Where is Nikki S Lee? Immersing in the Selfie Imageries in the Digital Era

(“Photographer Nikki S. Lee can Turn Into Anyone” from Youtube by The Creators Project) With meticulous makeup, healthy tainted tone and the ‘attitude,’ Nikki S. Lee is Mobb Deep’s most adorable fan among all groupies; while garnishing herself with leather trousers, choker, leggings and the silver rings piercing in her nose, ear and body, Lee is a hard-core punk. In another selfie she grows the long curly hair, wearing sports top, joyfully attending the parade with her fellow Latinas. She could also stereotypically dressing back in the Asian high school girl uniform holding their cell-phones with reserved yet sweet chitchatting which hinted the naive teenage romance.

The global selfie phenomenon in this digital era has become a convenient media in Lee’s hands. Her quasi in-real-life (irl) costume-play gains herself the access to live in and across the boundaries of diversified cultures. Investigating cultural and self identities, Lee’s pictures have captured the attentions from the viewers beyond the art scene, reflecting that her art practice echoes to the zeitgeist of contemporary selfie culture.

Nikki S Lee, “The Hip Hop Project,” 2001, Chromogenic color print, edition AP2, 21 1/4 x 28 inches. (Picture credit of artist Nikki S Lee, Edmund Hayes Fund, 2002)

Nikki S Lee, “The Hip Hop Project,” 2001, Chromogenic color print, edition AP2, 21 1/4 x 28 inches. (Picture credit of artist Nikki S Lee, Edmund Hayes Fund, 2002)

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Jennifer Chan’s Net Art: Challenging the Gendered Online Culture

[Jennifer Chan, Important Objects, 2014, video, 9:18 minute. (Video credit of artist Jennifer Chan]

In this digital era, artworks created by the digital media in relation to the decentralized world wide web has become a critical contemporary art practices. Many women artists are attracted to the convenience of web-based media to explore the aesthetic possibilities in the net. Among them, a video clip by woman artist Chan who collaged the moving imageries of male singers’ figures and masculine gestures with her deliberately mixed upbeat rhythm, sexy male vocals in love songs. Chan’s reproducing music video offers the pleasurable yet ephemeral imageries. Occasionally, a string of bright-colored, huge subtitle moving around the screen to highlight some specific lines of the lyric about ‘men’s pain.’ With meticulous labor, the artist manipulates an exaggerated romantic vibe, yet with a touch of mischievous absurdity. This is Jennifer Chan’s video clip “Boyfriend,” in which she explores the representation of gender on the web.

Jennifer Chan, ”Boyfriend, ” 2014, video, 6:27 minute. (Video credit of artist Jennifer Chan)

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Ignite: Women Fueling Science and Technology

Dee Hibbert-Jones & Nomi Talisman, Living Condition, experimental animation. (Picture credit of Dee Hibbert-Jones & Nomi Talisman)

Dee Hibbert-Jones & Nomi Talisman, Living Condition, experimental animation. (Picture credit of Dee Hibbert-Jones & Nomi Talisman)

“This is something that… I don’t like to remember…” The simple lines on the screen showing a black lady spoke with tears. Based on the true story, this animated documentary film Living Condition is created by Nomi Talisman and Dee Hibbert-Jones, both artists are single mothers. Living Condition scrutinizes the impact of capital punishment on many women’s lives. These women lived with a son, brother, or partner accused of a capital crime; these women are in fact living under extraordinary circumstances that they are frequently exclusive from the mainstream society, marginalized yet at the same time fighting to defend the men in their life, and raising the kids all by herself without partner‘s support. The intriguing computerized story-telling in Living Condition showcases that the animation can also persuasively transmit the messages of social justice and further help to voice out for the people who are silenced by the social system.  

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Reassessing the Memories of Modern Asia: Review on the Two Contemporary Art Exhibitions

( “SeMA MediaCity Biennale Seoul 2014” from Youtube by Mediacity Seoul 2014Two current exhibitions in Asia coincidentally examine video artworks under the theme of “ghost.” Entitled “Ghosts, Spies and Grandmothers,” the 2014 SeMA Mediacity Biennale Seoul recalls the collective memories in modern Asian societies; interestingly mirroring the exploration of the contemporary imagery under the theme of “The Returning of Ghosts” in 2014 Taiwan International Video Art Exhibition which further discovers the phantasmagorias in the videoworks as well as the viewers’ subjectivity and spiritual construction during the video-viewing process.

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Nalini Malani: Reincarnational Metaphors

Nalini Malani, Transgressions, 2001. Three channel video, four hand-painted polymer cylinders, sound. Photograph by Johan Pnappel, courtesy of the artist. (Photograph by Johan Pnappel; Picture credit of artist Nalini Malani)

Nalini Malani, Transgressions, 2001. Three channel video, four hand-painted polymer cylinders, sound. Photograph by Johan Pnappel, courtesy of the artist. (Photograph by Johan Pnappel; Picture credit of artist Nalini Malani)

The projected revolving and colorful imagery shines through five large mylar cylinders hanging at the center of exhibition space. The surrounding shadow plays on the walls and cylinders appear the figures of legendary deities of India and the West, such as Mahabharata, Radha, Sita, Medea, Casandra, fictional antagonist Alice of the Wonderland, or an unknown lady whose head wrapped with clothes imprinted Buddhist scripts. Along with these magic women, there are some mysterious animals which were from the “Orientalism” by Edward Said. This profound meaningful artwork ‘Transgression’ is created by the hands of Nalini Malani, the winner of St. Moritz Art Masters Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014. Continue reading

Do We Genuinely Exist in the Digital Era? Review on Yu-chuan Tseng’s Art

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Yu-Chuan Tseng , Immersing Me, 2005, Computer and Digital Interactive Installation.(Picture credit of artist Yu-Chuan Tseng)

Stepping in a dark room, the six screens on the wall framed a body figure but segregated it into six pieces in the form of a cross. This compelling image with the hinted contemporary digital Crucifixion is from Tseng’s Immersing Me (2005). Although the artist does not emphasize specifically religious meaning, the title interestingly suggested the process of baptism by immersion. In the screens that Tseng deliberately setting up, each part of our body is measured by the web-cam which the artist installed in the exhibition space. The viewers’ bodies are thus framed in the cross of technology, which implies the meaning of Atonement, the action of rescuing and making amends for our soul falling into the energy-swallowing internet black hole. How are we immersed in the world of codes, physically and spiritually, and further lost our soul and spirit? Continue reading

Hung Liu : Resurging the Evanescent Spirits

( “KQED Spark – Hung Liu” from Youtube by KQED) From the historical photographs she discovered, reserved in the public archive, Hung Liu painted those women she has never met. These ephemera female figures are from the late 19th centuries. Portraying them is “like face to face,” she said. These women are passed away more than one hundred years ago. Hung Liu tries to capture their spirits through the images. Continue reading

Anna Maria Maiolino: The Visceral Approach of Reality

 (“é, intervenção de Anna Maria Maiolino” from Youtube by Canal Contemporâneo)
When we are visiting art shows, there is always the question pondering around: “Who define ‘art’ and in what standard?”
 What is the ‘rule’ underneath the definition of contemporary art? After attending numberous openings, to me, art is not about simply pleasing us on the visual surface, but about the concept behind the imagery which generates the impacts on how we perceive things unconscously.
The artworks by Anna Maria Maiolino enlightened my search…

Anna Maria Mailino, still from: In-Out (Athropophagy), 1972/74 ©Anna Maria Maiolino.

Anna Maria Mailino, still from: In-Out (Athropophagy), 1972/74 ©Anna Maria Maiolino.

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Troubling Borders: An Anthology of Art and Literature by Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora

(Troubling Borders book trailer by UWashingtonPress on Youtube)

Alone and used,
I find strength to bear the storm that will come and cleanse my land,
Replenish my trampled soil.
And when they come again,
I will welcome them with tides and storms of thunder and lightning.
And they will never set foot on my sacred land again.
– Yer Yang, “Virgin Land, Virgin Body” Continue reading