Image Flux:  China

New Work in Video Art, Documentary Film, and Independent Film
 

November 15-18, 2006

Guangzhou (Canton), Peoples Republic of China

Retrospective: The Thirteenth Sedona Conversation in Guangzhou, China

Shanghai Living:  A Presentation on the Work of Hu Yang
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Why China?  Why Now?
Currently, there is a very important phenomenon in China based on Digital Video and the relatively cheap way it is propagated. Artists and Directors regularly shift and move DV copies in and out of universities and cities all over China, among themselves, and internationally. Chinese historians, practitioners, and critics are treating 1997-2002 as a prehistoric moment in the new image production, calling it the DV Movement. The first phase was important because it signified a loss of control by the official system. Similar to the internet, there is a new wave in the production and propagation of the digital medium and the discourse surrounding the medium.

Early on, this was largely due to what they call “folk videos,” or simple oral histories being recorded. This early emphasis on the personal and interpersonal still remains intact, as there are, of course, the large Hollywood style blockbuster films that speak to a completely different audience.

What we see as an important, genre changing moment is based in the individuals' empowerment to record, create, and propagate unofficial narratives through Digital Media. This is true in the Fine Arts, in Documentary Film, and Independent Film. The narratives are not overtly political but rather deeply personal. It is through the individual stories of coping with the exponential speed of change in society here that one finds an important social phenomenon manifesting itself, and recording itself.

The genres of Fine Art Video, Documentary Film, and Fictional Independent Film, are also in dialog with each other. This is quite different than the American or European system of image production. Similarly, there is a diverse set of institutions participating in the critical discourse surrounding the new image production, facilitated by the convergence of the genres and the new media forms.

This phenomenon of “convergence” has been heralded by technology gurus for years in the West, but merely as a utopian visionary construct among the elite. Here in China, the New Media genres spontaneously converged, largely due to the absence of existing structures for the dissemination, analysis, and production of digital media.

We invite proposal for participation in the form of creative works, position statements, and academic papers. A full catalog of participating individuals will be published and available at the conference.

Curator:
Megan C. McShane, Ph.D. United Sates Fulbright Scholar. She holds an endowed Fulbright in Art History from the Luce Foundation, and teaches Modern and Contemporary Art History at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou in the formidable History Department, with the support of Hong Kong Arts Benefactor Leung Kit Wah. She has also lectured at the Chinese Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing on American Art and Ecology artists. She has been a fellow at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., a Violence Studies Fellow at Emory University, and she has worked with the Rockefeller Center for the Analysis of Contemporary Culture, at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Recently, she has lectured at such universities as the Sorbonne, Cambridge, Oxford, the University of Chicago, U.C.L.A., the University of Helsinki and the Art Academy in Tallinn, Estonia. Her current research interests cover the phenomenon of converging New Media in China, where she currently lives and teaches.

Co-Curator:
Wu Jie
. Independent curator and Image critic-Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing. He was the co-founder of “U-theque,” a non-profit film club in Guangzhou, organizing bi-weekly art film spectacles with discussion forums and issuing film newsletters on the scene. In addition, he acted as the main organizer of “Beijing/Shenzhen/Guangzhou/Hong Kong short films collection,” “New Chinese Images Series,” “Hong Kong Independent Film Exhibition,” “French New Wave,” “Japanese Movie Month,” all of which included the showing of more than a hundred films from 2000-2003. He has initiated and hosted several workshops for mainland and Hong Kong directors, including Cui Yunxin, Simon Cheung, Kuo Weilun, Chou Qiang, Zhang Weixiong, Shu Kei, Lou Ye. Recently, he collaborated with Empfangshalle, the German art unit in Guangzhou in 2006. His current project entails exporting Chinese Documentary Films to Barcelona in the project, “AEpistomology.”

Conference Organizer and Chief Sponsor:
Paul A. Elsner, Doctorate from Stanford University, graduate of Harvard's Institute for Educational Management (IEM). Chancellor Emeritus, MCCD, Phoenix, Arizona. Dr. Elsner is recognized as a leader in American Higher Education. He has served on several Washington DC based Commissions, advised former President Clinton on educational agendas, and served as Chairman of the Board for the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, where he presided over the global administration of the SAT, the GRE, and the TOEFL exams. He has raised over 600 million U.S. dollars for education in his home state of Arizona. He was an architect of the Campus Compact movement in America, institutionalizing Service-Learning. He has received the lifetime achievement award, the McGraw-Hill, Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education, and both the Chronicle of Higher Education and Change Magazine listed him as one of the top twenty influential educators in the world. Too numerous to fully list, his international work includes fifteen years in China, alone, in addition to the ongoing projects in United Arab Emirates, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, Costa Rica, the Netherlands, Ireland, Japan, Australia, and Canada. He has been asked to set up national models for education in Malaysia and Afghanistan. We are privileged and honored to have him as a collaborator, as his lifelong commitment has been to make sure all individuals regardless of nationality, race, religion or gender had full access to both education and technology. He is working with us through his series of conversations, entitled The Sedona Conversations, in which he identifies and supports dialogue on a topic of global importance to technology and educational issues. This is his 13th such conversation open to the global community.

Participating Guests:
Zhang Xian Min. Graduated from Sorbonne, Paris III and FEMIS in France. Now he is a professor at the Beijing Film Academy. He is the key historian of the Chinese New Documentary Movement. He has translated the Introduction of Cinematography into Chinese, and written two books: All About DV and Invisible Images.

Gary E. Swanson, Northwestern University. He is currently a United States Fulbright Lecturer, serving at the Communications University of China (CUC), Beijing. He is a producer and director of documentaries. Swanson recently returned from Jordan where he was filming “Jordan-Oasis in the Middle East.” From 1979-1991, Swanson worked for the National Broadcast Company (NBC), where he was honored several times with national EMMY’s for producing and editing investigative reporting news pieces. Swanson was an editor for “breaking news” and features for NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, the Today Show, and prime time news magazines. He covered the campaigns and travel of presidents Reagan, Bush, and Clinton. He has earned more than 57 awards for broadcast excellence, including three national Emmy’s, the George Foster Peabody Award, two CINE Golden Eagles, 12 Telly’s, The Monte Carlo International Award, the Hamburg International Award, and others.

Gao Shi-Qiang. New-coming video artist from China Academy of Fine Art, shown regularly in Beijing, at the Shanghai Biennial, and covered by the International Herald Tribune in Feature articles.

Huang Xiaopeng. Received his M.A. from University of London, currently teaching at the Guangzhou Fine Art Academy. He was recently shown in May 2006 at PS1 in New York as one of the “Thirteen” new video artists from China. He has an extensive international exhibition record.



 


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