Futurelab.Academy Workshop at China Academy of Arts 2012
The first Futurelab Academy workshop series took place at the School of Intermedia Art at the China Academy of Art, the first art school in China, as well as the leading institution in the research and education of new media art in the country. The first workshop series at the China Academy of Art was initiated by Dajuin Yao, sound artist, art historian, and Director of Open Media Lab at the Academy. Both institutions jointly developed a thematic direction for the workshop series that focuses on the interface between traditional culture and media technology.
The first workshop was led by Roland Haring, Co-Director of Research and Innovation at FutureLab. Haring gave a thorough explanation of media art production principles and intermediate programming skills for interactive art. The workshop also invited a guest speaker Lu Dadong, a young calligrapher and famous rock group leader. In this workshop, the students were given an opportunity to research on and re-think about a topic that usually falls outside their targets of new media artistic concerns – Chinese calligraphy and the writing system in general. They had to confront their own cultural heritage, as well as looking for its possibilities of extension with the help of technology and the various new media. It also stimulates the young artists to ponder on the question whether they need their own identity in the present globalization of new media art.
The following works, both direct results from the workshops, will be shown during Ars Electronica Festival as part of the Inside Futurelab exhibition: Wang Zhipeng’s “Eternity”, which turns a single Chinese character (yong, meaning “eternity”) in calligraphy form into a fractal image animation in which there is no beginning and no end. Shi Zheng and Tang Xiaodan’s “Calligraphy Mask”, where replicated masks are arranged in a matrix and function as a framework for Chinese writing. Projected Chinese characters and phrases that signify different emotions become luxuriant facial expressions flowing among the masks, injecting life into the insentient papier-mâché.