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Beijing's Latest New Media Exhibition Explores Themes Of Environmental Change

Beijing has hosted many large scale new media art exhibitions this year, the most comprehensive of which opened this past Wednesday—the International Triennial of New Media Art, presented at the National Art Museum of China. This year’s exhibition explores the theme of “Translife,” addressing the deteriorating environment and other ecological issues.

As technology continues to pervade society more and more each day, art in Beijing now features plenty of new media styles. The Triennial showcases 53 works from 80 artists representing 23 countries, including a 13-piece “Weather Tunnel” section, which features a massive installation from our creator Ma Yansong and many works from the top students of the Chinese art academies. All of these works use new media methods to analyze many layers of possibilities in future life. Take a look at our favorite projects below.

Artificial Moon by Wang Yuyang

This imaginary moon was constructed from 10,000 energy-saving bulbs.

Scale by localStyle and Malcolm MacIver

A biotech installation from localStyle (US-based artists Marlena Novak and Jay Alan Yim), in collaboration with bioengineer Malcolm MacIver. In this work, nocturnal electric fish from the Amazon River Basin are placed in individual arc aluminum tanks, where the fish’s electrical fields are interpreted as sound. The audience can stand in the middle of the arc, conducting the fish choir with custom-made software while simultaneously triggering the LED arrays under the tanks to produce real-time visual feedback.

Gravicell: Gravity and Resistance by Seiko Mikami and Sota Ichikawa

This interactive visual installation has a strong Oriental touch, as it allows the audience to experience Tai-Chi-like movements while stimulating a reaction between gravity, resistance and the visualization lines triggered by people’s motion. Gravicell shows a strong influence from minimal and fluid Japanese aesthetics.

E-Static Shadows by Zane Berzina and Jackson Tan

These beautiful hanging electronic textiles are lined with micro-electronics. As the audience walks into the space, they experience the phenomenon of electrostatic, which might even make us start to enjoy the electrostatic that appears in dry seasons. This interactive piece resembles a conversation between the textile and its viewer.

Lights Contacts by Scenocosme

Gregory Lasserre and Anais met den Ancxt’s creation won’t react if you touch it by yourself, but many people’s touches together will trigger shifting light.

Nomadic Plant by Gilberto Esparza

A documentary about a newly invented nomadic plant: a container filled with small automaton robot. In order to generate power for the the circuit, the plant moves toward water when its bacteria require nourishment. This invention was tested in a polluted river in Mexico.

Data Cloud by Aaajiao

Our creator Aaajiao’s art installation from last year features computer-generated clouds floating smoothly above our heads. The artist intends to discuss the possible future that all of our senses can be stimulated by computers.

Ambiguous Cut Into Space of Conjecture by Herwig Weiser

This work is an electrochemical projection device and a vague illusion experiment. A stroboscopic backlight and jarring iridescent colors blind viewers while ultrasonic exposure and mechanical rotation cause existing bonds to rupture at the molecular level.

Edunia: Natural History of the Enigma by Eduardo Kac

This is one of the most intriguing works. The artist created a unique flower by fusing his genetics with those of a petunia, which formed a new plant he has named Edunia.

Champs d’Ozone, Beijing by HeHe

Champs d’Ozone is located outside of the National Museum of China. It uses the analytical data that measures Beijing’s air quality, and translates those statistics into visuals and audio. While the view is visually stunning, it calls attention to the harsh cruelty of Beijing’s air pollution.

Knight of Infinite Resignation by Diane Landry

These 12 water-powered wheels reference the hours on the clock and the months of the year, and represent perpetual motion machines. In between the fluid boundaries of light and shadow, we can open our imagination to the perpetual energy of the universe.

Image Courtesy of Media Art China, Photography by Madi Ju

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