Keywords School at Venice: Recruitment Notice

Venice Biennale

May 25, 2009

Participating Project in
Making Worlds,
53rd International Art Exhibition -
La Biennale di Venezia

Xu Tan
Keywords School • Venice Recruitment Notice

deadline: 31st May

The “Keywords School” is a project based on the continuous investigation and research of “keywords” by the Chinese artist Xu Tan. Underway since 2006, the project’s central premise of communication between audience and artist/art project now takes the form of “school”. The content of this school is “keywords”, terms gathered from Xu Tan’s persistent searching and researching through interviews and discussions among people from different fields and backgrounds (for more on keywords, and keywords project information, please visit In “Keywords School”, Xu Tan communicates with all participants through the“keywords” in this “school” context; Through these keywords, the artist and participant cooperate to create a new idealistic public space. The “Keywords School•Venice” was born when the project was invited to take part in the 53rd Venice Biennale. For each of the 14 days of “Keywords School•Venice”, we will accept 10 “students” as participants in the 2 and a half hours of each course. The participants will discuss and dialogue with Xu Tan around the “keywords” from Xu Tan’s several years of searching and researching. According to their interest in the different “daily keywords”, the participants can choose and apply to the courses in “Keywords School•Venice”.

Xu Tan was born in Wuhan, Hubei Province in 1957 and currently lives in Guangzhou. Since the early 1990s he has been part of “Big Tail Elephant Group”, an experimental art team in Guangzhou. Xu Tan has insisted on his lifestyle as “outcast”, maintaining sensitivity to the changes in social life and culture, and questioning the boundary of contemporary art. Over the years this has led his working style to appear more like that of a social theorist than a purely visual artist. His work has been shown around the world, including at the 50th Biennale di Venezia, the Berlin Biennial, the Gongdong Triennial etc.

Keywords School•Venice is supported by Uli Sigg Collection

If you want to know more information about “keywords school” and the project in Venice, please visit

From now to the 31st of May, application for the “Keywords School•Venice” is open to the public; we invite you to join this project.

About the course
1. All the courses will be held on-site the 53rd International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia; 10 participants for each course on each “Keywords School” day; applications must be sent to the keywords team before the deadline, 31st May.
2. At the beginning of each course, participants are invited to express their opinions on the “daily keywords” edited and provided by Xu Tan, and to expand the discussion on them.
3. Through free style communication between the artist and participants, participants can raise questions on any topics (including the keyword) to the artist, to inspire dialogs and discussions.
4. The process of face-to-face interactive discussions will, via voice and video recordings, then serve as research material for the artist and the keywords project.

How to Apply
1. Please choose the course with date you are interested in from the “daily keywords calendar” on the right side.
2. Please send the course and date you request to attend with your true name, gender, and contact details to:
info [​at​]
3. Please wait for our confirmation by email; we will arrange your attendance according to your application and the
whole application situation ((First-come, first-served is the application policy), and we will offer you further information when your application is confirmed. Keywords School•Venice is supported by Uli Sigg Collection

Calendar of daily keywords of Keywords School • Venice
build; tradition;societ/社会; social (socialist)/社会(社会主义); law/lag; nature,natural; unemployment/下岗/失业; survive, surviva/生存,幸存; power/权力,力量
money; position/position, ställning; materials(materialism)/材料(唯物主义);living (living cost); (daily) life; emotion/感情,情感; care; generation/代; value
stress/stress; America, USA/美国; American; Centre/中心; west, western/西方;contact/kontakt; communication; standard; future
religious, religions; believe/tro;industry; culture/文化; popular/流行; time/tid; metaphor/metaphor; humanist/humanistisk; control/kontroll
buy; sell; land/地; brand; home/bostad; family;harmony(harmonious society)/和谐 (和谐社会); private/私人的; work/arbete
develop/发展; environment/miljö; car/bil; move, movement; restlessness/otälig; revolution; body/身体; city (city life, city structure)/城市; safe, safety/säker, säkerhet
contemporary; collectivity/集体; chance;hope;individual; circles/圈子; group/群体;people/人民; obsessed/besatt

public;relation (public relation)/关系(公共关系); competition/konkurrens, tävlan; history/历史; ambitiousness/ambitionsnivån; not too much/lagom;adapt/anpassa; conident/trygga, säker; politics, political/politiskt; political correct/politiskt korrekt
Europe/欧洲; property/财产, 产; democracy/民主; bank; happiness/glädje; child/ barn; free, freedom/自由; good behavior/gott uppförande; plate model/plattan model
business/生意; system/体制; house/bostäd; apartment; opportunity/tillfälle,möjlighet; experience;red/röd; peaceful/lugn; Chinese girl/Kinesiska licka
communist; confucius,confucian; shit/skit, fan; cheap/billig; old/(old house); elder; friends; market/市场; new
fool; dream/dröm; humbleness/ödmjuchet; play/玩; consume (consumption)/消费; relax/slappna, slakna;company/公司;alone; CCTV/央视
modern/människa; Olympic games/奥运; idea/Idé, begrepp; curious/nyfiken, vetgirig; change/变; classic;enjoy/享受; resistance/motständ
reality/realitet; inluence;government/政府; boundary/boundary; concept; creativity/创意; censorship/审查; rational; propaganda/宣传