research fellow at the Seagull Foundation for the Arts in Calcutta. She holds a BPhil in Logic (Sun Yat-sen University) and an MA in Cinema Studies (New York University).

→ xiaofeimo.info
→ pond.is

Beatrix Chu, Daphne Xu & Diane Zhou (Sponge-Gourd Collective)

跳出北京看北京 The Harmonious Commute is a narrative project documenting Beijing’s high-speed rail (HSR) trajectories and their emerging cultural impacts. The HSR will integrate Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei into one entity; our project will explore the resulting edges and in-betweens. We will conduct interviews and collect visual material through photography, video, and drawing. Synthesizing our materials into narratives, we will overlay lived oral histories with fictive reimaginings of megacity identities to explore the megacity on a human scale. The intended audience of our narratives (films, audio recordings, stories, photo collage, illustration, or their combination) is future HSR passengers.

丝瓜集团 (Sponge Gourd Collective) is a loofah for the future, a squad of green goons, a slimy surprise. We investigate urban transformation to explore Chinese futurities. With backgrounds in visual art, photography, anthropology, community organizing, film, and literature, we develop multimedia projects that broaden popular conceptions of China, to leave more room for the blurry spaces in between.

Our projects deconstruct unstable meanings of Chineseness and speak to Chinese youth and members of the global Chinese diaspora. Self-searching is a seed that sprouted this collective; as rapid development calls for a fluid, flexible future, our conceptions of identity too must remain open to flux.

→ interview with the Sponge-Gourd Collective

Matjaž Tančič & Christiano Bianchi

Bio and a short description of the project will follow soon.


  • Annie Malcolm
  • Leng Yue & Xiao Xiao (Mono)
  • Iris Lacoudre & Camille Sineau
  • Prof. Dr. Ursula Kirschner, Prof. Marlis Roth, Neuka Kirschner & Joanne Ashton-Jones
  • Sasha Amaya & Songqia Yao


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