The Garden in the Machine

The Garden in the Machine

June 21 – Sept. 13, 2014

ASU Art Museum
ASU Art Museum
Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts
Location: ASU Art Museum Top Gallery
Campus: Tempe           
Cost: Free

Based on the 1964 book by Leo Marx, The Machine in the Garden, the exhibition's title refers to the “pastoral” and “progressive” ideals explored in his writing. This seminal work characterized early 20th century American culture and its relationship to technology, contemporary society and urban expansion. Today, similar themes emerge in China, where people are currently dealing with the effects of massive urban expansion.


The Garden in the Machine is the U.S. premiere of new video works by artists Cao Fei, Michael Leung, Xu Tan, Koki Tanaka and Zhou Tao, all working in China. They use research videos, experimental documentaries and cinematic approaches to explore strategies for coping with today’s social realities. The artists deal with topics that include forced migration, urbanization, industrialization, food security, environmental and social conflicts. 



Each week for the duration of the exhibition a different video will be screened. In the rear of the gallery are two stations that allow you to view all of the videos in the series at any time. 


Koki Tanaka, a pottery produced by 5 potters at once (silent attempt), 2013. HD Video, 74:00 minutes.
Will be screened June 21–28, July 29–Aug. 2 and Sept. 2–6, 2014.

Cao Fei, Haze and Fog, 2013. HD Video, 47:12 minutes.
Will be screened July 1–5, Aug. 5–9 and Sept. 9–13, 2014.

Zhou Tao, After Reality, 2013. HD Video, 14:03 minutes.
Will be screened July 8 – 12 and Aug. 12 – 16.

Xu Tan, Social Plants and Thought Spasm, 2013. HD Video, 10:08 minutes.
Will be screened July 15–19 and Aug. 19–23, 2014.

Michael Leung, Hong Kong Salt Project, 2013. HD Video, 5:08 minutes.
Will be screened July 22–26 and Aug. 26–30, 2014. 



Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014, 4–7 p.m.
Celebrate the closing of The Garden in the Machine with a lecture by San Francisco-based curator of contemporary Chinese art Xiaoyu Weng and a special screening of the zombie film Haze and Fog by artist Cao Fei. Reception sponsored by Taste of Tops and Macayo’s Mexican Kitchen.
Learn more:


Koki Tanaka, “a pottery produced by 5 potters at once (silent attempt),” 2013. (still) HD video and potteries, 75 minutes. Commissioned by The Japan Foundation created with Creative Vitamin Space, Guangzhou and Pavilion, Beijing.

For more information
Website: ASU Art Museum
Phone: 480.965.0014

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