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Spring 2006 | v.02 n.02 | Posted: June 19, 2006  [PDF] Print Version

Asia Effects in New Media
Mina Cheon

Chair and Moderator of panel at the CAA Boston
Invited Guest Editor, Media-N Special Issue “Asia Effects in New Media”

Professor, Foundation and Interactive Media
Director of MICA Korea Program
Maryland Institute College of Art

Asia Effects in New Media, panel at Hynes Convention Center, CAA Boston 2006.
Left to right: Mina Cheon, Kim Hong-hee, Wu Hung, Stephen Vitiello, Sowon Kwon,
Chris Gilbert, and Semi Ryu.

“Asia Effects in New Media” looks at the trajectory of Asia influence in Western art, while investigating the effects of new media art. By presenting alterior lenses in which art history can be re-analyzed, the panel instigates the rhizomatic effect of Asia on Western art and culture. Parallel events took place in the East and the West during the rise of modernism, when both sides looked towards their cross-cultures and co-authored the rise of technology. Although art based on new technology can be easily associated with visions of a Western techno-utopic paradigm, unwritten histories interrupt this common understanding and collapse the logic of the East/West dichotomy. The objective here is to trace how media cultures and new media art reflect Asia tendencies that redefine cultural territories and deconstruct canonical understandings of space and time.

The term “Asia Effects” is troubling because it can be viewed as pejorative, territorial, centering, and simply a counter-weight to Western ideologies and cultural constructs. But “Asia Effects” is used here to work off of those very expectations with a critical edge (or a wedge) which might serve as an “approach” / an “iteration” of cultural interpretation that traces paths between East and West and breaks down binary perspectives. Whether it is the “Western” artist who utilizes an “Eastern” sensibility to produce the avant-garde or the Asian economist importing western technology to produce a so-called modern nation, the radical in culture creates “clouds” of “Asia Effects,” that are not about Eastern philosophy, people, or land but about networks of ideas… of seeing the world in a manner that calls on our anticipation of Asia and interrogates it critically.

Here are various responses to our subject “Asia effects in new media.” The order of papers presented here differ from the panel presentation so that we may begin the series of texts with a personal essay by Stephen Vitiello, who shares his perspective of the Asia effects of new media by tracing the artistic and cultural influences from Cage, Paik, to Vitiello himself. Moreover, we end this publication with Kim Hong-hee’s text which responds to Asia effects in the public arts domain, that of international biennales, in which she claims that biennales are expressions of new media themselves. Her focus is on the non-Western biennales, especially those of Asia that offers a shift of centers in the scheme of international contemporary art scenes. Moving from the personal to public realms, the Asia effects in new media calls for intercultural strategies which Wu Hung suggests must have ‘deflattening cultural effects.”

Papers that are being published in this special issue are revised versions of those that were presented during the New Media Caucus panel “Asia Effects in New Media” which was a part of the ARTspace program at the 2006 CAA conference in Boston. The texts here will also be published in the International Symposia section of the 6th Gwangju Biennale 2006 Catalogue since the panel also served as one of four academic events for the biennale.

Asia Effects in New Media was co-sponsored by the Maryland Institute College of Art and the 6th Gwangju Biennale 2006. This is a Media-N Special Issue: Papers from a New Media Caucus Panel at CAA Boston 2006.

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