status report


Research and documentary trip about the Belt and Road Initiative

Today, the world is globally connected as never before. Over centuries, trade routes have developed between countries that are now permanent fixtures. Now a famous trade route has been rehabilitated and redeveloped. The New Silk Road has been celebrating its existence since 2013. This One World One Belt (一带一路) project is an unprecedented linkage of more than 65 countries starting from China. In contracts, the expansion of railroad lines, roads, ports and airports were assessed. The overall project already affects more than 60% of the world's population and 35% of the world's economy. In the process, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has significantly expanded its route network. Generally, there are two maritime routes and three land routes for the trade of goods. All routes start or end in China. By the time a container ship reaches Germany, it has already covered 6,835 miles. The Chinese Dream has already made it far beyond the country's own borders. Countless products are not only exported from the country, but also imported into it. These are the products that influence our current lives and determine our future.

status report: port khalifa two in the united arab emirates
status report: construction site in azerbaidjan

Why is this interesting for contemporary art?

Art conveys thoughts, feelings and circumstances, and at the same time it is traded as a commodity in various price ranges. Beliefs, great powers and trade always have been determining factors for Arts and they have always been used as a demonstration of the power of institutions and entire empires.

China is famous for extraordinary professionalism and attention to detail in painting and pottery. Ceramics and porcelain were previously transported via the Historical Silk Road and have had a lasting influence on our households. However, a legitimate question arises: what influences does the BRI have on our direct future? How are the physical trade routes and the trade goods themselves controlled? Who decides which goods are imported and exported? In addition to the meaning of these products in terms of content, it is equally about the materials used to create the crafts. Brushes, paints, hardware - how big is the influence of corporate interests and trade agreements on contemporary art?

Explicitly in photography, the focus should be on the leading manufacturers. It is the juxtaposition of technical possibilities and the question of availability in art that form an interesting factor, one that has been increasingly brought into focus by industrialization in the past century. Artworks such as those made by Jordan Wolfson (Female figure, 2014), Sun Yuan and Peng Yu (Can't help myself, 2016), and Darek Siusta (Cone, 2017) further highlight the question of access to innovation and financial expenditure of artists. Art can quickly be placed in the category of luxury goods and is increasingly shaped by immense production costs and exorbitant prices.

status report: new and historical silk road in uzbekistan

In status report, the extent to which the artistic goods traded through the Belt and Road Initiative are affected will be examined. During the research the topic will be thoroughly evaluated with the help of statistics, excerpts from contracts, and comparisons to historical trade contracts.

The first research trip will start in June 2022 and will focus on countries in East Asia, Central Asia, and Oceania that are linked to China through the BRI, such as Thailand, Singapore, Qatar, Kyrgyzstan, and New Zealand. The aim is to explore people's access and relationship to artistic objects, as well as the interventions in nature associated with them. In the status report, an art photography "qualitative study" will be produced, serving as a subjective report of photographic nature.

With a fast-moving and open journalism approach, the focus of the work is to capture a contemporary and holistic impression of our world, the influence of digitalization, and our role as humans in the 21st century.

status report: child on streets in rwanda
status report: streets in rwanda

Thanks to the supporters of this project