73 students of both Recording and Digital Media at the Nanjing University of the Arts are having their work displayed in an unusual location that takes the form of a number 35 bus.
Organised by the Cultural and Educational Section of the British Consulate General and the PRS for Music Foundation, China’s first “sound art gallery”, a moving one at that, has been fitted with six loudspeakers that play 21 songs produced by the students.
The music was created in response to visual art and has been edited and mixed by award winning UK artist, composer and performer Mira Calix. Speaking of the project, Calix said, “Every time people get on public transport, they lower their head and stare at phones. Not only in Nanjing, it’s also true for London and Sydney. I think art is much more enjoyable than a phone for sure. People can get intimate with art when they step on my bus and maybe they can see a different world for a change. It would worth all the effort even if only one person resonates to this art project in the next three month”.
The interesting initiative is an extension of a campaign last year, dubbed by the British Council as “Music on the Go”, as part of the 2015 UK-China Year of Cultural Exchange. Last summer, music fans in five major cities across China took part in a competition to win tickets to the Bestival music festival in the UK. Buses in Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Chongqing and Wuhan featuring lyrics from ten British artists enabled local people to listen to a track by each and enter the competition via QR codes displayed on the sides of the buses.
Coorganizer AMNU (Art Museum of Nanjing University of the Arts) calls the the number 35 bus project a “notion of trust”, noting that trust exists throughout our everyday lives; we trust every touch, sight and sound that we experience. A bus journey even, represents an exercise in trust and cooperation among people. The Museum calls this the right way to fall in love with art, allowing us a glimpse into realities of beauty, truth and good.
The normality of the location in which to place the artwork was also a draw for Calix. She went on, “The art gallery isn't just a place for people all dressed up to gather. It is part of the life we live and breathe. I hope these works bring a sparkle to the audience's imagination and challenge people to see the world around them in a new light, to make everyone realise that art is in everyday life. It is everywhere”. Jump on the number 35 when you see it, until 6th April. The bus runs from Xinjiekou North with major stops at Zhujiang Lu, Gulou, Xuanwu Lake and Zhongyang Men. Those less mobile minded can also visit the exhibition’s stationary version in No.0 Hall of the Art Museum of Nanjing University of the Arts.