Zarya Center for Contemporary Art and the Zarya Foundation for the Development of Contemporary Art announced the recipients of the international exchange research grant program Contact Zones: Far East, after an open call for proposals launched in June 2018. The recipients of the grant, who will be able to carry out their projects in one of the partner institutions in Asia, are two Russian researchers: curator Daria Bogdanova (Vladivostok) and artist, curator and researcher Nikolay Smirnov (Moscow). The two applicants from China who will take part in Zarya CCA's residency are curators Cosmin Costinas (Hong Kong) and Jue Jade Ma (Shanghai).

The program is designed to further encourage the research and self-identification of the Far East region with its unique geographical and historical features, and develop cultural exchange and cooperation between Russia and the Far East countries. A special emphasis is put on engagement with the local cultural context.

The research project of Daria Bogdanova, a designer and curator from Vladivostok, will take place in November 2018 at the residency of one of the partner institutions, the HOW Art Museum in Shanghai. The project is aimed at working with the historical heritage of the city and the formation of a high-quality and diverse urban environment.

“My research is based on the phenomenon of portside cities such as Shanghai and Vladivostok, their geographical openness and sometimes forced political isolation,” Daria Bogdanova explains. “I’m interested in the impact of the paradox of a space that is both closed and open at the same time, as well as on the development of the artistic and creative life of such cities.”

In autumn of 2019, another partner institution – Para Site CCA, Hong Kong – will welcome Russian artist and curator Nikolay Smirnov who will present his research project dedicated to speculative space-time on the Eastern edge of Eurasia. The formation of the narrative will be based on two fictional narratives of 1897 and 1915, both in the ‘future war’ genre and set in Vladivostok and Hong Kong, as well as on the speculative-eschatological space-time of the Russian Orthodox who settled in Hong Kong in the 1950s and 1960s.

“I plan to form a narrative about the speculative cultural structures of the region, described from a future or imaginary space, and including examples from the past that look today like the precursors of a modern recursive way of thinking,” Nikolay Smirnov says. “This narrative, which I plan to perform at the end of my stay in Hong Kong, will be equally based on research, theoretical generalizations and artistic intuition"

In exchange, in October of 2018 the art residency of Zarya Center for Contemporary Art will welcome Cosmin Costinas, Curator and Executive Director of Para Site CCA, who will participate in the performative symposium “Towards a New Politics of the Geographical Imagination”; and in November it will welcome Jue Jade Ma, Curator of the HOW Art Museum with her project “The City with Two Names”. The artist will focus on analyzing connotations and context of the emergence of two Chinese names for Vladivostok: Fúlādíwòstītuōkè (符 拉迪沃斯 托克) and Hǎishēnwǎi (海参崴).

“My research simultaneously explores two ‘cultural layers’ of Vladivostok: the heritage of the Chinese people and the contemporary art scene. These two interpretations of the history of Vladivostok will serve as a starting point for my research,” states Jue Jade Ma. “I think that my research will be presented in the form of travel notes and lecture material, which will form the basis for my future research and curatorial practice in Northeast Asia.”

The topic of the region's self-identification is critical for the research and exhibition activities of the Zarya Center for Contemporary Art. Important elements of the exhibition season for 2018-2019 are the forthcoming performative symposium “Towards a New Politics of the Geographical Imagination”, which will take place on October 7–9, 2018, spanning the openings of the exhibitions “One Northeast” (07.10.2018-16.12.2018) and “Metageography” (10.10.2018-13.01.2019), and incorporating participants and specialists from both projects, as well as specially invited guests. Together, the three events – the two openings and the symposium – make up their own international mini-biennale, dedicated to the practice and politics of geographical imagination..

As part of the program, the participants will receive accommodation at the partner institution, along with administrative and informational support, and the reimbursement of the airfare, visa fees and travel insurance. Russian participants also receive a grant of 65,000 RUB.

About the winners:

Daria Bogdanova (Vladivostok) graduated from the Vladivostok State University Economics and Service with a degree in environmental design. She has been collaborating with the V.K. Arsenyev Primorsky State Museum as a designer and curator of projects since 2008. Engagement with the historical heritage of the city and the formation of a high-quality, diverse urban environment are the main themes of her projects over the past 10 years.

Nikolay Smirnov (Moscow) works as an artist, geographer, curator and researcher exploring spatial practices and representations of space and place in art, science, museum practice and everyday life. His practice is aimed at the analysis and implementation of complex narratives in the form of text, exhibition and film.

Cosmin Costinas (Hong Kong) is the Executive Director of Para Site CCA since 2011. He studied art history and history at Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca. He currently works with such magazines as Idea Arts+Society, Cluj and Version, Paris/Cluj, as well as acts as an expert for Patterns/Erste Foundation, Vienna. From 2005-2007, he was one of the editors of the Documenta Magazine project (part of the Documenta-12 exhibition, Kassel). He was the visiting curator of the Dakar Biennial 2018, co-author of the 10th Shanghai Biennale (2014), and co-curator of the 1st Ural Industrial Biennial of contemporary art (2010). He has participated in the organization of more than 20 exhibitions at Para Site, BAK Netherlands, and Kadist Art Foundation, Paris. He co-authored the novel Philip (2007) and has contributed his writing to prestigious magazines, books, and exhibition catalogues across the world. He acts as a teacher and lecturer at different universities and art academies around the globe.

Jue Jade Ma (Shanghai) is the Curator of the HOW Art Museum. She graduated from the Peking University with the bachelors degree in film production and media studies, and then continued her studies at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she received a masters degree in art management. As a researcher, she is primarily interested in the features of intercultural interaction and social practice in art. As a curator and initiator, she has participated in such exhibitions, as "MANIFESTO: Julian Rosefeldt" (2017), "Lettres du Voyant: Joseph Beuys × Nam June Paik" (2018), and "ACCULTURATION, INCULTURATION, TRANSCULTURATION: Chinese Art in the U.S. Across Generations" (2015). She is a contributor to Afterimage, Art Monthly Magazine, and Scope Yishuke.