SPARKS June 2022

Rediscovering and Reimagining Culture: Digital Art Practice in Asia

Moderated by Rebecca Ruige Xu and Yoon Chung Han

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New York, USA — Thu, Jun 23, 2022 at 9:00 pm EDT
Chicago, USA — Thu, Jun 23, 2022 at 8:00 pm CDT
Denver, USA — Thu, Jun 23, 2022 at 7:00 pm MDT
Los Angeles, USA — Thu, Jun 23, 2022 at 6:00 pm PDT
Beijing, China — Fri, Jun 24, 2022 at 9:00 am CST
Tokyo, Japan — Fri, Jun 24, 2022 at 10:00 am JST
Seoul, South Korea — Fri, Jun 24, 2022 at 10:00 am KST
Sydney, Australia — Fri, Jun 24, 2022 at 11:00 am AEST
Time adjusted for Asian audiences (one event multiple time zones)


As we are increasingly seeing ourselves and the world through a digital lens, various forms of digital media and technology have influenced and altered our cultural practice globally, contributing to the mass of human creativity across art, culture, and heritage. This SPARKS invites new forms of digital representation that intend to shift our perception and interpretation of the humanities/culture in an Asian context, aiming to provide new insights into how art, history, and culture can be presented in innovative ways in the digital world in Asia.


Gil Kuno
Unsound Explorations

GIL KUNO’s work is often reminiscent of the organic and social processes that surround us; yet they exceed the familiarity we often associate them with. Flung and displaced from context, natural activity is stretched into metaphorical absurdity with a sense of whimsical play.

From breathing intestines, to masturbating installations, oversized antfarms, silent DJ events, and one string guitar orchestras, Gil Kuno constantly subverts our engagement with the perceptions of reality.

Sihwa Park
Interactive Audiovisual Software Art for Cross-Modal Experience and Representation

My core research interest lies in interactive audiovisual software art with two directions. First, I explore the possibilities of computational algorithms and emerging technologies in designing novel audiovisual interfaces to augment cross-modal sensory experiences and collaborative interactions. Second, I research expressive approaches that use data as an art material to drive audiovisual content generation based on data visualization and sonification as well as computational algorithms used in computer graphics and machine learning. My data art practice aims to reflect how we see ourselves through our data and depict the relationship between humans and machines that affect us based on data and algorithms. In this talk, I will present my interactive audiovisual interfaces and data-driven audiovisual artworks.

Chen Wang, Jonathan Stalling
English Jueju

JUEJU is a short poetry genre popular in the Tang Dynasty in China. “JUE” means short and simplified. Its poetic narrative also reflects the eastern value of the unity between nature and man and the importance of exploring the essence of things. The ENGLISH JUEJU project uses the four Chinese homophones of JUE (觉, 掘, 绝, 决) to interpret JUEJU ‘s 4-step methodology and switch from 绝句 to 觉句 with the purpose of awakening one’s spiritual awareness in modern contexts.

The project consists of two parts. The first part introduces JUEJU’s phonology, intonation, rhythm, philosophy and methodology to westerners in the United States. It also uses auditory and visual teaching methods to help students understand and apply JUEJU’s methodology, adopt JUEJU’s syntax and phonology metric, and use the English language to implement the JUEJU style of poetry. The second part attempts to break down the boundaries between languages and disciplines, using digital technologies, programming languages, and algorithms to explore poetic expression in the form of humanistic exploration.

Yifang Wang
Explore Mindfulness without Deflection: A Data Art Based on the Book of Songs

The Book of Songs is regarded as the origin of Chinese literature and has a prolonged impact on Chinese culture, aesthetics, and morality. In this talk, we will share how we analyze the 305 poems in The Book of Songs from different dimensions. We aim to learn how various poetic imageries connect abstract themes and subjective emotions at the micro level, and how the poems connect people today and ancestors to understand the universal, everlasting, and poetical human lives at the macro level.

Congcong KANG
A Cost-limit Means to Create Explorable 3D Digitized Site of Chinese Culture

This project tries to explore a more cost-limited yet digital affordance amplified means for the preservation of chinese cultural relics by using the combination of game engines and scanning technology. I choose the symbol of Taichi, which is  visually and symbolically strong and represents the Chinese culture that values the harmonization of Yin and Yang, and that it is.

I made digital copies of a scannable Taichi Altar in Hangzhou through photographic means.Then I used Reality Capture, a tool that helps to convert ultra-high precision 3D photographs, together with Unreal Engine 5, to create explorable virtual environments based on the digital preservation exploration above. I created and re-modelled it through UE engine, adding interactive elements to turn it into explorable digital scenes of Bagua Formation(八卦阵).The subsequent plan is to use it as a meta-universe event venue, or even turn it into a digital game later.

Qiansheng Li
Digital Art Project of Murals in Shigatse Region

In 2021, we received an invitation from Shanghai Xuhui Art Museum to jointly produce digital art project for the “13-15th Century Shigatse Mural Art Special Exhibition”, which will be exhibited in Shanghai in October, hoping to re-perform ancient murals in the form of digital art . After that, we formed a work team to create a series of works around Tibetan murals and related culture. In these works, we used a variety of digital creation methods such as interactive installations, immersive environments, hand-painted animations, etc., and created a different digital art space for the mural exhibition on the second floor of the museum.

Weidi Zhang
Reimagining cultural artifacts in immersive media

The talk describes two VR experiences that deconstruct and reconstruct cultural artifacts as interactive art experiences, using autobiographical threads to create universal feelings. It will focus primarily on two VR artworks: Fantastic Shredder and Borrow Scenery. Fantastic Shredder is an interactive Virtual Reality experience that deconstructs Chinese 1980s posters under the mechanism of a paper shredder. Borrowed Scenery is a virtual reality experience that constructs an autobiographical spatial narrative through the visualization of image data that highlights the deconstruction and reconstruction of cultural identity. Both artworks transform image data into an ever-expanding territory that invites participants to explore with empathy. Additionally, they demonstrate a novel approach to image-based storytelling in immersive media.

Juanjuan Long
Data-driven Interactive Narrative Visualization

This talk will explore how data drives interactive narrative visualization from an artistic and design perspective. I will share the creative process and method through the work of Flowing Boundary. This project is based on data facts and uses artistic means to reflect the extent to which China is affected by Covid-19 from different perspectives. The difficulty of this project is to strike a balance between aesthetics and facts, sensibility and rationality, interactivity and narrative. Through interactive web pages, we integrated the media of motion graphic, video, and sound effects in an attempt to present a data narrative experience that can emotionally resonate with the audience.

Sandra Tavali
“Ban-shan” from Taiwanese temple fair to Fixed Media (Computer Generated Sound)to Live Performance

In order to draw out the scene of the temple fair in Taiwan, in which “Ba Jia Jiang” mediums dance in martial troupes with firecrackers and Taiwanese gongs sounding, a version of 5.1-surround sound was designed for this work.

Drum samples processed in multiple layers represent the different spaces/worlds that the young medium dreamed. The different spaces sometimes stretch over each other, sometimes stand up indivisible, and sometimes exist independently. Besides the sound samples of drums processed into varied transforms , a sampled Taiwanese Hand Gong was also played through multiple effects. In the traditional legend, people believe the sound of the Taiwanese Hand Gong leads the human spirit and ghosts.

The composer, who grew up in the temple area in Tainan City (Taiwan), hopes the 5.1 surround sound version of Ban Shan will invoke the charming fever from the traditional festival in her hometown to share with the world.

C.J. Yeh
Is Web 3.0 The Great Equalizer for Asian Digital Artists?

The next phase in the evolution of the internet has promised a disruptive paradigm shift that built upon the core concepts of decentralization (trust-less), openness (permission-less), and greater user utility. While recent media headlines are filled with technology-centric buzzwords such as Metaverse and NFT, does web3 represents an opportunity for Asian digital artists to finally overcome the issue of visibility?

C.J. Yeh is a Taiwanese conceptual artist who communicates through a wide range of media ranging from painting to coding. The juxtaposition of digital and analog, virtual and actual, natural and cultural, articulates his point of view on the changing perception of identity and reality in the digital era. Yeh is a tenured professor at SUNY FIT. This presentation is a distillation of his thoughts on the potential for a new type of “art as experience” in the Metaverse, and Yeh will share a sneak peek of a virtual multi-sensory museum that he is developing.


Rebecca Ruige Xu – Syracuse University

Rebecca Ruige Xu’s artwork and research interests include artistic data visualization, visual music, experimental animation, interactive installations, digital performance and virtual reality. Her recent work has exhibited internationally at: SIGGRAPH & SIGGRAPH Asia Art Gallery; ISEA; Ars Electronica; IEEE VIS Arts Program; Museum of Contemporary Art, Italy; Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, USA; CYNETart, Germany; International Digital Art Exhibition, China and Boston Cyberarts Festival, USA. Xu is the co-founder of China VIS Arts Program (China VISAP). Currently she is a professor in computer art and animation at Syracuse University.

Yoon Chung Han – San José State University

Yoon Chung Han is an interaction designer, multimedia artist, and researcher. Her researches include data visualization, biometric data visualization and sonification, a new interface for musical expression, and multimodal sensory user experience design. Her recent research focus was on multimodal interactions using body data, in particular on creating a personalized experience in media arts using biometric data visualization and sonification. Her works have been presented in many international exhibitions, conferences, and academic journals such as ACM SIGGRAPH, Japan media arts festival, ZKM, NIME, ISEA, IEEE VIS, ACM CHI, and Leonardo Art Journal. She holds a Ph.D. at the Media Arts and Technology, UC Santa Barbara, and currently is an Assistant Professor in Graphic Design at the Department of Design in the San Jose State University.