Xiang: Chinese Aesthetics

by Siying Duan
edited by JoAnn Nguyen

Since the culture reform in the early 20th century, western culture, including western art forms, has exerted a great impact on Chinese culture and art. But at the same time, many traditional Chinese aesthetic concepts, with related philosophical ideas, have also inspired many 20th century western philosophers and artists. What Duan has been interested in particular, is the resonance between the embodied, dynamic, relational and non-dualistic features of Chinese art and characteristics of contemporary media art practices.

Siying Duan is currently conducting her doctoral research over new media installation and comparative aesthetics at Shanghai University. During her research, she developed an interest in the particular subject of contemporary Chinese new media art.

In her new podcast channel featured on Creative Disturbance, Siying talks with Chinese artists who are experimenting with all kinds of interesting media to share their artwork, feelings and motivations, working methods, reactions to the contemporary world with these works, and how they relate themselves to traditional modes of thinking.

Not only does this podcast discuss Chinese media art, it also goes into depth about communication between Chinese aesthetic thinking and current new media art studies, and how these ideas could shed a new light on the reading of contemporary artwork.

Duan chose to name the podcast “象(Xiang)”, based on the idea of traditional Chinese aesthetics. The name has two meanings: “elephant” and “image” and is explained more in depth in the introduction podcast. It is an important concept that means an aesthetic object present or absent, creates an effect that transcends the barrier between viewer and artwork, subject and object.

Artists from other countries who are interested in Chinese aesthetics would also be invited later to talk on the channel, but for now, Chinese is the preferred major language used in this channel. A short introduction of the artist and important content of the will be written in English under each podcast.

Note from Siying Duan

I hope this podcast can be of help to anyone who interested in contemporary media art, Chinese art practice, comparative aesthetics. And if anyone would like to learn more about the guests, ideas or topics introduced in the podcast, they are very welcome to contact me at duansiying@gmail.com.