[-empyre-] Welcome to Manifest Dynasty

Melinda Rackham melinda at subtle.net
Wed Nov 3 00:43:21 EST 2010

hello -empyre-

Great to be back here with this month's online discussion on Producing  
Exhibiting and Curating New Media Arts in China and delighted to have  
as a guest facilitator Edward Sanderson, a writer and cultural  
producer from the UK now living and working in Beijing. Edward was co- 
founder and curator of Beijing's CPU:798, and is currently undertaking  
a series of interviews and articles about artists working on  
alternative strategies in the Beijing art world.

We will have a diversity of guests from China and beyond joining us  
this month - artists, curators and scholars - some already named in  
the publicity, and several other surprise guests. Our discussants will  
be introduced over the first two weeks of November to share with the  
list their particular knowledge and experience of China's media art  
scene – such as issues of intercultural translation, eg artists and  
curators working in and out of China; the development of the media art  
networks, exhibitions and discussions; and their perspective on and of  
the place of new media in the Chinese context.

While our discussants have been asked to formally post to the list, we  
are also interrested in your experiences, questions and perspectives.  
This is an open discussion so please contribute your thoughts,  
theories and things. We have a limited facility to translate between  
Mandarin and English.

This months discussion grew from a project I curated in Beijing  
earlier this year - DreamWorlds: Australian Moving Image <http://www.dreamworlds.com.au 
 >. It was commissioned as  part of The Year of Australian Culture in  
China - a cultural exchange model strategically used in most nations'  
foreign relations. Dreamworlds introduced diverse genres of Australian  
Media Art to Chinese audiences outside the art gallery context,  
exhibiting throughout the day and evening on massive urban screens in  
Beijing and Xi’an. During this time in Beijing I met our guest  
facilitator Edward Sanderson who was a great supporter and promoter of  
Dreamworlds within China, and I got a sense of the immensity of China,  
its technical sophistication, and the plethora of cultural activity.  
However I didnt feel like I had really even touched the tip of the  
great Media Art iceberg.

A common question I received from journalists was around the lack of  
high profile media arts and the conservative nature of Chinese  
contemporary art. If its true that a new Gallery or Museum opens in  
China every 3 days, and as Chinese Art currently commands the global  
market, where are the internationally well known and shown Media  
Artists? Over the last decade we have seen a trickle of Chinese Media  
Art in Western Europe, the Americas and Australia, the most widely  
known artist perhaps being Feng Mengbo. However in the last few years  
the media art and artists flourishing in China are increasingly  
present in arenas like Transmediale Festival in Berlin and featured in  
the Italian Neural Magazine's "Digital China" Issue.

As this simultaneous Chinese infux and out pouring of Chinese Media  
Art accelerates it is timely on -empyre- to look at how (or how not)  
exhibitions, symposia or publications decode across cultural, gender  
and political bounds to both Chinese and Non-Chinese audiences. We  
hope to explore, amongst other topics, how digital practices operate  
in a regulated exhibition system; and the emergences, frictions and  
dialogues between artists and curators within contemporary Chinese  
distributed and digital practices.

I would also like to introduce our first guest - Michael Yuen, an  
Australian born artist who works and lives between Australia and  
China. Michael was instrumental in this discussion as he initiated and  
produced the Dreamworlds exhibition, while continuing his busy  
practice as an artist and art interventionist. Michael is also the co- 
founder of the Donkey Institute of Contemporary Art, an art space  
travelling Beijing's streets on the back of a donkey!

Thank you for joining us at -empyre- in November to engage in critical  
inquiry of the complexity of media art production, curation,  
exhibition and networks in China.

warm regards,

-->Melinda Rackham
-->Adelaide, Australia

-->Edward Sanderson
-->Beijing, China

Edward is a writer and cultural producer living in Beijing. Since  
moving to China in 2007, he has worked with many Chinese and  
international artists and arts-related organizations on exhibitions  
and events. Edward was co-founder and curator of Beijing's CPU:798 (a  
photography and new media project space in the 798 Art District). In  
2009, Edward and his partners closed the gallery space and re-launched  
as CPU:PRO, an arts consultancy acting as an extension and replacement  
to a gallery space. CPU:PRO is designed to work around the  
restrictions of a physical gallery space giving freedom to work with  
other formats and projects.

Edward holds a BA in Fine Art from Middlesex University in the UK, and  
a Post-Graduate Diploma in Contemporary Art History from Goldsmiths  
College, London, and has a background in Contemporary Gallery  
Management, Public Relations and Publishing.  Current projects include  
the DreamWorlds: Australian Moving Image show in China; and a series  
of interviews and articles about artists working on alternative  
strategies in the Beijing art world."

-->Michael Yuen
Michael Yuen is an Australian artist working across a range of mediums  
including sound, light and performance. Over the past few years  
Michael has divided his time equally between Australia and China.

His works have been selected for exhibitions and projects with Zendai  
Museum of Modern Art (Shanghai), Australian Centre for the Moving  
Image (Melbourne), Beijing Modern Dance Company, Hong Kong Shenzhen  
Biennale of Architecture, Adelaide Festival of Arts, SSamzie Space  
(Seoul), Beijing 798 Biennale, Freies Museum (Berlin), ArtBeijing and  
MODEM Centre of Contemporary Art (Hungry). He has served as a peer for  
InterArts and Music at the Australia Council and received Ruby  
Litchfield and AsiaLink awards.

Michael is also the co-founder of the Donkey Institute of Contemporary  
Art, an art space travelling Beijing's streets on the back of a donkey

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