Thursday, May 08, 2008


For your finals, I am asking you to explore the possibilities for a new kind of a  history of Chinese contemporary art. 

Based blogs, user generated "expertise" content, the Internet has become a unique channel of learning and also distribution. Chinese contemporary art history uploaded to the Internet is certainly a valid one, though also an alternative and slightly biased one, and often the information available can be in the form of broken links or can be randomly contextualized/interpreted without any hierarchy or control. Without guidance or available text in English and armed only with the ability to crudely search for image and text, the Internet's version of Chinese art history slightly differs from the academic version that you might have seen in your readers, readings, and in classroom or also from the Chinese version itself. For instance, on the Internet, actual artist videos are placed next to user generated karaoke remakes. The control systems that normally determine the codification of art are deconstructed by the search algorithms and choices of home users. And the responsibility of interpretation lies solely in the hands of the receiver and his/her ability to sort out and analyze the given information.

For this assignment, I am asking you to sort and collect images, video, and audio from the Internet in order to discern where Chinese art and art history on the web is situated right now since 1985 onwards, chronologically. The artists (consult your class notes and readers) and (experimental) exhibitions (China Avantgarde, Fan, Art For Sale, Fuckoff, Post-Sense Sensibility, Second Hand Reality, Nemesis, Inside Out, Shanghai Biennial, Asia Traffic, Text/Subtext, Magicienne De La Terre and more, as well as shows you have seen at Zendai Museum (Hostage), M50, SGA, Bund18, Ofoto, Eastlink, Epson galleries etc.) we looked at, spaces we talked about/you looked at both in Shanghai and Beijing (from East Village scene to Long March Space, Olympics Stadium / 798 in Beijing to Zhang Huan's studio in Shanghai to various museums and galleries), lecturers you heard, videos you watch, are all parts of this. Your reader has a chronology you can consult with, or you can use your quiz sheets. The class blog has links to artist blogs, and forums online. Use not only google, but also youtube, (chinese art youtube), and also art blogs such as art-ba-ba, and artist blogs you have on Shanghai Chase.

You can look at the same material in Chinese or English- the choice is yours how you will use the language differences! 

The findings will culminate in a video screening presented with a live commentary by each of you. 20 minutes per person. If you decide to team up in pairs, then 30 minutes per pair. 

Through these finals, the intention is to discuss for better or worse how art is changed by Internet, and in turn how the Internet is changing our perception of Chinese art. 

Use your sense of humour and creativity along this collection process!

You have five weeks to put all this together. Good luck!

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