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Article

Aileen June Wang

(b San Leandro, CA, Feb 3, 1972).

American performance and video artist of Chinese ancestry. Chang earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego in 1994. She showed her first solo exhibition at Jack Tilton Gallery, New York, in 1999. Her body of work focused on how people can be deceived, either through sight—what one sees is not necessarily true—or through mainstream assumptions about such topics as Asia, sexuality, and socially accepted behavior. Chang attributed her past stint in a cybersex company as the catalyst for exploring illusion as a theme. She realized that video flattened three-dimensional, live performances into a stream of two-dimensional images, enabling her to engage in visual deception.

Most of Chang’s early works investigated problems of gender and sexuality, using her own body and elements suggesting violence or transgression. The photograph Fountain (1999) depicted her inside a cubicle of a public lavatory, with a urinal visible on the far wall. Wearing a business suit, she knelt on hands and knees, seemingly kissing herself but actually slurping water off a mirror on the floor. The accompanying video focused on Chang’s face and her passionate interaction with her own reflection. While the photograph suggested female humiliation in a male world, the video complicated matters by implying that the act was motivated by narcissism....

Article

Mary M. Tinti

(b Houston, TX, 1951).

American sculptor, installation and conceptual artist. His multimedia works investigate the pathology of contemporary culture. Mel Chin was born and raised in Houston, Texas to parents of Chinese birth and received his BA in 1975 from the Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee. The works in Chin’s oeuvre are diverse in both medium and subject, but a consistent undercurrent of social, political, and environmental responsibility runs throughout. Whether a sculpture, film, video game, installation, public project or earthwork, Chin’s artworks consistently targeted a broad spectrum of pressing cultural and ecological interests and spread their message in subtle, if not viral ways.

In the 1980s, Chin produced a number of sculptures that set the stage for his ever-evocative artistic journey. The Extraction of Plenty from What Remains: 1823 (1988–9) is a frequently referenced piece from this period. It is a symbolic encapsulation of the effects of the Monroe Doctrine, referencing the complicated dealings between the US (represented by truncated replicas of White House columns) and Central America (represented by a cornucopia of mahogany branches, woven banana-tree fiber, and a surface layer of hardened blood, mud, and coffee grinds). From the 1990s, however, Chin moved away from strictly gallery-based installations and began creating works that directly engaged contemporary culture in a variety of physical and theoretical landscapes....

Article

Britta Erickson

(b Beijing, Oct 7, 1971).

Chinese photographer, video artist and film maker . He studied in the oil painting department of the China Academy of Fine Arts, Hangzhou from 1991 until graduation in 1995. In 1993, for his performance piece Elsewhere, he did not speak for three months. Returning to live in Beijing (1995–7), he studied film for two weeks at the Beijing Film School (1996), and wrote his first film script for An Estranged Paradise (filmed 1997; completed 2002). In 1998 he moved to Shanghai, and began participating in exhibitions in 1999.

The mises-en-scène and careful compositions of Yang’s photographs exhibit the influence of his rigorous education as an oil painter. Lighting and colour—or the lack thereof—contribute significantly to the tenor of each work. Yang’s ability to control the framing, not just of photographic images but also of moving images, in his videos and films sets him apart from other Chinese video artists....

Article

Rachel K. Ward

(b Gifu, 1966).

Japanese electronic composer and sound artist, active also in France. He is best known for composing reductionist sounds of extreme frequencies, employing sine waves, electronic sounds, and white noise; these are often presented as ambient soundscapes in immersive installations made of light and/or projected visualizations of data. Ikeda originally trained in Japan as an economist. He began composing music in the 1990s, focusing on Minimalism with a curiosity for the duality of mathematics, specifically the binary patterns of 0s and 1s of digital software. His compositions continued the investigations of John Cage and Morton Feldman in exploring the potential differences between tones. Ikeda’s initial albums were +/- (1996) and 0°C (1998), which resonated with the glitch electronic scene emerging at that time. In 2000 Ikeda’s album Matrix, on the Touch label, attracted considerable attention as an interactive electronic work. Ikeda presented ten 5-minute long tones affected by the listener’s proximity. These were followed by a second series of tones made from orchestral instruments to produce overlapping sounds. The album explored time and tone and generated a wider discussion in the music industry about the relationship between sound and new media formats. Ikeda later produced the albums ...

Article

Hyewon Lee

(b Seoul, March 13, 1967).

Korean multimedia artist active in Germany and the UK. Koo studied Western painting at Hongik University, Seoul (1985–90), and multimedia art at the Ecole National Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris (1991–7). While Koo’s drawings and photographs capture inconspicuous details of her daily life and surroundings, her installations incorporate such mundane objects as coins, rubber bands, sugar cubes, empty bottles, washing sponges and Walt Disney cartoon characters. Her interest in the fragments of everyday life not only reflects a sustained cultural interest in le quotidien in France, but is in tune with many Korean artists of her generation, who rose to significance in the Korean art world in the late 1990s, turning to small items of daily use rather than pursuing excessive visibility or the monumentality evident in the works of their predecessors.

More often than not, nestled down at insignificant corners of an exhibition space, Koo’s small-scale installations evade a viewer’s eyes at first glance. Sometimes an installation is even invisible, as in one of her two installations for the ...

Article

Michelle Yun

(b Ithaca, NY, 1966).

American multimedia artist. A second generation Korean–American, Joo grew up in Minneapolis, MN, and studied briefly at Wesleyan University as a biology major. He took a two-year sabbatical to work at a seed science firm in Austria and subsequently received his BFA from Washington University, St. Louis, MO. In 1989, Joo went on to receive an MFA in sculpture from the Yale School of Art, in New Haven, CT, in 1991, after which he moved to New York.

Joo’s diverse body of work includes sculpture, video, installations and works on paper that deal with issues relating to cultural identity, the body and the relationship between science and art. His projects overlap thematically and formally as part of an ongoing series. Joo has variously implemented a wide range of materials, including monosodium glutamate, salt, taxidermy animals and even his own body, to explore the transformative moment that signals a change of state between matter and energy. Through this exchange, Joo seeks to illuminate the slippages in meaning of the subject within a prescribed cultural context. Time often functions as a cyclical and multilayered catalyst for transformation, exemplified best through his video installations such as ...

Article

Michelle Yun

(Akira)

(b Los Angeles, CA, 1972).

Fourth generation Japanese–American multimedia artist. Kaino received a BA from the University of California, Irvine, in 1993 and an MFA from the University of California, San Diego, in 1996. He was a co-founder with Daniel J. Martinez and Tracey Shiffman of the former Los Angeles artist-run non-profit exhibition space Deep River (1997–2002). In addition to his artistic practice, Kaino ran a web design company during the late 1990s and was formerly chief creative officer of Napster. He also co-founded Uber.com, an online multimedia site that operated from 2006 to 2008.

Kaino’s sculptures, media works and site-specific installations reference, recycle and sample tropes from popular culture to challenge hegemonic narratives. Influenced by the work of Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol, Kaino looked to their example to develop projects that transmute cultural identity by re-contextualizing its production and exposing imbalances and inconsistencies in its structure. This concept is exemplified through the kinetic sculpture ...

Article

Margo Machida

(b Guangzhou, China, Sept 15, 1948).

Chinese multimedia artist. Raised in Hong Kong and Macau, Lee immigrated to the United States in 1973 to attend the Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio (BFA 1977), followed by graduate studies at Syracuse University (1977–9). Moving to New York City in 1979, he became actively involved with the burgeoning downtown Manhattan arts community, where he created Graffiti and poster art, as well as outdoor slide theater works. Beginning in the 1980s, Lee co-founded three New York-based arts collectives: Epoxy Art Group (1981–7), Godzilla: Asian American Art Network (1990–2001) and Tomato Grey (2009). The first, Epoxy Art Group, involved project-oriented collaborations with artists from mainland China, Canada and Hong Kong that reflected their intersecting standpoints as Chinese living in the West. Godzilla: Asian American Art Network was a pan-Asian, intergenerational art group. Most recently, with Tomato Grey, Lee became involved with a new cohort of contemporary immigrant artists who endeavor to foster cultural exchange between arts practitioners in Hong Kong and New York City. Lee was a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts in New York (...

Article

Britta Erickson

(b Beijing, Jan 9, 1966).

Chinese installation artist, painter and computer artist. He completed middle school in 1985 at the Beijing School of Arts and Crafts, and received his BA in 1991 from the printmaking department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing. He is considered China’s first and most important computer artist. He is a guest teacher at the Central Academy’s Photography and Digital Media Studio.

Beginning in 1983 or 1984, Feng became fascinated by computer gaming. He made use of the look and techniques of computer games and explored the implications of computer gaming through his work. Several early 1990s painting series reproduce the look of computer games of the time, with two-dimensional fighting depicted in front of simple backgrounds rendered in flat colours. Game Over: Long March (1994; set of 42 paintings), for example, deploys such popular culture heroes as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in battle along with Tyrannosaurus rexes, People’s Liberation Army soldiers and Mao Zedong. As a result of these painting series, Feng was considered a Political Pop artist, Political Pop being a late 1980s–early 1990s painting trend that defused Cultural Revolution (...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Tokyo, Jan 16, 1957).

Japanese sculptor and installation artist. He finished undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1986 and came to prominence in the late 1980s with installations of digital counters in the form of light-emitting diodes. He made his first counter in 1988 and subsequently retained this form as his basic building block: a large, two-digit red display, it continually counts from 1 to 99, never reaching 100 or registering zero. Often he wired together several counters together so that they triggered each other at various points; he called these groups ‘Regions’ and saw them as representing a symbolic universe. In the first half of the 1990s he produced work as part of his 133651 series: ranging from small groupings of counters to large, complex installations, each work consisted of a row of ten two-digit counters with up to five wired together. Such a unit allows a total of 133,651 combinations to appear, hence the title. The project ...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

revised by Jennifer Way

(b Tokyo, Feb 21, 1967).

Japanese photographer, video artist, performance artist, sculptor, installation artist and painter. Mori studied fashion at the Bunka Fashion Institute in Tokyo from 1986 to 1988 and worked part-time as a model before moving to London to study at the Shaw School of Art (1988–9) and the Chelsea College of Art (1989–92), where she earned a BFA. In New York she participated in the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art (1992–3). In 1994 Mori returned to Tokyo and began making large digital photographs and videos in which she appears as a ‘shaman, mermaid, cyber-geisha and visitor from the future’ (Johnson, p. 56). Subsequently, she assembled teams of stylists, photographers, computer imagists, sound technicians and fabricators along with musicians and scientists to create immersive multimedia installations consisting of digital photography, music, video, cinematic spatial effects, abstract biomorphic sculptural forms, paintings and scent, engaging users and responding to data and environmental stimuli. She exhibited her art in biennale exhibitions throughout the world, for example, in Singapore, Venice, Shanghai, Sydney, Kwangju, Istanbul and Lyon. From ...

Article

Reena Jana

(b Tokyo, Feb 10, 1968).

Vietnamese video artist of Japanese birth, active also in the USA. Nguyen-Hatsushiba was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and a Vietnamese father. He moved to the USA to study at the Art Institute of Chicago and then at the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore. His work concentrates on the issues of Vietnam’s national identity and history, particularly in the context of the Vietnam War (1955–75). A recurring theme is the experience of Vietnamese refugees, known as ‘boat people’, who were displaced by the war and sought to escape from their native Vietnam after the conflict ceased in hand-made boats.

To evoke Vietnam’s long coastline, as well as South-east Asia’s numerous river basins, Nguyen-Hatsushiba filmed his non-linear narratives underwater. His video productions are accompanied by dynamic soundtracks, often composed by Nguyen-Hatsushiba in conjunction with musicians, such as the Vietnamese pop star Quoc Bao. Nguyen-Hatsushiba is best known for his three-part series, ...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b Tokyo, Oct 8, 1955).

Japanese painter and multimedia artist. He studied at the Musadhino Art University in Tokyo, graduating in 1980. During the 1980s he worked in Tokyo, making large-scale paintings using appropriated imagery and collage. In 1986 he made the bookwork London/Honcon 1980, a collection of images created in response to trips to London and Hong Kong. This work incorporated found material such as printed matter, rubbish and photographs, combined with sketches and paintings made during his visits. The project signalled Ohtake’s enduring interest in the book as a flexible and appropriate form for his idiosyncratic mixtures of collage and sketches. In 1988 Ohtake moved to the rural area of Shikoku, a change of environment reflected in a shift in subject matter in his work to imagery inspired by the natural landscape and the seaside. In the same year Ohtake completed his bookwork Dreams, a diary of his dreams between 1984 and 1988...

Article

Kevin Concannon

(b Tokyo, Feb 18, 1933).

Japanese multimedia artist, composer, and musician, active also in the USA and the UK. Born into a prominent Japanese banking family, Ono spent her childhood living in both America and Japan following her father’s banking career. She became the first female student to enter the philosophy course at Gakushiun University in Tokyo in 1952. At the end of the year, the family moved to Scarsdale, NY, and Ono enrolled at Sarah Lawrence College. In 1955, she eloped with composer Toshi Ichiyanagi (b 1933), dropping out of her course and moving to Manhattan, where she became involved with avant-garde art and music communities. From December 1960 through to June 1961, she hosted a series of performances organized with La Monte Young at her downtown loft. A one-person exhibition at Fluxus founder George Maciunas’s AG Gallery and a major solo concert at Carnegie Recital Hall followed in 1961. An original participant in ...

Article

Mick Hartney

(b Seoul, July 20, 1932; d Miami, Jan 29, 2006).

South Korean video artist, performance artist, musician, sculptor, film maker, writer, and teacher, active in Germany and the USA (see fig.). From 1952 to 1956 he studied music and aesthetics at the University of Tokyo. In 1956 he moved to the Federal Republic of Germany: he studied music at the Ludwig-Maximilians Universität, Munich, and worked with the composer Karlheinz Stockhausen at Darmstadt, before joining Fluxus, with whom he made performance art, experimental music, and ‘anti-films’ (e.g. the imageless Zen for Film, 1962). His Neo-Dada performances in Cologne during this period included a celebrated encounter with John Cage, during which he formed a lasting friendship with the avant-garde composer by cutting off his tie. Inspired by Cage’s ‘prepared piano’, in which the timbre of each note was altered by inserting various objects between the strings, Paik’s experiments from 1959 with television sets, in which the broadcast image was modified by magnets, culminated in his seminal exhibition ...

Article

Britta Erickson

(b Hangzhou, Nov 6, 1957).

Chinese painter, performance, installation and video artist . Zhang studied in the oil painting department of the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts, Hangzhou from 1981 to 1984, graduating with a bachelor's degree. With other recent graduates he formed the Youth Creative Society (1984), which organized the New Space ’85 exhibition of avant-garde art in Hangzhou (1985). In May 1986, with other Youth Creative Society members, Zhang Peili, Geng Jianyi (b 1962), Wang Qiang, Song Ling and Bao Jianfei formed the Pool Society, which created two of the earliest post-Cultural Revolution outdoor installation and performance works (Work No. 1—Yang’s Taiji Series (1986) and Work No. 2—Walkers in a Green Space (1986)).

Zhang’s paintings of the mid-1980s are coolly analytical works, rendered with a limited palette. Emotionally detached, they represent musical instruments; (figures posed in the artificially frozen steps of such activities as playing an instrument); or surgical gloves, a motif introduced following a hepatitis epidemic ...

Article

Britta Erickson

(b Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, Nov 27, 1961).

Chinese installation artist. Lin studied art at Capital Normal University, Beijing in 1984. In 1987 she and her husband, the video artist Wang Gongxin (b 1960), moved to New York where, in 1989, she took courses at the Art Students League. In 1995 they returned to Beijing, where the dearth of venues receptive to mixed-media installation art led the couple to stage exhibitions in their home. Lin became one of the most notable Chinese artists creating mixed-media installation art, then a fledgling format in China. In 2001 Lin and Wang established China’s first public venue dedicated to new media art, Loft New Media Art Center, in Beijing.

1995 marked a breakthrough for Lin when she began working with white cotton thread. Her first major work in this signature material, The Proliferation of Thread-Winding (1995; for illustration see 1998 exh. cat.) was exhibited in her home. Lin’s best-known early work, ...

Article

Midori Yoshimoto

(b Tokyo, April 5, 1967).

Japanese sculptor, installation and video artist . Torimitsu received a BFA in sculpture at Tama Art University (1994) and, soon after her university graduation, she completed Miyata Jiro, a life-size robot of a stereotypical Japanese businessman, and made it crawl on the pavements of various districts in Tokyo. Perhaps because of its candid critique of Japanese corporate culture, businessmen in Marunouchi district pretended not to look at the robot, while it attracted large crowds elsewhere. In order to study varying reactions to her robot in different social settings, Torimitsu moved to New York in 1996, to participate in the P.S.1 International Program. For the American premier of Miyata Jiro that year, on Wall Street and near the Rockefeller Center, Torimitsu dressed as a nurse to redirect the robot’s movement or recharge its battery. Her New York performances were so well received that Torimitsu subsequently acquired opportunities to do the same in Amsterdam, Graz, London, Paris, Rio de Janeiro and Sydney....

Article

Joan Kee

Hong Kong-based interdisciplinary group of artists . Derived from a compound of the words video and montage, Videotage was founded in 1985 by artists May Fung (b 1952; see fig. ), Ellen Pau (b 1961; see fig. ), Wong Chi Fai and Comyn Mo to facilitate local collaborative art projects. Prior to its formation, the Phoenix Cine Club was Hong Kong’s main outlet for film-based art, especially works based on Super-8 film in the 1970s. Artists, however, began the transition to video when the commercial demand for Super-8 film diminished and home video was concurrently introduced into the consumer market. Initially, Videotage sponsored screenings of videos in the facilities of the local theatre collective, Zuni Icosahedrone. As a result, some artists such as May Fung, Ellen Pau and Comyn Mo began to explore intersections between theatre and video-based installations ( see fig. ).

Videotage later modified its purpose by fostering the study and production of multiple kinds of media-based art forms. From ...

Article

Andrew Cross

English sculptors, video artists and performance artists. John Wood (b Hong Kong, 18 June 1969) and Paul Harrison (b Wolverhampton, 30 November 1966) both graduated as painters from Bath College of Higher Education and began working together in 1993. Their collaborative video works involve both artists performing bizarre but very simple actions. While referencing the early videos and performances of Bruce Nauman or Charles Ray, the humour and irony of their work is more reminiscent of British television comedy of the 1960s and 1970s. In 3 legged (1996; see D. Batchelor and C. Esche) the two protagonists are seen tied together at the ankle and confined within a simple wooden shelter while an automatic tennis server shoots balls at them; the two tussle in idiotic fashion while trying to avoid each ball. All their collaborative works examine their intimate physical collaboration or their relationship to a particular physical environment. ...