The Past, present and Future of Computing Art at UCCA in Beijing

Exhibition view, “Immaterial / Re-material: A Brief History of Computing Art”, UCCA Beijing, Beijing, China, 2020 Image Courtesy UCCA Center for Contemporary Art

UCCA presents “Immaterial/Re-material,” a group exhibition tracing the history, present, and future of computing art.

The exhibition is divided into four main sections:  “Pioneers of Computing Art; The Invention of a New Palette’ focusing on the pioneers of computing art in the 1960’s ; “Generative Art: A Language for Infinity” ; “AI Art-lab : When the Artist Creates Creation,” addressing the questions of authorship in the context of creation with AI and the last section “Illusions and Disillusions of the Post-digital Era” that interests us here. In fact,  the last part of the exhibition features works by a younger generation of Chinese artists, including aaajiao (b. 1984), Lu Yang (b. 1984), Lin Ke (b. 1984), Fei Yining (b. 1990) (in collaboration with Chuck Kuan(b. 1993)), Liu Wa (b. 1994) who “express a subtle ambivalence towards our hyper-networked world, despite their own identities as digital natives creation work steeped in global online culture.

Above: EExhibition view, “Immaterial / Re-material: A Brief History of Computing Art”, UCCA Beijing, Beijing, China, 2020, work by Fei Yining and Chuck Kuan. Below: Video Still, Fei ining and Chuck Kuan, Breakfast Ritual: Art Must Be Artificial, 2019, 2-channel 4K video, 8’51.  Images Courtesy UCCA Center for Contemporary Art

Despite the fears over the low of human control, invasive data collection, and other potential ill effects of technological acceleration, the youngest artists in the exhibition amply illustrate how even cosumer-grade software and equipment may be repurposed and contorted to deliver creative breakthroughs. By being staged in Beijing, where the integration of digital technology into daily life is reaching unprecedented levels, Immaterial/Re-material” provides a vital snapshot of how artists have responded and are responding to our ever-more algorithmic world.”

Above: Exhibition view, “Immaterial / Re-material: A Brief History of Computing Art”, UCCA Beijing, Beijing, China, 2020, work by aaajiao. Below: aaajiao, Icon009.gif , 2019, LED screen, gif, 16x16x6cm. Images Courtesy UCCA Center for Contemporary Art

You can find the videos of the moving images artworks featured in the exhibition along with interviews of the artists on the imrm.ucca.org.cn

Exhibition view, “Immaterial / Re-material: A Brief History of Computing Art”, UCCA Beijing, Beijing, China, 2020. Work by Liu Wa. Image courtesy: Liu Wa and MadeIn Gallery

Wang Yuyang , Site, 2019, Oil on canvas, 210 x 222cm. Image Courtesy UCCA Center for Contemporary Art

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China Art Management