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September 4, 2009

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Shock of the new media

ENTER a fantasy world at a major festival of artworks which make use of new technology to blur the boundaries between artists and visitors and allow their imaginations to take flight. Yao Minji reports. New media, a term often describing digital technologies, has been popular in the contemporary art field. It might be a sculpture with fancy lighting, a painting about the imagined Internet world or an installation piece involving interactive games.
Compared with traditional artworks, new media art is more interactive with visitors while more difficult to explain and categorize.
A modern city with a booming arts culture, Shanghai has been attractive for new media artists. The city has already held two eArts festival focusing on new media artworks. The third, with the theme "System Updating," will begin next Thursday, with three large exhibitions.
The festival is intended to provide a clearer and more understandable new media system model through the exhibitions, according to the organizers of the festival, who hope to "push the system to get updated for a sustainable development."
It aims to "reflect the existing problems of the system by analyzing the complicated knowledge, information, resource and circulation mechanism of the system."
In the past two festivals, dozens of artists gathered in Shanghai to display their work in all kinds of small events and exhibitions. This year, organizers have split the festival into three large exhibitions, each with a distinct theme and a lot of work from artists of different backgrounds, wishing to deliver the message in a clearer way.
"Fantastic Illusions - Media Art Exhibition of Chinese and Belgian Artists," one of the three exhibitions, is not only a communication platform for artists and visitors of the two countries, but also a project reflecting people's wish to enter a mysterious and fantastic world beyond their daily lives.
Artists always try their best to establish a unique world, a world that attracts many visitors who are unable to cross the border from their daily lives. And the exhibition discusses the various possibilities of interrupting the audiences' world or inviting them into the fantasy space created by artists.
The introduction of cyberspace in the late 20th century has made it easier for artists to cross the border of reality and the created fantasy space. Visitors can easily get into such spaces in virtual reality.
Fourteen artists, seven Chinese and seven Belgians, have established a fantasy space together for the exhibition using all kinds of media including video, painting and computer systems.
Shanghai artist Hu Jieming's work "Above Water, Under Water" is an interactive video installation on three screens. Screen A presents the scene of a man fishing by the window of a study near water. Screen B shows the exterior scene of a calm lake, with bridges, islands and residential buildings in the far background. And screen C shows the peaceful scene under the water.
As visitors get close to the screens, water gets poured into screen A until it fills the whole study room.
Meanwhile, all kinds of fish jump out of the water in screen B and divers enter screen C, either passing by or struggling under the water. When visitors step away from the screens, all scenes go back to the original status.
Belgian artist Nick Ervinck, inspired by Shanghai's Yuyuan Garden, has created a digital sculpture resembling the various irregular rocks in the garden.
With a rather avant-garde presentation, the work draws its idea from traditional Chinese landscape paintings, in which painters try their best to indicate a continuous and unlimited world in the limited two-dimensional space. "System Updating" 2009 Shanghai eArts Festival
eArts Beyond - Shanghai International Gallery Invitation Exhibition
Date: September 10-20
Venue: Oriental Pearl Broadcasting and TV Tower
Fantastic Illusions - Media Art Exhibition of Chinese and Belgium Artists
Date: September 12-October 11
Venue: Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai, 231 Nanjing Rd W.
New Media Retro Exhibition
Date: September 12-October 11
Venue: DDM, 570 Huaihai Rd W.
New Releases from High Note Records
Artist: Various ArtistsTitle: Anthony Pappa ? Moments Vol. 2Genre: Tech, house, progressive
An international DJ with a career spanning 15 years, Anthony Pappa is among a small group of elite DJs who enjoy a global appeal. From his native Australia to Eastern Europe and North America, Pappa is one of the most respected figures on the club scene. This second volume, on Pappa's own Red Light District, follows 2008's critically acclaimed debut.
Artist: Various ArtistsTitle: Jazz for a Rainy DayGenre: Jazz
Drizzling does the rain, as each droplet take on the warm hue of the city light. As if to croon in harmony, soft jazz rises slowly, setting the melancholy mood. Following the success of "Jazz After Midnight," "Jazz Around Midnight" and "Late Afternoon Jazz," "Jazz for a Rainy Day" collects 21 current world-class female singers including Grammy nominated Carla Helmbrecht, along with Jennifer Lee, Donna Tucker, Ranee Lee, etc.
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Live Music
Glamorous Pharmacy
Founded in 1996, Glamorous Pharmacy is one of the most avant-garde and experimental rock bands in China. They enjoy a variety of different styles including jazz, folk, punk.
Date: September 6, 9:30pm
Venue: Yuyintang, 1731 Yan'an Rd W.
Tickets: 80 yuan
Monoral Live
The Japanese rock band Monoral, established in 1999, is a duet with vocalist and guitarist Anis and bassist Ali. They will hold their first Shanghai live show in Zhijiang Dream Factory.
Date: September 25-26
Venue: Zhijiang Dream Factory, 4/F, Bldg B, 28 Yuyao Rd
Tickets: 280-666 yuan
French Film Screening
Alliance Francaise de Shanghai, a French training center, will show two films - Diane Kurys' 1987 film "Un Homme Amoureux" ("A Man in Love") and a 2003 film "Les Sentiments" ("Feelings") by Noemie Lvovsky.
Date: September 5, 4pm
Venue: 6/F, 297 Wusong Rd
'Everlasting Violence'
The independent film is about violence and how the protagonists transform from fighting against to getting along with everlasting violence.
Date: September 12, 8pm
Venue: 021 Music Factory, 1436 Jungong Rd
Tickets: 50 yuan
Tel: 138-180-15880


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