ASPECT: A Chronicle of New Media Art
V18: Export China
Fall 2011

In recent decades, China has undergone massive social, economic and cultural change, altering its citizens’ view of the world and themselves. China’s artists have rapidly absorbed and reinterpreted the pluralistic styles of Western art, using them to translate the unique realities of life in contemporary China. In turn, many Western artists interested in the play between the individual and society have turned their attention to China as a complex and often culturally loaded subject. This volume contains work by artists from both China and the West, participating in this cross-cultural exchange, responding to it critically from an embedded perspective.

Attempting to approach China as a single subject leads to an encounter with contradictions. Home to what is arguably the oldest continuous culture in the world, it has yet faced unprecedented changes over the past century alone. Its citizens stand between two very different worlds, and each generation’s experience is seemingly unrecognizable to the last. This struggle between the historical and ahistorical may be the cohesive element of the volume. Many of the works featured deal with a piling-on of contradictory elements, a rewriting of history, or a collapsing of past, present and future. Some attempt to present the realities of contemporary life in China through documentary footage, others merely hint at its nuances through poetic gesture. What is offered is not a complete picture of media art made in or responding to contemporary China. Instead it is an attempt to correct the assumption of a single Chinese artistic “voice” or style, to present the multiplicity of experiences in as wide a breadth as possible.

lily & honglei, chinese contemporary artists

As an artist collective from China, our work reflects social realities and cultural traditions of China. Taking form of digital multimedia presentation, our projects often adapt symbolism and metaphors from Chinese folklore, and reinterpret them in a contemporary context. Integrating fine arts language with new media approaches including digital animation and virtual art, we create visual experiences belong to the 21st century.  – by Lily & Honglei

Find more information about art project Land of Illusion – Reconstituting History and Culture in Virtual Reality, and commentary by Stephen Persing, click here.

Special Thanks to our project contributors and collaborators:

He Li, 3D modelling, animation and performance in Second Life online virtual world.

Daniel Shanks, performance in Second Life online virtual world.

Scott Grant, performance in Second Life online virtual world.

Philip Zhenming Zhai, conceptual advisor, music composition and performing in Second Life online virtual world.

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