Dislocations: Remapping Art Histories

Staircase-III 2010 by Do Ho Suh born 1962

Staircase-III 2010 Do Ho Suh born 1962 Purchased with funds provided by the Asia Pacific Acquisitions Committee 2011 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T13344

On the 3rd and 4th December last year I attended Tate Modern’s conference on Dislocations: Remapping Art Histories, organised by the Tate Research Centre, Asia-Pacific. The two day event featured a fantastic array of artists, curators and academics addressing questions on performance, socially engaged practice and the methodological rethinking of the Western-centrism of 20th century art histories. As Tate Modern notes: “Topics included environmental art and performance in Japan in the 1960s, performance and its relationship to installation art in the Philippines in the 1970s, transnational and multivalent character of Modernism’s centres such as Paris and Mumbai, the effect of the internet and social networking technologies in contemporary Chinese art and the ‘social’ legacy of the socialist era in contemporary practice in China.”

The video recordings from the conference are now available to view online, so for anyone that was unable to attend the event I thought I would include a link here to the final session, on ‘Contemporary Art and the Social’ as it addresses themes which are extremely pertinent to online visual culture.

The other two sessions can also be watched by following the links below. Lee Ambrozy’s talk on ‘An Expanded Definition of Performance Art in China’ in session 1 is a fascinating talk which is definitely worth watching. The full conference programme is available to download here.


Miao Ying, Net Art and the cultural hybridity of the ‘Chinternet’

Landscape, 2013, GIF installation, reclining chairs, touchpad devices, welcome mat, sheets, crumpled paper

Landscape, 2013, GIF installation, reclining chairs, touchpad devices, welcome mat, sheets, crumpled paper

In this post I’m going to be taking a closer look at the recent works of Miao Ying 苗颖, a young artist whose practice explores the intersections between digital imagery, net art and the co-existent yet often culturally distinct web cultures that have developed within China and beyond the so-called ‘Great Firewall’. In Miao’s work memes, viral images, videos and audio recordings often coalesce in unforeseen and imaginative ways in a process that comments upon both the limitations and the vibrancy of what has affectionately been labelled the ‘Chinternet. ’ 

Born in 1985, Miao graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the New Media Art Department 新媒体艺术系 of the China Academy of Art (CAA) 中国美术学院 in  2007 and an MFA in Electronic Integrated Arts from Alfred University’s School of Art and Design in 2009. She was among the first generation of new media students at CAA to be tutored by the artists Zhang Peili 张培力 and Geng Jianyi 耿建翌, who are widely regarded as pioneers in the field. Indeed CAA’s ‘Intermedia Art Institute’ 跨媒体艺术学院 features a number of prominent artists, curators and critics amongst its permanent teaching staff, from Yang Fudong 杨福东 to Qiu Zhijie 邱志杰, Gao Shiming 高世名 and Wu Meichun 吴美纯. The New Media Art Department encompasses a wide range of disciplines spanning computer programming to animation, photography and video, an interdisciplinarity that is reflected in Miao’s eclectic approach to her practice. Continue reading

The dividing point between ‘zombie social activism’ and artistic mobilisation

In an article that appeared recently on artnet news, Daria Daniel asked Is a new artistic activism emerging via social media and forms of public protest? The article focuses on international art groups who have created works in response to recent social and political crises, from a collective of Mexican artists who posed naked in public spaces to demonstrate against recent student killings to Titus Kaphar and Hank Willis Thomas’ artistic reaction to the Ferguson protests as well as the outpouring of political cartoons and visual tributes which emerged following the Charlie Hebdo Attacks.

Titus Kaphar Yet Another Fight for Rememberance .  Photo: time.com

Titus Kaphar, ‘Yet Another Fight for Remembrance’
Photo: time.com

Illustration by graphic designer Lucille Clerc.  Photo: businessinsider.com

Illustration by graphic designer Lucille Clerc.
Photo: businessinsider.com


Continue reading

Let’s sing along now: a little musical number from the censorship choir

On the 10th February at a televised event hosted by the Beijing Internet Association to celebrate the imminent Lunar New Year festivities, the assembled audience of leading internet executives and media figures was treated to a special performance of a new song entitled 网信精神 “Cyberspace Spirit” by staff from the Cyberspace Administration of China, the government agency in charge of Internet policies, and increasingly, censorship. Continue reading