The ephemeral body: aesthetics of the body in the new media arts of continental Southeast Asia

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  • The ephemeral body: aesthetics of the body in the new media arts of continental Southeast Asia

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Abstract:

  • Abstract

    Since the beginning of the ‘80s, new media have entered the artistic scenario of continental Southeast Asia (Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam). New concepts and technologies, ideas, styles and values from global culture have started to interact and merge with specific traditional artistic meanings and expression of local culture.

    From the very beginning of Southeast Asian civilization, the body has played a central role as a coherent and living expression of codified aesthetic, artistic and philosophic values. In visual and performing arts, use of the body and the dynamics of gesture are emblematic of the identity and transformation of socially-shared meanings. After a several decades of informal pictorial experimentation, owing to the influence of Western artistic movements (Poshyananda 1992), new media arts have given back to the body its primal role. Indeed, digital, video and performing arts – due to their specific ephemeral and transitory status – can be considered as some of the best media for representing the ‘changing body’, faithfully reflecting the dynamics of contemporary Southeast Asian metropolitan culture.