The Recommended Screening is jointly curated by independent curator Mr. CAO Kai and Professor XUE Feng, the executive director of art Museum of China Contemporary Animation of Nanjing University of the Arts. This section, which is one of the main components of the 4th Shenzhen Independent Animation Biennale, invited more than ten experts, scholars and artists in the field of animation art as nominators from mainland, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. Through nomination and two months’ of public collection, the collection of works for the “Screening Section” of the 4th Shenzhen Independent Animation Biennale completed on October 8th, 2018. This year’s Shenzhen Animation Biennale received more than 140 short films from mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, the United States, France and other countries and regions. Among them, 68 works were finalised. As a general section presented in a theater screening mode, it contains seven sub-sections of different themes, namely: Experimental Animation Drama (2 films); Invited Artist’s Animated Short Film (10 films) , Recommended Youth Experimental Animated Short Film (20 films), "Small Narrative" Animated Short Drama (15 films), "Text Power" Expanded Short Film (4 films), "Single-Frame and Stop-Motion" Expanded Short Film (8 films), "Winds from Eight Directions: International, Hong Kong and Macao Experimental Animation" (9 films).
Under the theme of “Expanded Animation” of this Biennale, the curator selected 20 works from a variety of excellent works to participate in the “Recommended Youth Experimental Animated Short Film” section, and another 15 works for the "Small Narrative" Animated Short Drama section. Additionally, 10 short films and 2 feature films are invited as special guest works, forming the section of Invited Artist’s Animated Short Film.
The “Recommended Youth Experimental Animated Short Film” section focuses on contemporary young people's understanding of the experimental spirit and concern about real-life issues. The commonalities of these 20 works are reflected in exploring new boundaries of animation and injecting artistic annotations into reality. The works reflect the cross-border consciousness in terms of aesthetic choices and technological innovations. In this way, they express a certain kind of specific and particular life experience, sentiment or insight, and also show the artistry and potential for exploration of their works, which are in line with and further bring out the discussion on the animation extensibility in this exhibition.
The "Small Narrative" Animated Short Drama section brings together the creation and research achievements on narrative animation in the context of contemporary academic background. Most of the works in this section are narrative-oriented animated short films, carrying out experiments through skillful animation techniques. In these works, the unfamiliarity of art is employed to reflect the current common phenomenon and the innovation in style and interest in animation are sufficiently presented. Their narrative forms vary, yet opinions are all fully expressed. This section shows the multi-polarized thinking state of young artists from different cultural and education backgrounds, as well as the ecology of current animation art experiments.
The 12 experimental animated features and short films brought by the specially invited artists are the essence in the domestic animation field over the past two years. Most of the artists have their works exhibited on the previous Shenzhen Independent Animation Biennales, and some even participated for multiple times. Their works not only represent the academic level of the Shenzhen Independent Animation Biennale, but also consitutue an overall display of China's independent animation creation achievements.
For the purpose of displaying the diversity of animation expansion, the curator arranged two expanded short film sections with different themes. "Text Power", as a purely academic experimental short film section that observes social thoughts and historical concepts, shows the advancements of the image’s intertextual mode of Guy Debord’s “détournement film” since the 1950s, and it also serves as a research focus of this Biennale on the academic theme of expanded animation. "Single-Frame and Stop-Motion" is a language experiment on the inherent extensibility of animation art. On the one hand, the artist uses the still frame image as the experimental subject, and gives it characteristics of time through various complicated or simple means and to “move” the static photo; on the other hand, the artist rewrites the multi-image of the video by handwork or computer, turning the video into an animation.
The collection of the "Screening Section" has also been supported by some overseas art institutions and those from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, whose participation enrich and diversify the pool, providing a variety of experimental animated short films. Thus, the curator selected nine works with different concepts and languages under the theme "Winds from Eight Directions". Many of them are not mere animation works, but also bear the stretched concept pointing to the nature beyond animation, expanding the horizon of the animated art and the future outlook and imagination.