About This Exhibit
How is identity formed in a globalized world characterized by rapid technological development and constant exchange of ideas and cultures? We live in extraordinary times; what were once considered to be completely separate from each other—the East and the West, tradition and innovation, arts and science—are now in close contact with each other and, in many ways, merging. What is the outcome of such merges of concepts? In what ways is culture perpetuated, reinvented, and reshaped when new ideas circulate constantly and instantly? When culture cannot be viewed as a singular because of the interconnectedness of almost all societies, cultural identities are undeniably caught between the friction of the past and new possibilities.
"Performing Identity" presents a collection of interactive media artworks that are concerned with the notion of Asian identity in the modern day. The featured artists, all of whom are of Asian descent, explore how their cultural values and concept of self evolved as they tried to balance innovation with tradition and exploration with expectation.
On one hand, Nam June Paik, Shu Lea Chang, FX Harnoso, and Ai Wei Wei demonstrate the constant change in cultural values in the context of an interconnected world. On the other hand, Zhang Huan and Miao Ying highlight how certain aspects of their traditions/roots persisted in spite of technological progress and foreign influence. Meanwhile, Lee Wen and Gericault De La Rose critique the generalization and exploitation of their national cultures due to globalization.
Through this exhibition, we hope to show that Asian Identity is not a specific set of values or characteristics. Rather, it is a broad term describing an infinite number of personal identities. Asian identity often correlates to, but is not determined by, ethnic or national identity. All of the artists have in common that they are of Asian descent, yet the range of concepts and themes through which they explore identity could not be more diverse.