As the final official Dutch participant of the OCAT residency program in Shenzhen, Constant Dullaart has left a significant mark on the world of internet art in China. Last interviewed on this website just a year ago, this conversation checks in with Dullaart again with a very specific focus on his relationship with China and, in particular, its internet.
Travess Smalley, born in 1986 and currently based in New York, is a leading figure of the current wave of contemporary art concerned with the image politics of a post-internet world, in his case often by mining psychedelia and reintroducing it into new situations of abstract mediation.
One of the founders of Reference Gallery, which could reasonably be called one of the best small-town galleries in the world, Conor Backman also happens to be a BFA student at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. Open since the fall of 2009, Reference has come to define the growing inertia in post-internet art with a constant flux between physical exhibitions, digital circulation, and distributed networks of attention.
João Vasco Paiva (n. 1979) is a Portuguese artist based in Hong Kong since 2006. He has taught at the City University of Hong Kong School of Creative Media and Hong Kong Art School/ RMIT University. With a background in painting and advanced training in media technology, his work is characterized by the appropriation of observed phenomena, mapping apparently random situations and presenting them in an aesthetically organized framework through video, audiovisual performance, recording, and installation
Katrien Jacobs, associate professor of cultural and religious studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, opens her latest volume on regional sex cultures, People’s Pornography: Sex and Surveillance on the Chinese Internet, with the striking if simple proposition that the pursuit of sexual pleasure is tied up with struggles for civil liberties.
Zhang Peili is an enigmatic figure: while he is widely respected in China as a pioneering video artist and a progenitor of the use of electronic media in the wake of the 85 New Wave movement of the mid-1980s, his international reputation relies primarily on a small number of survey exhibitions motivated by multicultural agendas and staged amidst work of vastly divergent practical initiatives.
One of the most high-profile of a sound art scene in Singapore also including figures like Yuen Chee Wai, Zai Kuning, and George Chua, Zul Mahmod sets his own sonic practice apart by using techniques in sound to explore the relationships between media including drawing, sculpture, and architecture.
Yao Dajuin, currently based in Hangzhou where he teaches at the China Academy of Art, is an artist and thinker rather anomalous within the Chinese media scene for his intellectual and historical approach to contemporary cultural material.
Chinese artist Cao Fei formally launched her last major project, RMB City, almost two years ago in January 2009. Nearing the end of its predetermined lifespan, the Second Life platform should come to an end within the next several months. At this juncture I have been attempting to take the pulse of the virtual community as a whole, speaking with current and former collaborators on RMB City, collectors, writers, and other interested observers in order to figure out how to measure the success or failure of the digital metropolis. See below for a summary of the findings so far; next month in this space we will continue this survey with a debriefing on Chinese art in Second Life
Isaac Mao has been called the ultimate Chinese digital guru, maintaining interests in commerce, electronic communication, and, increasingly, network politics. He is broadly labelled a venture capitalist, blogger, software architect, entrepreneur, and researcher in learning and social technology, dividing his time between research, social work, business, and technology.
Xu Wenkai, who uses the name Aaajiao in most exhibition and other public contexts, was born in Xi'an in 1984 and currently resides in Shanghai. His name is widely known within both art and tech circles in China, though mostly for his efforts at organizing and sharing information rather than as an artist per se. New media artist and computer visual programmer, he created in 2003 the online sound art platform: cornersound.com and in 2006 the english version of the we-make-money-not-art blog We Need Money Not Art. Without forgetting his collaborations with the Dorkbot network and with the 3S Media Center, center for academic research in art, media and technologies.
FM3, the experimental music group whose productions examine the relationship between composition, art, and everyday life, consists of original members Zhang Jian and Christiaan Virant.
Ben Houge is a composer and sound designer who, though trained in composition, has largely been employed in sound design for video games, for at least five years at the corporate Ubisoft (in addition to collaborations with Gearbox Software, Troika Games, Massive Entertainment, Escape Factory, Relic Entertainment and ArenaNet). In Shanghai, however, he is known as one of the few outsiders to truly penetrate local art and music cultures.
New media art in greater China, when it is present, tends toward the conservative: re-engineered video games, simplistically interactive video installations, and sound art are the norm. In a few corners, however, a new wave of artists is pushing this envelope and developing new strains of practice based particularly around the complementary poles of aesthetic coding and, most intriguingly, biological matter.