SEa of Difference

The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons The New School for Design presents “兩岸關係” | “Cross-Strait Relations” | “两岸关系 "

Jun Yang

Still from Jun Yang’s video installation Phantom Island (2008-2009), part of “兩岸關係” | “Cross-Strait Relations” | “两岸关系”at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons The New School for Design

On View September 27 – December 15, 2013
Opening reception: Thursday, September 26, 6-8 pm
The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center
Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery
Parsons The New School for Design

NEW YORK, September 12, 2013— In Jun Yang’s Phantom Island, a bright green artificial island in the shape of Taiwan is transported through a city, then towed and released in the East China Sea, floating away. In the short film, we see the island pass unnoticed through crowded streets, seeming at once totally at home and jarringly out of place. This idea of being both within and apart from something is central to “兩岸關係” | “Cross-Strait Relations” | “两岸关系,” the fall exhibition at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons The New School for Design. The exhibition is on view September 27 through December 15, with an opening reception on September 26 from 6-8 pm.

“The diverse range of works in this show—videos, photographs, installations, sound art, and performance—explore the pluralism of Chinese identity,” said curator Arthur Ou, an artist and assistant professor of Photography at Parsons The New School for Design. “By reexamining that identity, both geographically and culturally, these works cast the term ‘cross-strait relations,’ a commonly used phrase that points to the fraught relationship between China and Taiwan, in a new light.”

As mobility has increased between various Chinese regions – Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and other sites of the diaspora – the polarization inherent in that term is increasingly transcended by other political and cultural experiences. This exhibition brings together a group of artists who embrace that itinerant sensibility, responding to their various artistic bases, and whose work takes up the complexities of movement and identities. Two powerful re-enactments reflect the psychological formation of new subjects: Ming Wong re-imagines the 1974 film Chinatown by playing all of the main roles himself and Chen Chieh-jen takes his own U.S. visa interview as a point of departure for staging the drama of anticipation and supplication that such encounters entail. Cao Fei’s slyly playful photographs in her PostGarden series transplant popular BBC cartoon characters into a landscape of thrill and mystery.

“Not only do these works shatter monolithic conceptions of being Chinese, they also explore transformation rather than migration as a global condition,” said Radhika Subramaniam, chief curator of the SJDC. “We are reminded that the slim straits that separate us are also spaces of translation and radical re-invention, all issues familiar to the life of New York too.” Other works featured in the show are by Heman Chong, Lee Kit, Michael Lin, Charwei Tsai, Hong-kai Wang, and Hu Yun. A site-specific window installation by Lin will contribute to the drama of the gallery’s frontage and filter street views.

About the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center
The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center is an award-winning campus center for Parsons The New School for Design that combines learning and public spaces with exhibition galleries to provide an important new downtown destination for art and design programming. The mission of the Center is to generate an active dialogue on the role of innovative art and design in responding to the contemporary world. Its programming encourages an interdisciplinary examination of possibility and process, linking the university to local and global debates. The center is named in honor of its primary benefactor, New School Trustee and Parsons Board of Governor’s Member Sheila C. Johnson. The design by Rice+Lipka Architects is the recipient of numerous awards, including an Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects. For more information please visit

Parsons The New School for Design is one of the leading institutions for art and design education in the world. Based in New York but active around the world, the school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the full spectrum of art and design disciplines. Critical thinking and collaboration are at the heart of a Parsons education. Parsons graduates are leaders in their respective fields, with a shared commitment to creatively and critically addressing the complexities of life in the 21st century. For more information, please visit

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SJDC General Information
Location: 2 West 13th Street, New York
Gallery hours: Open daily 12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. and Thursday evenings until 8:00 p.m.; closed all major holidays and holiday eves
Admission: Free
Info: Please contact 212.229.8919 or visit


79 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10003


Media Contacts:

Deborah Kirschner
212.229.5667 x4310
[email protected]

Chris Chafin
[email protected]

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