Thursday, April 23, 2009

Internet Expression in Contemporary Chinese Art

The use of the internet and other new digital technologies have been a part of international contemporary art since it became accessible and affordable. Internet and new media entered China well over a decade ago, and since that time it China has only become more and more wired. Even in the strict attempts by the government restriction to access of information and communication in the name of social unification, a large amount of Chinese internet culture remains unchecked and perhaps almost impossible to ever repress fully.

As a cultural leaders, visual artists have remained at the edge of innovative uses for information technologies. Just as quickly as the artist adapts to new media art production, new ways of implementing the internet become apparent. Today a large number of professional contemporary artist use the internet is some way, at almost every different level of their process.

Artist like Shi Yong, a practicing Shanghainese artist, first used the internet as a key component of his work when he designed a visual survey for non-Chinese to vote electronically for the image of the contemporary Chinese artist. This image is of the postcard, mostly printed in English, that was sent to people around the art world. The card instructs viewers to log onto a special link at to vote on the most appealing hairstyle.

The internet voting was only the beginning of a year long series of performances where the artist acted out the fantasy of hundreds of e-voters. Ultimately he used the outlet to critisize the outlets the Western art world allows Chinese artist.

Electronic resources have created a relatively safe and effective way to convey feelings of unrest withing the strict cultural confines of mainland China.

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