Deep, Blue, Chinese

The organizers of Code:Blue, the 3rd Beijing International New Media Art Exhibition & Symposium, have given themselves a pretty big challenge. Opening this weekend, Code Blue 'attempts to symbolically establish a relationship between China’s once ocean-minded past and her active engagement and rigorous interaction with current global influences, both economically and culturally.' The official description of the program reads like a treatise on the history of China's maritime culture and its ongoing contributions to global development. In collaboration with major new media partners V2, ZKM, Ars Electronica. Transmediale, Art Center NABI, and Groupe Molior, the organizers will present a series of academic papers, complemented by an exhibition of new media art works on these themes. The show includes many very compelling works, some of which can be seen online and others of which will be exported (via shipping container) to San Jose, CA's ISEA06, in keeping with their Pacific Rim programming channel. Overall, the impression given by Code Blue is one of a very healthy country bearing often overlooked fruits. Among the symposium's presuppositions is one that a post-Web 2.0 cultures are defined less by the production of objects than by the attention economy. One thing's for certain: It's time to pay more attention to China. - Irene Wu