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Mediation in the Digital Age: Emotion, Memories, and Values


Video still of What the Heart Wants, 2016. Image courtesy of Cécile B. Evans.


Digital photo cameras, camcorders, multimedia computers, and digital storage are rapidly replacing analogue equipment, inevitably changing our everyday routines, memories, experience, and relationships. Meanwhile, with the rise of artificial intelligence, social web, and gaming, the process of adopting newly invented personae is nothing unusual in popular culture and daily life. Mediation in the Digital Age: Emotion, Memories, and Values is an online collection that features artworks reacting to the current digital landscape. It is a chance for audiences to discover leading video artists that use pop culture to amplify the ideological transformation in the 21st Century and speculate on potential future states. One of the works selected here is What the Heart Wants (2016) by Cécile B. Evans, who explored the person-to-machine exchanges that have come to define the contemporary human condition. American artist Yung Jake made a music video - Unfollow (2014) to show a man haunted by the shadows of a former relationship on social media. In the high-definition video work - Warm, Warm, Warm Spring Mouths (2013), Ed Atkins explored the material qualities of the digital moving image and addressed issues of narcissism, intimacy, and love. The film - Life Imitation (2017) by Chen Zhou parallels real life with a virtual game, depicting how young people deal with the ubiquitous screens, new technology, and hypermediated world.

Video still of Unfollow, 2014. Image courtesy of Yung Jake.


This collection displays the contemporary art scene (2011-2017) that artists from different countries use videos to question and provoke ideas in which digital media shape acts of our memory, emotive process, and values. Music and language are common threads weaving all ten works in the collection together, as artists use them as tools to rewrite traditional narratives around technology, politics, scientific history, and sexuality. The original works currently belong to different art institutions and artists.

Video still of Warm, Warm, Warm Spring Mouths, 2013. Image courtesy of Ed Atkins.


I decided to compile this collection because “Mediation in the Digital Age” was the theme that interested me a lot when I was a practicing artist. To contextualize my work, I paired my practice with research in theories and explored creativity under this topic by online searching and viewing various kinds of exhibitions on sites. I also have a hobby of collecting exhibition booklets and artists’ websites. The online collection - Mediation in the Digital Age: Emotion, Memories, and Values is an opportunity to show the most representative works that touched on this subject matter I previously discovered. Below are links to several major exhibitions that surveyed related topics to this collection.