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The Ashmolean Museum and the
University of Oxford China Centre present

Friday 26 Apr 2013, 7.00–10.30pm

LiveFriday: April 2013

Oxford's Weekend Starts Here...

Free Admission, All Welcome!

On the last Friday of each month, the Museum will open its doors from 7.00 – 10.30 pm, giving visitors the opportunity to see the collections and major exhibitions after hours. Interactive events including theatrical performances, creative workshops and lively talks will be on offer, with drinks and dinner in the rooftop Dining Room on Level 4 and a bar in the vaulted Café on the Lower Ground Level.

Karaoke Lounge
Floor -1, Café
7.00 – 11.30pm
Tickets: Free, drop-in

With karaoke houses, or "KTVs", all over China the Ashmolean thought it only appropriate to transform the vaulted café into one big Karaoke Lounge for the evening in honour of the popularity of this Chinese pass-time.

In the style of Chinese Karaoke the Karaoke Lounge will possess a fun, informal atmosphere with drinks and snacks flowing, and no obligation to listen to the person performing! All of the songs will be well-known Western songs, and whilst there won't be any Chinese style private rooms to hide your talents away in, if you don't want to sing you can try out your language skills, "Wo bu hui chang ge!" (I cannot sing)!

Xu Bing's Forest Project – Art Workshop by Emma Titcombe of The Project Room
Floor 3, Gallery 57, Special Exhibitions Galleries
7.00 – 10.30pm
Tickets: Free, drop-in

Take inspiration from the Xu Bing: Landscape Landscript exhibition, and examples of text and images from nature that you identify in the Ashmolean’s collection, and bring them together in this exciting art workshop that draws upon Xu Bing’s innovative Forest Project.

Through art, culture, education, the involvement of local people, and the internet, Xu Bing's Forest Project has created a system to facilitate the automatic and uninterrupted flow of funds from developed countries to Kenya, China and Brazil, earmarked for the planting of new trees. Forest Project seeks to establish a self-sustaining system linking these two worlds symbiotically through auctions of artwork created by students from primary schools across the globe.

The Text and Image in Nature workshop will give visitors the opportunity to make drawings inspired by exhibits within the Ashmolean, and their own imagination, or alternatively select from a collection of paper images and text provided. Works produced in these workshops will be assembled as a collage that will grow from a coppice to a forest over the course of China Night LiveFriday.

Ancient Chinese Scripts as Images – Art, Language and Imagination Workshop – by Dr Weimin He
Floor 1, Gallery 11, Chinese Paintings
7.00 – 10.30pm
Tickets: Free, drop-in

One important aspect of Chinese ancient scripts is their pictorial features. Inspired by the exhibition of Xu Bing's work, artist Weimin He will lead a workshop together with Dr. Tianzhong Deng and Qi Chen, they will explain the ancient Chinese scripts in some of Xu Bing's works and beyond.

In this workshop, one will learn basic ancient Chinese scripts and understand their principles. The artists will also encourage participants to INVENT their own pictorial symbols. Then they will revile how ancient Chinese created those symbols for communications.

Dr. Weimin He is Artist-in-residence of the Estates Service of the Oxford University. He held his solo exhibition "Building the New Ashmolean" in 2009, curated an exhibition Chinese Prints – 1950-2005 in 2007 at the Ashmolean Museum.

Play Chinese Chess, Hakka Bridge and Mah Jong – with members of Oxfordshire Chinese Community & Advice Centre
Floor 2, Galleries 40 and 41, European Ceramics and England 400 – 1600
7.00 – 10.30pm
Tickets: Free, drop-in

Join members of the Oxfordshire Chinese Community & Advice Centre in a game of Chinese Chess, Hakka Bridge or Mah Jong. Learn how to play these hugely popular traditional Chinese games, or look on as others go head to head. Some of them may seem familiar to you, but many of them offer an interesting insight into another culture and are an excellent way of extending your studies on China.

Discover Chinese Knife Money from the Ashmolean's collection
Floor -1, Gallery 7, Money
7.00 – 10.30pm
Tickets: Free, drop-in

In China all kinds of bronze and copper objects have circulated as currency over the years. The best known are spade and knife (or sword) coins. Initially, real spades and knives were exchanged as money. In the course of time they became replaced by spades and knives that were not made for their original use and they became gradually more flat and blunt. In the border region of China, Thaliand and Burma there are still tribes who use knives as currency today.

Sweet n Sour Swing – Live Music
Floor G, Gallery 21, Greek and Roman Sculpture
7.00 – 10.30pm
Tickets: Free, drop-in

From Dr Fu Manchu, to Broken Blossom (1919), Piccadilly (1929), and Shanghai Express (1932) ... Limehouse, or the image of Chinatown, has always been an exotic, dangerous mystery. Sweet n Sour Swing are a Sino-Caucasian Nostalgia duo playing pre-war Big Band Music Hall numbers with an Oriental twist. The duo, featuring an Erhu (Chinese 2-string violin) and a guitar, take listeners back into time to 1930s Shanghai: where a Chinese girl fell in love with an Englishman, they could never understand each other, but the music somehow connected them with magic.

Soak up the sounds of Evan Lee (guitar, vocals – born year of the snake) and Chinita Lee (vocals, broken hearted Erhu – born year of the rabbit) in the Greek and Roman Sculpture Gallery Bar.

Chinese Influenced DJ Set – by Tim Hand of Oxford Contemporary Music
Floor -2, Gallery 2, Human Image
7.00 – 10.30pm
Tickets: Free, drop-in

In response to artist Xu Bing's beautiful images of China, the eclectic music promoter and producer OCM presents a celebration of China's sounds. From beautifully atmospheric field recordings and the delicate sounds of traditional music right through to the best of the new, China bursts with sound and music of all kinds.

OCM's programmer, Tim Hand, brings you the music of the far northern plains, the ethereal recorded sounds of whistles mounted on pigeons, the electronic music of the big cities and much, much more. Visit for more details).

Introducing Acupuncture, Cupping, and Chinese Medicine – by Jess Buck of Eau de Vie
Floor 1, Gallery 28, Asian Crossroads
7.00 – 10.30pm
Tickets: Free, drop-in

Chinese Medicine practitioner, Jess Buck, will introduce visitors to Chinese medicine, and the disciplines that she practices, acupuncture and cupping.

Acupuncture is an ancient system of Chinese Medicine. According to traditional Chinese philosophy, our health is dependent on the body's motivating energy – known as qi – moving in a smooth and balanced way through a series of meridians (channels) beneath the skin. The flow of qi can be disturbed by many physical, mental and emotional factors. By inserting very fine needles into the channels of energy, an acupuncturist can stimulate the body's own healing response and help to restore its natural balance. Cupping therapy is an ancient Chinese form of alternative medicine in which a local suction is created on the skin; practitioners believe this mobilizes blood flow in order to promote healing. Suction is created using heat (fire) or mechanical devices (hand or electrical pumps).

Participatory Tai Chi on the Terrace – by Dave Baker of Oxford Tai Chi Chuan
Floor 4, Dining Room
7.00 – 10.30pm
Tickets: Free, drop-in

Tai Chi Chuan is a Taoist Martial Art famed for its natural and healthy approach whose origins may well be thousands of years old. It later became the martial training of the Qing Dynasty's Imperial Guard.

David Baker has been teaching Tai Chi Chuan in Oxford for nearly 30 years to both the Oxford public and the University. He has won both National and International competitions and since trained many champions both from Oxford Town and the University of Oxford. Tonight David and a few of his students will be practicing Tai Chi in the Dining Room on the fourth floor, or on the terrace outside the Dining Room (weather permitting). China Night visitors are actively encouraged to join in and try out the ancient art of Tai Chi – even if it is for the very first time!

Chinese Lion Dance Demonstrations – by members of Oxfordshire Chinese Community & Advice Centre
Floor -1, Education Suite
7.00 – 9.30pm
Tickets: Free, drop-in

The Lion Dance is a form of traditional dance in Chinese culture, in which two performers mimic a lion's movements in a lion costume. Basic lion dance fundamental movements can be found in most Chinese martial arts. Members of the Oxfordshire Chinese Community & Advice Centre will be demonstrating the Lion Dance and giving members of the public the opportunity to learn about the history of the dance, play with the accompanying drums and cymbals, and try on the Lion!

Members of Oxfordshire Chinese Community & Advice Centre will also be demonstrating traditional Chinese dances in the Education Suite over the course of the evening, and inviting members of the public to join in the dancing.

Tui Na (Chinese massage) Taster – by Alan Baker of Eau de Vie
Floor 1, Gallery 28, Asian Crossroads
7.15 – 9.15pm

Tickets: Free (book on the night in Asian Crossroads)

Chinese Massage is an holistic therapy in which body, mind and spirit are seen as interrelated. Although treatment is focused on problem areas, and acupressure is applied to specific points along the energy pathways (called meridians),the whole body is treated in order to counteract underlying physical and emotional factors, that can impede the flow of Qi (vital energy), and create the optimal conditions for healing to take place. The massage is practiced through clothing and without the use of oils. The purpose of the massage, which utilises a range of sustained and penetrating manipulations, is to relax the muscles and begin the process of restoring the flow of Qi.

Eight Things You Didn't Know About Chinese Contemporary Art – by Philip Dodd
Floor -1, Lecture Theatre
7.15, 8.45pm – 30 mins
Tickets: £3 (available online here)

Philip Dodd was one of the first people in the UK to understand the cultural importance of contemporary China, where he staged several exhibitions whilst he was Director of London's Institute of Contemporary Arts (1997-2004). For China Night Philip Dodd will presents a talk, Eight Things You Didn't Know About Chinese Contemporary Art, with a short question and answers session in the Ashmolean's Lecture Theatre.

Philip Dodd is currently chair of the agency Made in China, and Director of the China Art Foundation. He is Visiting Professor University of Arts, London, has founded important postgraduate degrees in creative industries, and is an award-winning BBC broadcaster. More recently he was content and concept advisor for the UK Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo and senior consultant at ART HK where he founded the Private Museums Forum. Dodd was named one of the 50 Design gurus by the magazine 'Design Week', one of the top 5 cultural entrepreneurs by 'Elle Deco' and one of the two most acute cultural commentators of his generation by The Guardian newspaper. He is presently advising on a major new private museum in Shenzhen, dedicated to design, due to open in 2015.

Please arrive 5 minutes before the talk starts.

Translating China – Transcultural Curatorial Practice – by Rachel Marsden of the Chinese Arts Centre
Floor 1, Gallery 22, Egypt at it's Origins
7.15, 8.15, 9.15pm – 20 mins
Tickets: Free (book on the night at the Ticket Booth in Ancient World)

This talk will examine the notion of transcultural curatorial practice, specifically how the identity of contemporary Chinese art is represented and translated from and to local to global audiences, including through the use of intervention projects, both real and virtual, in cities worldwide. It will question, how sustainable and universal is the idea of transcultural practice, what curatorial strategies have been seen to create "new ways of seeing" in "glocal" terms, and the model of the global biennial/biannale/triennial/triennale.

Rachel Marsden is Research Curator (part-time) for Chinese Arts Centre (Manchester, UK) and Coordinator (part-time) for the Centre for Chinese Visual Arts (CCVA) (Birmingham, UK and China)

An Introduction to Mandarin Language
Floor 1, Gallery 18, Ancient Cyprus
7.20, 7.50, 8.20, 8.50, 9.20, 9.50pm – 20 mins
Tickets: Free, but limited capacity – arrive early to avoid disappointment

Join teachers from the Oxford Chinese Internation Awareness Society for an introduction to the Chinese language. Find out all about characters, radicals, and tones and learn to say your first phrases.

The Jasmine Moon Duo – Live Music
Floor 2, Gallery 44, European Art
7.30, 8.30, 9.30pm – 30mins
Tickets: £5 / £3 (available online here)

Forged in the vibrant West Midlands world music scene and with a background steeped in the music and culture of China, comes the authentic and original Jasmine Moon Duo (Dizi: flute, Guzheng: harp, Yangqin: dulcimer and Piano). From the heart of the Yangtze Delta to the mountains of Yunnan, get ready to be taken on a magical musical journey across China.

With a range of musical experience between them, covering everything from Traditional Chinese Music through to Western Classical and Folk music, they harness and utilise their influences to explore, play and present the beautiful Chinese Music that they have grown-up loving. The Jasmine Moon Duo perform an innovative and varied repertoire of traditional and traditionally-inspired Chinese music.

Please arrive 5 minutes before the performance starts.

Dynasties Win Prizes – by Professor Craig Clunas
Floor 2, Gallery 38, China from AD 800
7.30, 8.30, 9.30pm – 15mins
Tickets: Free (book on the night at the Ticket Booth in Ancient World)

Can't tell your Tang from your Ming? Craig Clunas uses the Ashmolean's Chinese collections and audience participation to fix the key periods of Chinese history in your memory so you'll never be confused again! Join this interactive tour which combines education with silly hand gestures.

An Introduction to The Selden Map – by David Helliwell
Floor 1, Gallery 31, Islamic Middle East
7.45, 8.45, 9.45pm – 30mins
Tickets: Free (book on the night at the Ticket Booth in Ancient World)

In 1712, the antiquary and diarist Thomas Hearne was appointed Keeper of the Anatomy School at the University of Oxford, now the main reference area in the Lower Reading Room of the Bodleian Library. In 1721, he wrote a list of its contents, among which was "A very odd mapp of China. Very large, & taken from Mr. Selden's".

This is what we now know as the Selden Map of China. It was left to the Bodleian Library by the London lawyer John Selden in 1659, and has been famous as an interesting curiosity ever since. But only in January 2008, when the visiting scholar Robert Batchelor noticed the very faint lines indicating trade routes and compass bearings from the port of Quanzhou to all parts of East Asia and beyond, was the immense significance of the map realised.

David Helliwell of the Bodleian Library will introduce the map, pointing out the historically important intricacies of the map, the conservation that it has received having been backed with linen in the early 20th century.

Chinese Online Games – by Dr Hongping Annie Nie
Floor -1, Lecture Theatre
8.00pm – 30mins
Tickets: Free (book on the night at the Ticket Booth in Ancient World)

The development of China's online game industry provides an example of the interaction of new technologies and politics in the commercialization and globalization of China's cultural economy. The analysis of online games about China's Resistance War against Japan (1937–1945) highlights the interplay of the state's political agenda, business interests, and nationalistic sentiments as online games are planned, designed, and consumed in contemporary China. It reveals that the Party-state has candidly integrated online game technology into its expanding propaganda domain and utilized it for propagating official ideology and sustaining economic growth.

The Scream – by Cai Yuan and JJ Xi of Mad For Real
All Floors, Atrium
8.20pm – 10mins
Tickets: Free

NB: There will be loud screaming as part of this performance that will last approximately 2.5 minutes.

Inspired by Edvard Munch's most famous painting, The Scream, Cai Yuan and Jian Jun Xi invite China Night visitors to join them, and their ten volunteers, to participate in a performance of their own interpretation of 'The Scream' in the Ashmolean's atrium. Mad For Real (Cai Yuan and Jian Jun Xi)'s oeuvre has continually questioned the relationship of power to the individual. Using a position of resistance Cai and Xi have consistently produced work which is necessarily oppositional yet the warmth and humour of their work also acts to draw viewers in. Their performances have taken place as radical gestures calling to mind notorious artists of earlier radical art movements but the historical, linguistic and political context of their practice is often related specifically to their origins: China.

The two Chinese artists see their interpretation of 'The Scream' as an expression of human existence - of reality, spirituality and humanity: "... a revolution exploding in the depths of your soul."

Cai Yuan and Jian Jun Xi gained international fame as the artists' duo 'Mad for Real' when they jumped naked on Tracey Emin's bed in 2000. 'The Scream' was first performed as a public intervention at Tate Modern and on the Millennium Bridge, London in 2012.

How China's Wartime Past is Changing its Present – and Future – by Professor Rana Mitter
Floor -1, Lecture Theatre
9.30pm – 30 mins
Tickets: Free (book on the night at the Ticket Booth in Ancient World)

Beijing's policies continue to dominate the news in the Asia-Pacific region. Will China and Japan clash in the seas of East Asia? Will China be able to implement social welfare policies that will calm dissent and social unrest? Why did it take so long for China to become such a major power? One unexpected but crucial story that helps illuminate these different questions is the wrenching history of China's experience during World War II, in the epic war against Japan from 1937 to 1945. Over 14 million Chinese died and some 80 million became refugees during those years. This lecture will explore how the battered China of wartime became today's superpower in the making – and why.

Tai Chi Demonstrations – by Alan Baker
Floor 1, Gallery 28, Asian Crossroads
9.30 – 10.30pm

T'ai chi ch'uan or Taijiquan, often shortened to t'ai chi, taiji or tai chi in English usage, is an internal Chinese martial art practiced for both its defence training and its health benefits. A multitude of training forms exist, both traditional and modern. Alan Baker will demonstrate Taiji (Tai Chi) which is said to develop internal physical strength, align and coordinate body and mind; Baker will also incorporate the self-defence aspects of the art (Taijiquan) – observe the art of these ancient practices from the Ashmolean's atrium, as Alan Baker demonstrates in the Asian Crossroads window.

Should we be worried about China? by Dr Karl Gerth
Floor -1, Lecture Theatre
10.00 – 10.45
Tickets: £9 / £7 (available online here)

Chinese and international political and business leaders now look to Chinese consumers to replace their American and European counterparts and rescue the global economy. Such pressure for Chinese to consume more is certain to continue in the coming years. But what are the implications for China and the world of Chinese consumers adopting the lifestyles of the middle classes in developed economies? Drawing on the research in his new book, University of Oxford historian Karl Gerth explains how, from the brands we buy to the biosphere we inhabit, we are all being affected by the everyday choices made by ordinary Chinese, whether we do business there or not.

Dr Gerth is a Fellow & Tutor at Merton College, the author of As China Goes, So Goes the World: How Chinese Consumers are Transforming Everything, which explores the wide-ranging ramifications of China's shift toward a market economy over the past thirty years, and China Made: Consumer Culture and the Creation of the Nation. Join Dr Gerth for this informal talk to round off the evening, and enjoy a glass of sparkling wine, included in the price of your ticket.

Dim Sum and Drinks on sale
Floor -1, Café and Floor 4, Dining Room
7.00 – 11.30pm

China Night Playlist

Listen to our Spotify China Night LiveFriday playlist. Tracks were chosen by some of the performers and speakers joining us on 26 April, including

  • Dave Baker
  • Craig Clunas
  • Max Gittings
  • Tim Hand
  • Weimin He
  • Chinita Lee
  • Rana Mitter
  • Emma Titcombe
  • Cai Yuan!
Listen at:

Follow this link to read more about each of the chosen tracks.





Click on an image to see an enlarged version.

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