My photo in the ARTNews cover story on social media art. Image/collage by Joanie San Chirico.
My work has been featured in both print and online media, including the The New York Times, The Guardian, Art in America, LA Weekly, and others. I was also recently featured in an ARTnews cover story on social media art. That was pretty cool. Below you'll find a selection of recent press about my work:
Internet Culture and Social Change
Style Magazine (South China Morning Post). April 5, 2013.
Change of art
"A social media artwork can have collective authorship," says American artist An Xiao Mina, one of the artists involved in trying to define social media art during the Hyperallergic roundtable discussion. "This is different from having an anonymous author or no author. Although the Pepper Spray Cop meme can be identified to a couple of posts that launched the meme, the original authors haven't been identified. The merits of this activity as an art form are debatable, but it's no question to me that the collective activity was more interesting than any individual image or video."
Oyster Magazine. October 22, 2012.
Zac Bayly on Internet Superheroes
"For Oyster #101: Let's Get Digital, our Contributing Features Editor Zac Bayly writes about the superheroes of the digital age, including Chinese artist Ai Weiwei (most recently seen in a Psy tribute video) and An Xiao Mina."
The Atlantic. September 4, 2012.
Photoshopping Dissent: Circumventing China's Censors With Internet Memes
"Because of the strictures on speech in China, memes tend to be a really effective way to spread a political message," An Xiao Mina, artist, meme expert and 88 bar blogger, explained in an interview with TLN. "You can't really talk about Internet censorship directly in China, but if you talk about, say, a Grass Mud Horse [a classic insult in Chinese Web slang]--if you use off-the-cuff, remixed humor, it's a little easier to talk about such critical topics."
Harvard Nieman Journalism Lab. May 8, 2012.
Chen Guangcheng has a posse and Ai Weiwei is everywhere: Memes as dissent in China
“Obviously, it was a very scary time. I watched as his name was slowly being stamped out of the Internet,” Mina said, referring to the work of China’s invisible censors. “But soon after that I found myself laughing. It was a very dark humor.”
Fast Company. May 6, 2012.
Chinese Political Memes Skirt Censorship To Make Statements
Sociopolitical memes in China are defined by their resilience. "We use the word viral," An Xiao says: "It's viral in a very biological sense--you try squish one, it turns into a superbug and survives.
O'Reilly Radar. June 22, 2012.
The emerging political force of the network of networks:
12 talks from the 2012 Personal Democracy Forum worth watching and sharing
This beautiful and challenging talk by Mina (@anxiaostudio) offered a fascinating insight: memes are the street art of the censored web. If you want to learn more about how Chinese artists and citizens are communicating online, watch this creative, compelling presentation.
PBS MediaShift. June 14, 2012
PDF12: How Cyber-Dissidents Evade Chinese Censorship
According to An Xiao Mina, a social media artist, in order to bypass censors, people protest by using subtle memes -- visual or symbolic codes or language that censors find difficult to interpret. When the artist Ai Weiwei was imprisoned, many of his supporters used an image of sunflower seeds -- a subject used in one of his popular modern art exhibitions -- as a symbol of solidarity and dissent. An refers to a "law of meme-o-dynamics," in which great censorship calls for more urgency for a meme language.
Regards Sur Le Numérique (Microsoft France)
En Chine, le LOL pour contourner la censure
« En quoi est-ce important ? », demande An Xiao Mina. Sa réponse, c'est que les « mèmes » sont devenus un véritable mouvement culturel dans un pays où la liberté d'expression est particulièrement malmenée. Pour elle, c'est un signe d'espoir.
Christian Science Monitor. May 9, 2012.
Seeking Chen Guangcheng's freedom in China via 'Internet meme'
But the Western English-speaking world does not hold a monopoly on Internet memes; every online sphere has its own collection of memes, including China. And some memes have an added function in China's heavily censored Internet: vehicle for political critique. Design strategist and meme researcher An Xiao Mina, speaking this past weekend at ROFLcon, a convention about Internet memes at MIT in Cambridge, Mass., called them "the street art of the social web."
Social Media Art Practice
Yishu Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art. May/June 2012 (10th Anniversary Edition)
The Formative Years: Social Media and Art in China
An Xiao Mina is a major advocate for social medias both a medium and art genre. Her project on @1stfans, at a respected institution, was a major mark for explorign the role of art in social media andt he first of several social media art projects no formed in the U.S. (Please also see: Question and Answer with An Xiao Mina)
The Huffington Post. April 26, 2012.
'America Through A Chinese Lens' At Museum Of Chinese In America
In tandem with the exhibition, there is a Tumblr featuring the work of An Xiao, a Chinese-American photographer with a great eye for catching beautiful moments in Los Angeles. Today she wrote, "Heading north on the 5, still in Los Angeles County. I swear I see a section of the Great Wall in the distance..." Through her eyes, we believe it.
Time Out New York. April 18, 2012.
Critics' Pick: "America Through a Chinese Lens"
This exhibit, focused on the snapshots of Chinese and Chinese-American photographers, collects work from the 1950s to present day. You can follow along online as artist An Xiao posts photos from her ongoing U.S. travels at chineseinamerica.tumblr.com.
China Daily. April 30, 2012.
Exhibition turns Chinese spotlight back on US
Kelly Chung Dawson
Mina, who updates the online portion of the exhibition daily, said she was heavily influenced by a Chinese sensibility for using photography as communication. During a year spent in Beijing, she witnessed a shift toward a functional role for photography. "Everyone in China has a cellphone or a digital camera, and pictures are communication and can act in the same capacity as text," she said in an interview with China Daily.
LA Weekly. October 20, 2011.
An Xiao, Man Bartlett and Petra Cortright Make Avatars the New Self-Portraits
An Xiao, a Silver Lake....-raised emerging artist at the forefront of social media art, says online avatars "develop into a picture of my creative presence online." A ravenous social media user, Xiao maintains profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, video-hosting website Vimeo and the Chinese Twitter clone Sina Weibo, among others.
Los Angeles Times. June 15, 2011.
Culture Watch: 'Social Revolution: The Artworld on Facebook'
"Social media art involves 'seamlessly blending the online and offline worlds," in the words of L.A. artist An Xiao Mina, whose widely read series on the subject appeared last summer on the website Hyperallergic.com. The Internet offers a pair of elements that most other media don't: open-endedness and enormous scale.
Creators Project. June 8, 2011.
Creativity Bytes: A Brief Guide To Social Media Art
So, what is social media art? An emerging genre that's experimental in practice and results that makes use of social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, or whatever the social network du jour may be. An Xiao Mina, one of the medium's most well-known practitioners and advocates, tentatively used 4 rules to broadly define it: 1) the web is used for marketing, sourcing, and expressing the art. 2) The audience is involved, hence the name social, yeah? 3) The art is conceptually wealthy but open to those beyond the confines of the art world. 4) It's adaptable to other platforms, and so is all about the artist's intent.
ARTnews. June 2011.
The Social Revolution: The Art World on Facebook
An Xiao, an early adapter to Web 2.0 and the founder of @Platea, a collective of online art makers, [said,] 'I think social-media art is a new genre of art,' she says. 'It blends many different things. It blends performance art because it is people interacting socially with each other. It blends visual art because Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and the rest all rely on very visual elements. It blends net art, but it is in more of a public space than traditional net art.'
The New York Times. March 19, 2010.
Art in Review: #class
Can we talk? That seems to be an urgent art world question, partly because of an economic shakedown that sensible people — i.e., the writers of art fair news releases — keep saying is over, or never happened. But New York artists, in need of jobs or apartments or ways to pay their art school loans, are pretty sure that it did happen, and that it isn't all that over, even if the Armory Show really had an extraspecial year," writes Holland Cotter in this review of #class, organized by Jennifer Dalton and William Powhida and presented at Winkleman Gallery. He goes on to mention a few of the discussions that caught his eye: "And the writer Joanne McNeil and the artist An Xiao led a panel on the notion that the art world isn't as racially integrated as it likes to think.
The Global Times (环球时报). March 18, 2011.
Thinking inside the box
An Xiao, meanwhile, will be communicating without speaking, and by moving very little. In a piece entitled The Artist Is Kinda Present, Xiao will talk back and forth using a microblog for 15 minutes, despite the fact that she and the participant will be sitting face-to-face, just feet away from each other. "I'm drawn towards the idea of texting – Twitter, douban and microblog. Even if you're in the same room as someone, we use these social media to communicate. I want to take this experience out of context, but facing me and having a blogging conversation."
Art in America. February 16, 2010.
The Art of the Crowd
"In social media, people are primed to create," said Xiao, citing the abundance of user-made videos posted on YouTube and Facebook users' tendency to glamorize their profile photos. "People don't just want to watch or engage, they actually want to create the art. … Social media art turns into crowd-created art," said Xiao. This notion of crowd-created art-that, at some point, you have to give control to the masses-is one of the through-lines connecting the diverse projects discussed at the panel.
The New York Times. Sunday, July 5, 2009.
Where Art Meets Social Networking Sites
Jan Ellen Spiegel
Trained in philosophy, Ms. Xiao, 25, came to art through photography, writing and an interest in communication that goes back to her childhood, when she wrote letters to her grandmother in the Philippines. The letters, she said, related little moments that add up to a portrait of the writer, the way social networking does now with a series of — as she put it — 'totally inane things.'
The New York Observer. June 15, 2009.
The Deep Meaning of the Facebook Vanity URL
Out on the town recently, at cocktail parties and gallery openings, artist An Xiao has been hearing her online name, 'thatwaszen,' piercing through the din. So, last week, Ms. Xiao was interested to hear the news (on Twitter, of course) that Facebook would allow users to choose their own username and create a simplified address—also known as a 'vanity URL'—that would incorporate personal brands and common online nicknames.
The Guardian. February 23, 2009.
Art on Twitter: yes, but is it twart?
This New York conceptual artist uses Twitter as 'a scrapbook, a way to capture thoughts and share them', believing that the 140-character limit enforces 'a discipline of thought and economy of language that encourages sharp ideas". She also creates Twitter-based artworks.
NRC Handelsblad. January 1, 2009.
Tweets in Morse
Kan Twitter ook kunst maken? De snel groeiende microblogsite wordt sinds kort door het Brooklyn Museum in New York gebruikt als een platform voor kunstenaars. An Xiao is de eerste kunstenares die voor het Brooklyn Museum twittert. Haar tweets, zoals boodschappen op Twitter heten, maken deel uit van het nieuwe sociale netwerk 1stfans, waarmee het museum kunstliefhebbers aan zich probeert te binden.