“It’s a celebration of the pulse in our city now. We feel electric.” —Thomas Charvériat
Artists’ collective based in Shanghai
Liu Dao (Island 6) is a fluid group of artists and technicians who work collaboratively. Many of their pieces involve electronics and are interactive, making the viewer the final collaborator in their creation. Shirt (2009), for example, incorporates an liquid-crystal display and an infrared sensor, and Great Mentor (Heartbeat) (2009) uses light-emitting diodes. The group was founded by Thomas Charvériat, from France, and Zane Mellupe, from Latvia. Its members come from China, Europe and Africa, and include filmmakers and programmers as well as painters and sculptors. Together they explore the blurry borders between man and machine, dreams and reality. Viewers of Shirt see themselves reflected in a mirror along with the moving image of a woman posing as if before a mirror. Great Mentor combines a Mao Zedong plaque, sales records, and an erratic electrocardiogram—a comment on the conflict between Mao’s powerful image and his inability to give China economic health. Other artistic collectives in contemporary China have struggled to survive, but Island 6 hopes its multinational character, constantly changing membership and openness to new ideas will guarantee it a healthy future.