Interbeing / 互即互

An exploration of collaborative ceramic and sound art practice in Britain and China

Interbeing is our most ambitious project to date, a China-UK ceramics and sound collaborative project taking place throughout 2020-21, funded by Arts Council England. It explores cultural exchange between two different making cultures, the UK and China, through two different disciplines, ceramics and sound art. The concept of ‘Interbeing’ comes from the Heart Sutra, a Buddhist text, showing how everything in the material world is intimately connected.

“If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either. So we can say that the cloud and the paper inter-are. […] ‘To be’ is to inter-be. You cannot just be by yourself alone. You have to do inter-be with every other thing. This sheet of paper is, because everything else is.”

(Thich Nat Hanh from ‘The Heart of Understanding’, 1998)

In our connected global culture of the 21stCentury, Interbeing explores the cultural connections that unite artists from different backgrounds and disciplines. In our post-Covid-19 era, the ways that we cooperate trans-nationally are of particular importance to continue to support ongoing and encourage communication and collaboration across closed borders.

The Interbeing project brings together two contrasting nations, Britain and China, and two contrasting disciplines, ceramics and sound art. We invite artists from both countries to participate in a series of exhibitions, performances and residencies in 2020-21 at The Ceramic House in Brighton, the Powell-Cotton Museum in Kent and the Oriental Museum at Durham University.

Interbeing is curated by Kay Aplin (ceramics) and Joseph Young (sound art) and is the continuation of an investigation into collaborative sound art and ceramic practice that started with Landscape: Islands (2016) and Made in Korea (2017).

The project timeline is undergoing changes due to the pandemic, therefore the following schedule is subject to Covid-19 restrictions.

The Interbeing project launches in May 2021, The Ceramic House hosts the first exhibition of the project featuring contemporary Chinese ceramics by international artists of Chinese heritage.

In June 2021, the Summer in the City festival in Durham will host the making of a new sound art/performance film devised and created by Joseph Young and realised with the help of the local community. The film explores the Tai Chi movement tradition and its relationship to Joseph’s custom designed sonic baton instrument which he uses to conduct sound live within performances. Also for SITC, an exhibition of new ceramic work by Kay Aplin will be installed in Durham town centre, featuring large scale wall-mounted porcelain tiled installations, inspired by traditional Chinese floral symbolism.

In June-July 2021, the Powell-Cotton Museum hosts a residency for two Hong Kong ceramic artists, Annie Wan and Lau Yat Wai, who will be collaborating with two UK artists working in sound, Emily Peasgood and Dan Thompson. The results of their collaborations, will be displayed over the summer in the historic setting of Quex House, Margate.

In September-October five UK artists (Andrew Livingstone, David Cushway, Valeria Nascimento, Fenella Elms and Kay Aplin) will travel to China to undertake a residency at Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute. Each ceramic artist will be paired with a Chinese sound artist (Zhang Xian, Hui Ye, Sun Wei, Sheng Jie) to produce accompanying sound pieces, creating five new interdisciplinary sound and ceramic installations.

A series of final exhibitions will opening from September to December 2021, continuing through to early 2022 at the Oriental Museum and other sites at Durham University. It will bring together the whole Interbeing project including: a transfer of the exhibition from The Ceramic House, the collaborative ceramic and sound installations created in residence at Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute and Powell-Cotton Museum. We will host talks and workshops for the public and screenings of the film created during Summer in the City.

Interbeing is produced by The Ceramic House in partnership with:

The Oriental Museum, Durham University (UK)
Raby Castle, Durham
Powell-Cotton Museum, Kent (UK)
Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute (China)
Karin Weber Gallery, Hong Kong

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