[-empyre-] media art as phenomenon

Edward Sanderson ed at escdotdot.com
Sat Nov 6 20:21:13 EST 2010

Zhenhua replied to me directly, so I'm forwarding his responses to the  
forum, marked with "///":

On 2010-11-6, at 下午4:52, Edward Sanderson wrote:

Hello Zhenhua,

Thanks for your insights. I have many questions for the forum but I  
will try and keep things simple.

Although we can't get all your valuable research translated, perhaps  
you could summarize the important points the speakers are making in  
the videos (sorry - big question!)? If you pick a particularly  
representative video, we'll try and get that one translated quickly.

///sure I will work on it but maybe next week give you an answer///

A very basic question, but one which comes up a lot: how does the  
understanding of "new media" vary between China and elsewhere? And  
what are the consequences of this? Robin touched on this topic in his  
previous email, pointing out Chinese artists' late entry onto the  
international stage and subsequent parallel developments of many  
genres of contemporary art making. Zhenhua, you talk about whether  
media art is just a trend (maybe because of late entry?) - are there  
any aspects which take it beyond that in China? What makes new media  
art "new" in this case? Is this epithet even useful in the Chinese  

/// I think it comes from a different mentality, there's many art  
trend happened in china, when performance and installation are the  
trend in 80s or video art trend in later 90s, and now new media  
art...the trend start when people do not really get the meaning of it,  
but the artistic form or visual standard, then people just catch up  
with the scene. which is also happened lots in europe / america as  
well, because of the word new media is very broad meaning, that from  
photography to moving image to immersive virtual space to space art to  
AI all included, so it's hard to say what is new media what is  
not....then for china media artists are rather limited by video or  
interactive art....///

I just finished proofing Hu Jieming's catalogue for you [Hu Jieming is  
a very important Chinese new media artist whose solo show Li Zhenha  
just curated in Shanghai] – is this material available online? I  
think there are some useful texts there. His experiences taking part  
in the "010101: Art in Technological Times" show at the San Francisco  
Museum of Modern Art in 2001 provide an interesting case study [from  
the text "A Brief History of Hu Jieming"]. Maybe I can post that  
section to this list, with your permission?

///the material is not online, maybe after the show finished [Ed:  
there is a print catalogue available from ShanghART Gallery]. go ahead  
and post that section [Ed: I'll post this separately]///

Based on your experience and to give people unfamiliar with China some  
background, why Hangzhou and Shanghai are most well-known for media  
arts? Could you describe the various media arts centers in China?

///since 2001 hangzhou start to set up new media art department in the  
school, so many interesting artists and group out of the department,  
such as li ming/li fuchun and many more....for shanghai is because Xu  
Zhen, Yang Fudong, Yang Zhenzhong, Lu Chunsheng, Hu Jieming and Zhang  
Peili first time shown his video in shanghai, and he is based in  
Hanzhou who set up the new media art department in the school..../// 
beijing is focus on design and digital art related to photography and  
video only....///

[As always I would recommend digging into the http://bjartlab.com  
website set up by Li Zhenhua, which is a massive archive of material  
related to Chinese contemporary art.]


On 2010-11-4, at 下午9:10, lab wrote:

hi all,
this moment I had a chat with Feng Mengbo and Wang Chunchen (curator  
of the CAFA museum), most of our topic is focus on whether media art  
is a specific medium or a new phenomenon, through the dicsussion, we  
start to realize media art is again a new trend for the art world, and  
I have to say so many of media art related topics are just follow the  
trend, rather than a true specific topic.

why I am saying this, it's because I would need to understand to not  
confuse people with what I try to approach, media art related issues  
are related base on a certain understanding of what media art means  
and how is function internationally, why internationally? because  
media art could have a national trace or history but an international  
knowledge base and medium based thing.

so, if we talk about china the general culture scene is fine, but if  
we talk about media art in china, I would suggest people start to  
think about translate my research on the media art education from Hang  
Zhou and media art integrated contemporary art in Shanghai, to have a  
basic understanding, which is not the only one, but something could  
easily help with the idea we discuss....

wish you could understand chinese for the interviews:
http://www.bjartlab.com/read.php?239 shanghai research
http://www.bjartlab.com/read.php?177 hangzhou research


Li zhenhua | 李振华

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