China Up Close was an expansive program that explored Chinese moving image art, film and culture. It sought to deepen Australian audiences’ understandings of Chinese cultural practice, highlighting its symbiotic relationship with the rapid and powerful changes in Chinese culture and society. The goal of China Up Close was to increase understandings in Australia of key movements, makers and themes in Chinese screen-based art and film, looking at the social, historical and aesthetic context for screen-based work. The distinction between contemporary mainland Chinese artists, diasporic Chinese and local Chinese-Australian artists had never been fully explored in the Australian art and film worlds, and this was also an important area of focus for the China Up Close program.
At the nucleus of China Up Close was a free exhibition presenting the elaborate films and film installations of celebrated Shanghai-based artist Yang Fudong. This exhibition was the first major institutional survey of the artist’s work in Australia. It was supported by a major film program as well as dynamic public events, including an interdisciplinary symposium. The symposium focused on the extraordinary development of contemporary moving image art and cinema in the opening up of contemporary China. Also featured were a number of Youth Programs, Lunar New Year family activities and a significant online digital presence.
Between the Screens was the online aspect of China Up Close. It was designed to experiment with new ways of engaging and creating material with online audiences whilst attempting to alter the default relationship from user to creator. Its goal was to engage directly with Chinese-speaking audiences and develop an interactive model that was as easy to use for Chinese-speakers as it was for English-speakers.
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