Xiying Yang, Honglei Li, He Li: Shadow Play: Tales Of Urbanization

  • ©, Xiying Yang, Honglei Li, and He Li

  • ©, Xiying Yang, Honglei Li, and He Li



    Shadow Play: Tales Of Urbanization



Artist Statement:


    Shadow Play explores and reflects upon the process of urbanization in China. Integrating traditional art mediums such as painting and Chinese shadow play motifs with emerging technologies including VR and AR, the work portrays life during a monumental societal transformation.


    Over the past few decades, China has been undergoing urbanization at an astounding pace. In 2013, the national leadership raised the process to a new gear when it unveiled its plan of converting 70 percent of the population to a city- oriented lifestyle by 2025. Such a significant change would undoubtedly transform the character of a country that has been largely agrarian throughout its millennia of history. One may wonder how, and to what extent, the landscape, culture and the daily being of the nation’s people may be altered. As artists, we are compelled to explore and reflect upon the various phases of this historic undertaking while questioning how people are positioned during this monumental social transformation. Through fieldwork in China, we collect the ingredients necessary for a multimedia production that combines traditional artistic expressions with emerging technologies. Weaving three interfaces, namely virtual reality (VR) in cyberspace, a series of painting on canvases and traditional shadow play imagery, the multimedia art project visualizes the metamorphosis that results from the urbanization process. With a retrospective into the past through time-honored imagery and a reflection of the present through immersion in the realities of the modern China, we seek to present stories of everyday people to the conscience of a worldwide audience.