China Underground > Events > SHI Zheng Embers

SHI Zheng Embers

Date(s) - 04/09/2019 - 18/10/2019
All Day

Migrant Bird Space

Location Address 5 Koppenplatz, 10115 Berlin-Mitte

City Berlin



Shi Zheng, b. 1990 in Yancheng, Jiangsu Province, China, is a digital media artist based in Shanghai & New York.

On view at Migrant Bird Space will be his most recent digital works “Frosty Morning”, “Embers” & “Celestial Fable”, featuring large-scale projections, multi-media installation & sound. “This is real time, it is modern history in the making.”

—Sarah Charlesworth on Movie-Television–News-History, 1979

Convincing images. This is how scientists describe the computer-generated results of neural networks like PGGAN. They identify and predict. Input to output. Faces, yes, but also landscapes. In A.I. research labs across the world, computers have been taught to alter summer snapshots to look like snowy winter scenes, to convert horses into zebras, Monets into Van Goghs.

Fake media, fake images. Fake, but convincing. I’ve been tricked by images like these.

SHI-Zheng-EmbersIn Frosty Morning, Shi Zheng uses the same complex algorithm, a type of Generative Adversarial Net (GAN), to predict the cover of the New York Times. Using a data set of the newspaper’s front pages over the past six years, Shi’s program launches a “perpetual newspaper generator” that can, or tries to, predict the future. For Shi, the front page is a “narrative view of our world.” In a time of fake news, fake narratives multiply. Frosty Morning reenacts their production.

Celestial Fable is based on Fluxus pioneer Alison Knowles’ computer-generated poem—one of the first of its kind—The House of Dust (1967). Using similar chance operations, its framework randomly fills missing components with grammatically appropriate words, resulting in a serial poem about planetary form. Like Frosty Morning, it uses a predictive syntax.

One of Shi’s earliest works, Embers, constructs three-dimensional photorealistic landscapes. Often called “custom worlds,” these large-scale, manufactured environments underscore the potential for sublime yet dangerously convincing worlds that resemble, but are not our own.

Shi’s systematic works are not focused on the circulation of images and media but how they are made, and in turn, how they knowingly mislead. Look ahead, distrustfully. These are pictures in quotes.

—Sophie Kovel,
Curator & Writer, New York

EXHIBITIONS (Selections)

Solo Exhibitions

2019 “Frosty Morning” Oil Art Space, Ningbo
2018 “Wander-Circle” AIKE, Shanghai

Group Exhibitions

Silhouette of the Sea, Visioning Versioning I,K11, Shanghai
Osmosis Audiovisual Media Festival, Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab, Taipei
3rd Annual NOFLASH Video Show, Frosty Morning,Zimmerli Art Museum, New Jersey
“Artificial Landscape”, Embers (8k),SOGO Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
“New Art History: 2000-2018 Chinese Contemporary Art”, Frosty Morning,The Museum of Contemporary Art Yinchuan


“The Same but Different”, Nimbus_[lux],Shanghai Exhibition Center, Shanghai
“Immortal City”, Embers,Binhai Cultural Center, Tianjin
“Nine Tomorrows”, Offset,Powerlong Art Center, Hangzhou


“.zip UNZIP THE FUTURE”, Embers,3LD Art & Technology Center, New York ”
Amitabha, Boundless Buddha”, Embers,Migrant Bird Space, Berlin
“.zip FUTURE RHAPSODY”, Embers,Today Art Museum, Beijing
“Before Chaos”, Offset,St John’s Church, London


“The 11th Shanghai Biennale”, Planet Chronicle,Power Station of Art, Shanghai
“TAIFUN-offset”, Offset & Nimbus,Düsseldorf
Shenzhen Media Art Festival Nimbus, Shenzhen


B.F.A. in Film, Video, New Media and Animation, School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago, USA 2014: B.A. from Open Media Lab, School of Intermedia Art, China Academy of Art. Hangzhou, China.


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