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RCA MA Print Visiting Artists Talk – Notes

Posted in 20/21, Artist Talks 20/21, and Contextual Research 2021

Xintong Zhang is an artist who has studied anthropology at Sun Yat-sen University and now is studying print in Royal College. Xintong is focusing on the connection between human and weeds, trying to combine anthropology and art by her fieldwork.

Anders Aarvik is an artist and technologist, who has studied at Copenhagen Art School, Chelsea College of Arts and now Royal College of Art. Anders is utlising sculpture, print, and performance as experimental, relational and diagrammatic activities. The works are tapping into technics as an expanded, poetic and mythical field. 

Anders Avarvik:

Anders Avarvik introduces himself by stating he works between Copenhagen and London, studying for three years in the UK for Chelsea College of Arts and now at the Royal College of Art. Besides his practice, Anders works as a system engineer.

Anders titles his talk ‘Praxis – Print – Technics’ and states this connection should be kept in mind throughout the talk.

Landscape (ceremony of misunderstandings). Performace at KE2020. Den Frie. Centre of Contemporary Art

From a clear state. the bare floor was filled with hundred clay dents in which upward – facing rabbit ears points in different directions. while activity unfolds between language. artificiality. technics. and on and off.

The actor creates in collaboration with a synthetic computer voice a poem. about a landscape. that willbecome unrecognisable as language.

While creating a landscape with the animal parts. however , the machine misunderstands the actor like the actor misunderstands the animal.

The situation unfolds on the floor and with the back to the audience. to use the immediate engagement with the material in the mystified and dehumanised role of ‘The Technician’. A scenario that often unfolds exactly like this in a datacenter.

The affect is heterogeneous but touches on machine listening. bio-politics. commerical criticism. and the posthuman definition of sculpture and performance. it also relates to language as a virus – language replicating outside our control. through us.

Untitled (trauma). Etchingsfrom a Generative Adversarial Network and graphite on the wall. shown at wip show at RCA and Oped Space in Tokyo

The synthetic objects. composed of statistical approximation. forms motifs that still demands the perceiver to think organically. They produce a narrative of augmented intelligence and aesthetics of uncertainty and displacement.

With the collision of stable (intaglio_ and unstable (machine learning) technologies. as a means of production. the images are generated in an ephemeral computational form and later transformed into the stable form of etching.

Activating the discrepancy of alignment in artificial intelligence. juxtaposing the myth of singularity with a modernist image.

The pencil lines on the paper represent placeholder. slowly developing from the paper onto the walls throughout the period of exposition.

The lines spread onto the walls, starts to fill up with the configuration parameters consisting of names of objects and their weight from the computational process of forming the motifs.

This work was produced at the RCA facility, experimenting with some clashing techniques and objects. The prints are made from photography, that are converted to vectors, then laser – cut into and acrylic plate, and then printed as an intaglio print.

Xintong Zhang:

Weeds are aggressive, invasive, wild and unstoppable, although people seek to remove them to keep garden plants growing. Weeds are found everywhere in cities. This has been the case especially during the pandemic, as people tend to stay home and weeds have been able to occupy spaces undisturbed. By making aquatint with real weeds, I ask people to think about the beauty of weeds and of people who are living like weeds.

I am an artist based in London and have been studying Print at the Royal College of Art since 2019. My background in anthropology at Sun Yat-Sen University in China has enabled me to carry out fieldwork about the relationship between human and plants as a part of my work, focusing on the human and nonhuman under the capitalism.


Xintong responds acknowledging the difficulties that students face during these times, especially for print students as we need the facilities, however she says that we should find other ways of working to combat this.

Anders likewise sympathises stating that these times are difficult and we may feel alone, however urges people to use the community in ways to reach out and use this space alone to our advantage and thinking of how it may be valuable to affect our practices.

When asked about further studying both encouraged students to make use of any government funding available to UK students, through stated things are different for international students in those regards.

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