On Digital Mutations in the Landscape of Chinese Contemporary Art
Maurice Benayoun, Professor, School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong.
In Chinese culture, the speed of adoption of emerging media occurs at a very high pace. Refusing the Western Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon (GAFA) model, China started weaving a very specific fabric of digital reality, often going beyond theWestern referent, with its cultural domination well contained behind the GreatFirewall of China. Contrary to their Western counterparts, the challenge that Chinese Media artists have been facing is not that of defining or redefining the medium. Rather it seems to be how to integrate the media into their practice in a way that expresses its actuality, its contemporaneity. Their context is different from that of the early pioneers. Young media artists today were not born into a world reluctant to embrace technology. Even though some are not the so-called “digital natives », they all have been immersed in new media early enough to feel in their element when using and working with it. It doesn’t appear anymore as a cause to fight for, but as a natural ecosystem for art making. Artists feel free to use or avoid such elements as computers, video, mobile technology, electronics or natural elements, plants or data. They can choose to explore the memory of local or regional cultures or that of an ancient technology, redefining time and space out of mechanical curiosities, where for example the phases of the moon merge after improbable acrobatics of moving gears.
Post-Internet/ App Art (between machinery and Machination)