“.com/.cn” showcases artistic practices in China and the West that respond to, or are affected by, our digital ecosystem.
The first exhibition co-presented by MoMA PS1 and the K11 Art Foundation investigates regional differences within the digital ecosystem and their effects on contemporary art as part of an ongoing research partnership.
“.com/.cn”, co-curated by Klaus Biesenbach and Peter Eleey of MoMA PS1 in New York, is on view at the K11 Art Foundation Pop-up Space, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong from 21 March to 30 April 2017. The exhibition is co-presented by MoMA PS1 and the K11 Art Foundation. The group show includes work by Darren Bader, Cao Fei, DIS, Aleksandra Domanović, Greg Edwards, Li Ming, Liang Wei, Lin Ke, Liu Shiyuan, Miao Ying, Laura Owens, Oliver Payne, Sondra Perry, Wang Xin and Anicka Yi.
Challenging assumptions of universality of the Internet
The use of the Internet is almost indispensable in contemporary everyday life. With the connection of systems around the world, the Internet facilitates high-speed transmission of information globally, transcending time and space. Frequently described as a “network” or a “cloud”, the Internet system is often assumed to be universal, unencumbered by territory, language, law or national culture. However, distinct regional Internets have developed under varying forms of state control, each conditioning different social behaviours, economies and modes of thought. For instance, most websites that are taken for granted – such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube – are blocked by China’s “Great Firewall” in a form of Internet censorship. Users may not be able to see content on these websites. Hence, netizens in China use an alternate form of regional websites instead, such as Weibo, Taobao and WeChat.
The exhibition aims to compare artistic responses to the Internets of China (.cn) and the West (.com). These responses from artists from different parts of the world reflect their thoughts on their respective political and economic systems. In a press release, Klaus Biesenbach, Director of MoMA PS1 and co-curator of “.com/.cn” said:
Technology has provided new tools for the production, distribution, and reception of art while also enabling rapid advancements in global trade and information exchange, showing that the world wide web is actually ‘webs’ as the .com and the .cn of the title suggests—just to name two of them. With this exhibition, we hope to create new dialogue around ways in which art is changing in the digital era, both in China and the West. We are pleased to collaborate with the K11 Art Foundation on this first exhibition showcasing the results of our ongoing research partnership.
Some of the works selected for “.com/.cn” examine the Chinese digital ecosystem, its permeability to Western content, and the cultural aspirations it both encourages and limits. Others reflect artists’ use of regional platforms for research and communication – for instance Google, Facebook, Weibo and WeChat – and their influence. As these works of art are juxtaposed against each other, the show itself becomes a dialogue between users of Internet technology from around the world. Art Radar takes a look at four of the artists and their artworks on show.
1. Graft and Ash for a Three Monitor Workstation — Sondra Perry
Born in 1986, Sondra Perry is an American interdisciplinary artist who creates computer-based media art, installation and performances. In her work Graft and Ash for a Three Monitor Workstation, an avatar self-portrait is displayed on a stationary exercise bike outfitted with a triptych of video screens. To experience the work fully, the viewer needs to sit on an exercise bike with their face close to screens. While doing so, the avatar of the artist on the screen in the middle speaks to the viewer in a computerised voice about racial injustice.
Perry’s works have been shown at the Museum of Modern Art/PS1, New York; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Studio Museum, Harlem; The Camera Club of New York, New York; Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, New York; Arlington Arts Center, Virginia; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle; and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Some of her works have also been screened at festivals such as Video Art and Experimental Film Festival, Tribeca Cinemas, New York; and LOOP Barcelona Media Arts Festival.
2. Landscape.gif — Miao Ying
Born in Shanghai in 1985, media artist Miao Ying is known for her Internet art, which comments on the interaction between China’s Internet and its netizens. In Landscape.gif, the viewer is invited to lie on the bed and look upwards at tablet computers, which are held by iPad holders. The mundane everyday action of staring at phone and tablet screens in bed is featured in this work, while the patterns on the blanket encapsulate Chinese netizens’ wish for more ‘Likes’ on social media. Her work aims to explore everyday existence conditioned by technology.
Miao Ying’s work has been exhibited in New Museum, New York; MadeIn Gallery, Shanghai; Galerienächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder, Vienna; La Biennale di Venezia 2015; the KW institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai 2016; Taking Space, Beijing; OCAT Shanghai; Times Art Museum, Guangzhou; CAFA Art Museum, Beijing; Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, Beijing; Gallery Linz; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei; Shanghai Art Museum; and in online exhibition The Wrong—New Digital Art Biennale.
3. From Yu to Me — Aleksandra Domanović
Serbian artist Aleksandra Domanović was born in 1981 in Novi Sad in former Yugoslavia. Her multimedia work examines the circulation of images and information and aims to bring the underrepresented female contributions in technology to the surface. She often creates work that revolves around the historic event of the disintegration of Yugoslavia, as wells as development in technology through the narrative of feminism. From Yu to Me presents the historical and political background of the Internet in Yugoslavia, by showcasing archival footage and the map of Yugoslavia.
Domanović’s works have been exhibited internationally, including at the New Museum, New York; Gallery of Modern Art Glasgow; Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin; Kunsthalle Basel; Kunsthalle Hamburg; Kunsthalle Vienna; Kunsthalle Düsseldorf; Western Front, Vancouver; P74 Gallery, Ljubljana; and Passerelle Centre d’art contemporain, Brest.
4. The Gallery — Wang Xin
Born in Hubei, China, in 1983, Wang Xin is a certificated hypnotist who creates new media art and installations. She is interested in exploring the system of the art world and the idea of unconsciousness and is the founder of The Gallery project, which functions as an alternative art space/system. In the “.com/.cn” show, viewers can experience this artwork through virtual reality technology. The artist uses Unity 3D software and Oculus in this work to enable viewers to experience the show in a different way as they look across the gallery space with the headset.
Wang Xin’s work has been exhibited in de Sarthe Gallery, Beijing; MoCA Pavilion Shanghai; C-Space, Beijing; Antenna Space, Shanghai; Chi K11 Art Museum, Shanghai; Whitebox Art Center, New York; and in festivals Shenzhen Independent Animation Biennale, Shenzhen and Musrara Mix Festival, Jerusalem, Israel.
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- Chinese artist Fu Wenjun’s “digital painting photography” at the National Art Museum of China, Beijing – in pictures – March 2017 – Chinese contemporary artist Fu Wenjun’s experimentation with photography is on display in Beijing until 19 March 2017
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- “Remnants of an Electronic Past”: Chinese new media artist aaajiao – in conversation – September 2016 – Art Radar chats with Chinese new media artist aaajiao on the occasion of his solo exhibition at CFCCA Manchester
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