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
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.
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.
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
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
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.