We live in a world that operates on bits and bytes. Reality has become synthetic, a convergence of the material and the immaterial. The synthetic power of new media art--integrative, interdisciplinary, interactive--expresses the blurred boundary between the physical and the digital. Synthetic Times collects new media art created since 2001 by artists and art collectives from nearly thirty countries. These innovative and groundbreaking works investigate how we perceive reality and what it means to be human on the threshold of human-machine symbiosis. The artworks in Synthetic Times (which accompanies a milestone exhibition at the National Art Museum in China, an Olympics Cultural Project) explore a trajectory of uncanny visions ranging from the desire to transcend the corporal to the construction of synthetic worlds; from telematic dreaming to transgenic hybrids; from whimsical apparatuses to the deadpan gaze of magnetic fields. They reveal the tension between man and machine, between the animated and the inert, rekindling a discourse about relationships between nature and culture, the perceived and the imagined. Essays by leading new media theorists accompany the artworks, and an appendix documents additional programs held in conjunction with the exhibition. Essays Jordan Crandall, Oliver Grau, Erkii Huhtamo, Caroline A. Jones, Friedrich Kittler, Arthur Kroker, Mike Stubbs, Peter Weibel, Zhang GaArtists1000 Cell Phones Team, AL and AL, Blendid, Jean-Michel Bruyère, Rejane Cantoni, Aristarkh Chernyshev, Convergeo + Media and Design Lab, Luvc Courchesne, Du Zhenjun, etoy, exonemo, f18 institute, Paula Gaetano Adi, Usman Haque, Edwin van der Heide, Kurt Hentschläger, Mateusz Herczka, Christoph Hillebrand, Daniel Palacios Jiménez, Kichul Kim, Knowbotic Research, Daniela Kutschat Hanns, Paul Lincoln, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Chico MacMurtrie, Eva and Franco Mattes, Anthony McCall, Henrik Menné, Miao Xiaochun, Yves Netzhammer, Marnix de Nijs, Magdalena Pederin, David Rokeby, Mariana Rondon, Bengt Sjölén, Adam Somlai-Fischer, Stelarc, Sissel Tolaas, Transmute Collective, Tsai Wen-Ying, VERDENSTEATRET, Marek Walczak, Martin Wattenberg, Herwig Weiser, Wu Juehui, Xu Bing, Xu Zhongmin
About the Editors
Fan Di'an is Director of the National Art Museum of China.
Zhang Ga is a media artist and independent curator. He is the artistic director and curator of the exhibition this book accompanies.