Visual Culture in a Diasporic World, The Desire to Know and Understand Visual Forms from China

Dr Justine Poplin2

2Victoria University, Melbourne , Australia

The digital age is referred to as a culture of convergence, involving the remixing, re-mashing and re-creation of user-generated content. These perspectives are developed from a paradigm that combines cultural, political and economic factors that enable a deeper analysis in this multimodal, cross-cultural epoch of global fluidity. For this reason, the study identifies symbolism as a tool that reflects culture and meaning transculturally. Globally, there is a growing desire and interest by galleries and curators to exhibit contemporary art from China. Thus, research examining the Australian interest in contemporary Chinese visual culture is a rich area for exploration. The paper will focus on works by artists such as Miao Ying and Lu Yang shown in Australia, that are in some way linked to online culture either in the conception/idea generation or use of online born symbolism. Moreover, the curatorial themes represented in Australia are either on the whole ‘subversive’ or ‘traditional’, the former provocative and thus, indicative of China’s rapid social change, building an audience based on curatorial themes that highlight China’s ideological shifts.  Through a synthesis of multi-modal analysis; digital ethnography, and compositional interpretation the paper seeks to give interpretation of relevant transcultural visual forms from China.


Justine Poplin is an artist and academic with research interests in Visual Culture and new visual phenomena. Her ongoing research examines transcultural symbolism and the new epoch in online & offline representations in the Digital Age on which she has published and presented in Australia and China.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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