China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
Digital technologies have profoundly transformed Chinese visual culture, and advances in science and technology continue to create ever new and exciting avenues for the mediation of cultural sentiments in China today. From the spheres of cyberspace where artists negotiate their public identity and exhibit their idiosyncratic gaze on the places they inhabit, to the realms of virtual reality which enable surrogate worlds, technology both acts as stimulant for constant artistic innovation and engenders new narratives that reflect on our sense of being in an increasingly connected world. This panel looks at works of Chinese contemporary art and film where culture and technology collide to concoct alluring - and alarming - wonderlands that bear the potential to uproot our received understandings of place and identity.
Angela Becher examines how Chinese artists and filmmakers use the immersive technologies of AR/VR to simulate historical time-travel, questioning the impact of embodied experience in the virtual realm on knowledge formation in a postsocialist present. Wenny Teo’s paper considers the disquieting role of technology via artworks that critically engage with the pervasive peril of surveillance, enabled by ubiquitous cameras and artificial intelligence. Wang Chunchen probes into young artists’ use of digital montage, appropriation, and experimentation with the Internet as ways of negotiating a sense of identity in the liminal realm between the real and the virtual. Annabella Massey investigates how the subculture of urban exploration uncovers ‘secret’ sites in Chinese cities, and demonstrates how its digitally disseminated visual documentation challenges conventional notions of space and place.