a man in a chinese robe with a hand on his head

Grounds of Coherence / the language we met in

Shen Xin & Ali Van / AX Archive
Friday, February 9, 2024 at 7PM
EMPAC Studio 1—Goodman

Grounds of Coherence #1 / but this is the language we met in is a program organized around a new film of the same name by artist Shen Xin. Much of Shen’s recent work explores the ways language weaves together the world. The artist activates translation and live improvisation within their production process to address the discrepancies between what is stated in words and what is conveyed through affect, and to allow multiple voices to access shared histories and spaces of belonging.

This program features Shen and performer Ali Van’s first public project as the collaborative AX Archive.

Shen’s new film–from the ongoing series Grounds of Coherence–probes cultural adjacencies and emergent solidarities by dramatizing linguistic patterns alongside footage from different regions. Myths are recited in English between two lovers; words for stories are named in Arabic; protesters chant in regional Mandarin. Shen follows the spillages from sound and script into images. Overlapping forms of storytelling bring together scenes from a dense forest, a wood cabin, and a public demonstration. The result is a reflection on the power of language to forge commonalities, perhaps even before we become conscious of them.

The event unfolds around a screening of Grounds of Coherence #1 / but this is the language we met in (2023). Together as AX Archive, Ali Van and Shen Xin open the event with a spatialized audio performance that mirrors the narrative style in the film, including recordings from their work as AX Archive.

Following the screening of the title film, the program concludes with a workshop designed and facilitated by curator Katherine C.M. Adams, at the invitation of Shen and Van. It explores how origin myths might create their own sonic, linguistic, and social archipelagos. The workshop is a live session that the audience is welcome to observe or actively to participate in with their own projects. Writing materials will be provided.

Main Image: Film still: Grounds of Coherence, 2023. Courtesy the artist. 

Dates + Tickets

Time-Based Visual Art
Grounds of Coherence / the language we met in
Shen Xin & Ali Van / AX Archive
Friday 9
7:00 PM
February 2024
$10 / $6 RPI students in advance, or FREE at the door
Presented By

EMPAC Spring 2024




Friday, February 9, 2024