Blending Cultures via Computer: New Media Artists of China

By Jean Ippolito.

Published by The International Journal of New Media, Technology and the Arts

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The digital studio is used as a kind of culture blender, and then the Internet itself is used to disperse the cultural cocktails to the far ends of the globe. Contemporary Chinese artists have recently appropriated imagery and ideas from European high art and popular culture, blending them with modern Chinese political concerns, and propagating these amalgamations over the Internet to an international audience. The European and American receptors of these artworks are eager to interpret the commentaries within the works from their own political perspective. By drawing upon imagery and ideas from two or more cultures, artists can reach a broader international audience through their art. Whether the blending of cultural imagery and compositions in the work of contemporary Chinese artists is a conscious mutilation of traditional art or not, the fact that it grabs the attention of an international audience gives it strength and makes it a powerful medium for communication. Recognizable imagery attracts viewers by allowing them to grasp a known image and contemplate the unknown in a familiar context. By mixing cultural concepts, international ideas are spawned and disseminated.

Keywords: China, Culture, Traditional, Western Culture, Blending, Digital

The International Journal of New Media, Technology and the Arts, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.39-44. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 194.935KB).

Dr. Jean Ippolito

Associate Professor, Humanities Division, Art Department, University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hilo, HI, USA

Jean Ippolito is an art historian and associate professor at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Her forthcoming book, The Search for New Media: Late 20th Century Art and Technology in Japan, focuses on the pioneers of digital media art in Japan. Recently, however, she spent her sabbatical doing research on the newest generation of digital media artists in China and revitalizing her Mandarin Chinese speaking skills. She is currently working on a book to be entitled, New Visions from China: Digital Art of the 21st Century. Dr. Ippolito has lived for extended periods of time in Japan and in China and speaks both languages fluently.