A STUDY OF ART/ SCIENCE COLLABORATION IN CHINA AND HONG KONG

Coordinator: Annie Wan

Scientific inventions of Ancient China are immensely important to our global culture and everyday life, while traditional artworks (paintings and sculptures) possess a long history in China. In this time of economic boom in China, science finally meets arts in various ways, such as usage of fireworks and gunpowder in Cai Guo Qiang’s works, interactive art by Feng Mengbo, etc. This paper describes the historical background of Chinese art/ science collaboration. In addition, it outlines the current development of art/ science collaboration in China, analyzes differences and similarities between practices in China and that in Western countries. It also investigates their definitions of technologically-assisted art and potential problems in art/ science collaboration. Lastly, it foresees how to extend the boundaries of current art/ science collaboration practice, suggests both possible conceptual and technological developments to artists/ engineers and academia.

SUGGESTED ACTIONS

For Educators and Academic Administrators

  1. Support collaborations among scientists, artists, designers and also experts from the industries. More and more art/ science and media arts labs were established in recent 5 to 10 years, they are mostly linked with famous and traditional universities such as Tsinghua University and Beijing University in China. These labs focus on technologies such as augmented reality, high-end 3D animation, wearable technologies, etc. However, projects and artworks they developed are mainly based on technologies invented by western countries/ adopted by many artists before. As a ‘world factory’, China has a lot of industries, ranged from heavy industry to nanomaterial manufacturing. Artist Feng Mengbo’s Eye Chart is a great example of this kind. He collaborated with Founder Electronics Co., Ltd. and created 2 new chinese fonts. As a consequence, universities are encouraged to work with industries and work as inventors of new technologies.
  2. Allocating resources not only researches on technological development but also contextual and cultural development of technologies anticipated. Most of the labs focus on usage of new media technologies and development of courses that offer training on animations, virtual reality, such as Department of Digital Art and Design in Beijing University. While most of the arts/ science labs are developing new media projects, no other organizations is investigating cultural impacts of their projects and its contextual background. Hence, data, either quantitative or qualitative of these arts/ science projects should be analyzed. These researches may focus on issues of their cultural impacts, such as how these technologies affects modes of living especially in Chinese societies, etc.
  3. Work with the government funded organizations and other universities. China Art Science and Technology Institute (CASTI) is a government funded organization and it is a hub for arts/ science technological researches. Universities in China organize conferences, exhibitions and invite international artists all over the world since 1990s. But they barely work among universities or collaborate with government organizations. Universities should work with the government organizations, such as CASTI as well as other universities. Work/ interested areas of some labs in universities are overlapped, they concern about technological usages on art. Collaboration among these labs will eventually create true transdisciplinary studies of arts, design, humanities and sciences, enhance diversity in research and education.

For Government Agencies and Other Funders

  1. Scholarships and financial aid schemes for undergraduate students, graduate students, artists and scientists to study aboard.