Alicia Ehni and Kyle Lopez, “Conversations | Jiaoyang Li and Ziyang Wu On Video Game Art”
, New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), Immigrant Artists Program, October 22
Link to the full interview: https://www.nyfa.org/conversations/video-game-art
(NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship Panelist ’20) works in installation, performance, interactive media, and digital video.
Excerpt from the interview:
NYFA: What sorts of connections do you see between video games and your digital video installation works?
I think there are many connections between my works and video games, including world-building (using software such as Maya and Cinema 4D), interactivity (AR and interactive video), and collaboration/working as a team, which is very different from my background as a fine art artist.
Another big connection is simulation. Heavily inspired by Homi Bhabha’s The Third Space, my project also often includes setting up a multi-layered system to trigger the collision of various conflicting or seemingly unrelated elements and topics from different social and cultural backgrounds. By appropriating video game genres like life simulation games, where the “player” coexists with an ever-changing artificial system, I was able to explore the complexity and possibility of The Third Space, with the focus on topics including “Trade War,” “Chinese Social Credit System,” “Filter Bubble,” and “Algorithm Bias.”
Here’s a link to a feature
on It’s Nice That, where I talked about my project A Woman with the Technology that involved using AI simulations to examine the “Filter Bubble” phenomenon.
NYFA: What have you learned about creating experiential art through your work? Do you have any tips for other artists?
Theoretically, all arts are experiential, from looking at a painting or participating in an activist event, to watching a film and playing video games.
My works often start from an event, a moment, an emotion, or stimulation that I have strong feelings about. I will then start my research, including studying the related philosophy and history, collecting archives and data, and finding the most appropriate medium to realize the project, which often includes learning a new technique or collaborating with professionals in the related field. So, one thing I have learned after experimenting with a variety of mediums—including video, AR, motion capture performance, AI simulation, and interactive video installation—is that it is very important to examine what each medium is best at, and be able to choose the right medium to convey your concept in the most successful and efficient way.
When we utilize a particular medium, we already have a long history in its own field that serves as the context of experiencing the work, which could be taken advantage of and/or be used to challenge and subvert. For example, as a response to the current time where many exhibitions were trying to recreate an IRL experience on their own websites (and stay only on their own websites), I posted my most recent work Where Did Macy Go
(an 11-episode animated video) on both TikTok and IGTV, as well as a series of AR pieces on the Instagram Effect Gallery, to take advantage of what an online exhibition is best at: sharing and redistributing.
About Ziyang Wu
(b.1990, Xuzhou, China) is an artist based in New York. With an MFA degree from the Rhode Island School of Design, his animated video, AR, AI simulation, and video installation have exhibited internationally including at solo exhibitions at Annka Kultys Gallery, London; Nancy Margolis Gallery, New York; and CO2 Gallery, Florence; and group exhibitions at Medici Palace, Florence; Milan Design Week; Today Art Museum, Beijing; Times Art Museum, Beijing; Artron Art Center, Shenzhen; Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Philadelphia; Powerlong Museum, Shanghai; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Rochester Art Center, Minnesota; Academy Art Museum, Maryland; and Microscope Gallery, New York. His recent fellowships and residencies include MacDowell; Residency Unlimited; Institute for Electronic Arts, Alfred University; Art(ists) on the Verge Fellowship, Northern Lights.mn; and the AICAD Teaching Fellowship. He currently teaches at the School of Visual Arts and is a member of NEW INC, New Museum.
– Interview Conducted by Alicia Ehni, Program Officer and Kyle Lopez, REDC Fellow
This post is part of the ConEdison Immigrant Artist Program Newsletter #133. Subscribe to this free monthly e-mail for artist’s features, opportunities, and events.
Learn more about NYFA Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program