During the summer of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the National Art Museum of China will present SYNTHETIC TIMES – Media Art China 2008 in its current location at the center of Beijing . NAMOC is the only national art museum in China that is dedicated to the research, presentation and promotion of modern and contemporary arts.
SYNTHETIC TIMES – Media Art China 2008, scheduled from June 10th to July 3rd , will be one of the most important cultural events leading up to the Olympic Games in Beijing . The exhibition will occupy approximately 4500 square meters (48000 square feet) of the museum gallery space and an additional outdoor area of ca. 2000 square meters (22000 square feet).
The internationally recognized Dutch architecture firm NOX/Lars Spuybroek will architecturally transform the entire first floor of the museum in response to the nature of the works on display. A full-color catalogue will be co-published by NAMOC and the MIT Press with international distribution. An online forum dedicated to the discourse of the respective exhibition themes and beyond will be created prior to the opening of the event.
A pre-exhibition symposium has been held in New York City in collaboration with The Museum of Modern Art, Parsons the New School for Design, and EYEBEAM. Several satellite exhibition venues have been planned within the greater Beijing art community. In addition, a number of special evening events during the opening days of the exhibition are conceived to celebrate the diversity of digital arts.
The exhibition is organized around four distinctive yet interrelated themes that testify to the bittersweetness of man’s incessant and obsessive pursuit of an ideal world through artistic intervention into media and communications technologies as well as bio-cultural spheres. Works in the exhibition explore the trajectory of unruly visions from the desire to transcend the corporal to the construction of synthetic worlds, from telematic dreaming to transgenic hybrids, challenging the very notion of what we know as reality and what is perceived as being human. In this laborious yet romantic process, the tension between man and machine, the cooperation and hostility between the physical and the digital, manifest the perpetual struggle in which control and submission, exploitation and anti-manipulation are the rubricated dynamics that insinuate complex human conditions.
A selection of international artists, both established and emerging, from twenty-nine countries will present to the Chinese audience a stunning battery of significant media installation works, ranging from telematic presence to bio-cultural hybrids; from sensible machines to generative systems; from robotic interventions to audio-video spectacles; from immersive environments to monumental structures. The works on view highlight the most cutting edge artistic imaginations since the dawn of the new millennium, proposing new sensibilities for cultural artifacts. Many of the works featured will be world premieres.
To complement the theme exhibitions, The Museum of Modern Art will contribute a special screening program consisting of seminal video art works. Ars Electronica presents the award-winning Animation Festival, and the European Media Art Festival will produce an edition of International Emerging Video Art. The exhibition is envisaged as a landmark event in the history of contemporary Chinese art, dedicated to embracing the most innovative artistic production and theorization to date, and aspiring to foster and advance new modes of thinking and novel ways of artistic engagement, reflecting and critiquing an increasingly technologically immersed society and global cultural landscape.