China’s new media

[2009/02/03 01:01 | 分类: Articles | by lizhenhua ]
China’s new media
By Li Zhenhua

In the exhibition of garage art in 1991, Zhang Peili pioneered. Likewise, in the project named Phenomenon and Video: Exhibition of China’s Videotaping Art, engineered by Wu Meichun and Qiu Zhijie, a great deal of videotaping artists came forth, who later had an impact on the nucleus of Chinese artists. The neo-media movement developed later still adhered to this principal clue and still many artists were working on videotaping, among whom Zhang Peili, Wu Meichun and Qiu Zhijie successively grew to be professors of media art in Art Institution of China. Due to this development, it’s necessary to make a description on the drastic changes from the past to present, and on current status of new media.

Cultural imaginations in the East and the West 1999
Qiu Zhijie's

In a modern art exhibition named Beijing in London in the year of 1999, Qiu Zhijie exhibited his work that he completed through a simple computer program of PPT. With the help of a computer program that represents office culture, he produced a work brimming with imagination on western culture and with the contrast between the eastern and western culture. He is looking for a philosophical issue in his endless pursuit of clues, which might be related to Qiu Zhijie’s further study on philosophy in Beijing. However, the elementary computer program of PPT is usually used in companies to present their business projects, because the interactivity is a multithreading logical course rather than mongline. Visitor’s participation often results in different logistic thinking directions, whose result and process usually provide an inescapable environment for those with certain presupposition. And this environment could prove the foundation and examples of the thinking pattern. Different people might receive the same result, but they must rely on their respective subconscious and philosophic foundation to find the differences. First, the work is not artists’ simple way of posing a question, but rather, it’s a multi-threading philosophical issue with the help of computer’s multi-media means. The work takes advantage of the conflict between the eastern culture and western culture to lead the audiences to a direction, while those who are restricted in this direction would be shadowed by this clue and unable to perceive the social issues in a deeper sense and could not see the human deficiency in rationality. Thus, this piece of work is unique in the sociality of the current society and from the angle of an artist, and there is no alternative to its interactivity. It is an entirely interactive work of new media and totally different from the early multi-screen video facilities, which presents things from more than one angle. But the interactivity that new media stresses is an irreplaceable process of transforming from folk techniques to a medium that artists care about.

The first exhibition of sound 2000
Shi Qing, Zhang Hui and Wang Wei

This exhibition is an experiment where artists employ sound as a sort of creation approach.

Spoken Language Stage by Shi Qing began to employ a spot interactive facility through a sensor. Various video clips, sculptures, lights compose a spot. The changes caused by audiences’ motion help to realize the multi-layer exhibition content induced by audiences. The relation between interactivities and sound is the sound of baby carriages and all the other sounds from our childhood. Artists brings the audiences the feeling of being on the verge of breaking out through a random interactive means, like a time machine enters into the artist’s heart. This piece of work is as important as the videotaping art in the Exhibition of Garage Art in the past. Its complicated implementation method and its multi-material spelling remains unmatched.

Lost Voice by Zhang Hui leads the audiences to listen through a blurry sound, and sets an invisible stage behind the acoustic enclosure by a wall that could not be overstepped. The humidifier under the acoustic enclosure continuously sends out misty smog and the passage into the exhibition becomes the stage of this works. In the other corner are a clock and some camlet. Intentionally or unintentionally, the decoration seems to be two opposing stages within a theatre. The invisible stage is brimmed with desires and illusions. This piece of work could be perceived as early spot art where no person participated for its sense of space and the special meaning. The artist completes it with the audiences’ lingering and listening.

The sound in Wang Wei’s <75kilograms and 3.2 cubic meters> has two sources. One is the cracking sound of the works itself and the sound of treading on the sand while the audiences are entering the exhibition sites, so that the audiences could find their own position while experiencing the noisy environment and the appreciating the subtle works. The tiny motions of the continuously cracking artists in the video and the audiences in the narrow exhibition sites compose the makers and participants of the interactive sound. The static watching status has undergone a fundamental change. Artists began to focus their attention on mastering the audiences’ participation in the works and the psychological status of the spot creation.

Screen and Rite by Wang Jianwei, respectively in 2001 and 2003.
In a short period of ten years, new media drama has evolved from videotaping art. Included in the category of artists’ creation, the new media drama still takes the form of new media-drama, in that the drama is short of interactivity. But we could say for sure that the artists apply this form to create some works that greets new media. The triple settings of the plots and the interrelations among them help to demonstrate the artists’ doubt of the truth of history, the unscrambling history and angle of construction. The ever-changing stages and relations behind the curtain cooperate with lights, projections, shadowgraphs and spot shooting, which contributes to a new visual works. With this works, the plot that dramatists and drama directors rely upon has grown up to be the highest-quality and most forceful new type—new media drama. Later, this works had an impact on the creation in China’s drama community. Artist Wang Jianwei’s experiment and trial on new media drama has led to changes in China’s drama and taste on drama.

8GG-[Baguge]’s interactive spot-in 2003 and 2005
8GG [Baguge] became the experiment conductor of networks interactive media. From the initial participation to the spot performance, they cooperated with various aritsts and musicians and finally designed an interactivity for Wang Jianwei’s new media drama and create a general feeling of spot feeling. The interactive spot applied softwares designed by the artists themselves. Besides, they utilized software-physical principle controlled video excecution, which is in accordance with the need of music, musicians and the spot, and is controlled through the use of keyboard and mouse. The spot used to be operated only through hardware and purely VJ software. But now, artists such as Baguge begin to employ the pictures and portable videos in life and the self-composed programs, so that the spot video art whose rhythm is controlled by artists begins to take form. In this form, the sound within the video has replaced DJ. The spot, where sound is unscrambled and reverted, has become a unique way of Gaguge’s creation.

Video art has other derivations, but basically, it falls into two categories: single-screen and multi-screen facilities. From the two categories, it’s not difficult to find out that a drastic change has taken place from Nam-June Paik to Mathew Barney. Several decades’ change in Europe and in the U.S. seems to be an instant of several decades in China. From the way of categorization, we could find out that the rise of China’s media reflects the  possibility that techniques help to achieve freedom. The innovation of techniques helps artists to create works with this more common means. These techniques, at the mean time, have an impact on the thinking patterns of artists. Softwares and hardwares should be updated continuously and new aesthetical thinkings should be tried once and again. New media and artists maintain a relationship of growing together.

New media do not mean that artists have utilized new media and techniques. Rather, in the social development brought about by techniques, artists find an easily expressed synonym for this special category of art. New media cover almost all the practical techniques and social phenomena related to the media and agent, for instance, video art and video facilities that entered public sight along with 8MM. Thanks to the popularization of social application, the later interactive media/networks paved the road for art creation. Currently, the variety of design-related software and hardware has brought more and more technological support and human resources for new media’s creation. The area of art creation, which more people are engaged in, has been contained in the development process of modern art. Art has become a black hole that admits all possibilities. For instance, when the modern art concerns geography, human culture, science and technology, robot, physics, chemistry and anatomy, will some new unprecedented phenomena appear in the modern art? Is the taste in the past dead in the new era? In the controversy among human, soul, religion, machine and AI, what does human nature rely on to keep living? Is the difference itself a necessity of human nature? When the difference is spread out through media and the art contains everything, and when we appreciate Josef Beuys’s remarks that “every one is an artist” and Andy Warhole’s presentation of “fashion dominates everything” from another perspective, will the two seemingly totally different theories overlap in the modern culture? New media is always an issue for part of us while those matters that we could know but could not explain are really new, because they might be invisible at all. New media may also be a relative concept.








录像艺术还有其他的转型,但是基本上只分类成单屏影像和多屏录像装置的两大类别,而这两个大类之中我们不难看到从白南准到MATHEW BARNNY的变化,欧洲和美国经历了几十年的变化在中国不过是十几年的瞬间,从分类方法上可以看到中国媒体的兴起折射了技术成就自由的可能,通过技术手段的更新,艺术家开始通过这一更加大众的手段创作,技术的手段同时影响到艺术家的思维方式,通过改善创作的软件和物理硬件与不断尝试的美学/科学/哲学之间的思考,新媒体艺术和艺术家是共同成长的关系。

*新媒体-并不是艺术家使用了新的媒介和技术,而是在技术带来的社会文化发展中,为这个特殊类型的艺术范畴找到一个易于表达的带名词。新媒体包括几乎所有的与媒体、媒介有关的实际的技术和社会现象,如录像艺术/录像装置等是伴随着8毫米摄影机一起进入公众的视界的,而后来的互动媒体/网络媒体更加是因为社会应用的普及,为艺术创作铺平了道路,到现在更多的与设计有关的软件和硬件的丰富,为新媒体的创作带来更加广泛的技术和人力资源上的丰富。更多的人从事着非艺术创作的领域在被当代艺术发展进程所涵盖,艺术已经成为一个吸纳各种可能的实验场,如当代艺术所涉及的地理/人文/科学/机器人/物理/化学/解刨等等门类的时候,是否新的人类前所未见的事情会出现在当代艺术之中?!而以前的审美是否已经被颠覆在这个全新的时代?在人/灵魂/宗教/机器/AI等等争论之中的人性是靠什么来依存,是否差异性本身就是人性的必然,当差异性真正通过媒体的方式被传播的时候,当艺术已经无所不包的时候,是否从另外的角度理解的博依斯的人人都是艺术家,和ANDY WALHOLE所呈现的流行文化/拷贝文化的时候,两个看似完全不同的理论在当代文化中重合的时候。新媒体永远是对部分人而言的,为我们所知晓的不能解释的现象才是新的,因为可能这根本就不可见,而新媒体也只能是相对的。
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