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Learning area: The Arts
Year level: Year 10, Year 9
Country: Australia, China, India, Vietnam

This learning sequence explores media arts collaboration between Australia and the Asia region with a specific focus on ‪Kush Badhwar‬ and ‪Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad‬. Students are provided the opportunity to study media art as a contemporary, interactive art genre that uses multiple tools such as video, sound, photography, projection, installation, virtual reality environments and web-based art to explore world views – political, cultural and aesthetic. Students will devise, design and create a site-specific media artwork that connects with their local community.

Key inquiry questions

  • What is media art?
  • What are the tools and themes of a range of new media artists from Australia and Asia, including ‪Kush Badhwar‬ and ‪Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad‬, Asialink residency recipients from Australia and India?
  • How do you approach the creation of a site-specific media artwork for a community?
A portrait of artist Ai Wei Wei painted on a brick wallA portrait of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei


Related resources

Activity 1: New media art

In this activity, you will:

  • investigate what is meant by new media art
  • explore some of the key artists and examples of new media artworks from Australia and the Asia region.

Key inquiry question: What is media art?

  1. Read the notes below about the influences and practices of media artists.
  2. Consider and discuss 'What is new media art?'
  3. Access the internet, either individually or as a class. Explore the website of Japanese artist ‪‪‪‪‪‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬Ryoji Ikeda. Examine his work ‪‪‪‬‬spectra and ‪‪‪‪‪‬‬‬‬data.matrix or view the video, Ryoji Ikeda: The Transfinite.
  4. Ask yourself the question: what is the artist communicating? Write down what you think the artwork is about. Share your response with a partner or the class.
  5. Review the notes and videos of the work of Bill Viola, Vuk Cosic, Ai Weiwei and Jun Nguyen-Hatsushib and provide a response to what you think their artworks are about.
  6. Start a new media art journal/virtual gallery/webquest and enter into it a collection of artists from the Asia region, their artworks and information about each.
  7. Begin a historical study of where new media art originated. Find out when, where and who was responsible for its development. In particular look at Surrealist, Dada, Op art and Pop art artists. Add this information to your study.
  8. Investigate who are the Australian artists who work in this medium. Look at the finalists of art competitions for new media such as ‪‬‬‬‬‬‬National New Media Awards‪‪‪‪‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬Queensland Art Gallery.
  9. Work in a small group or with a partner and devise your own answer to the question: what is new media art? Provide an overview of its history, the tools artists use and the main topics that their works deal with. Share your collective ideas with the class.

The influences and practices of media artists

What is media art?

Media art is a term used to describe projects and artworks that use media technologies, including video, photography, light and sound, experimental films, interactive installations, virtual reality environments and web-based art. It is about new art forms, emerging technologies and commentary on social and political issues. Since the 1970s, various labels emerged to describe new artistic expressions, particularly those that explore the conceptual, ephemeral, virtual and interactive. The name New Media Art emerged in 1994 to describe art that used the latest emerging technologies. It is inclusive of works produced on or for the internet, video and computer games, wireless phones, and hand-held computers. For this learning sequence it will be viewed as a sub-set of the broader term 'media art'.

Media art rejected traditional art forms, but its roots were established through the influences of historical art movements, for example Surrealism, Dadaism, Conceptual art, Op and Pop art, and early performance art. Media art often adapts ready-made or ordinary objects, performance, commercial and cartoon culture, and music/sound and light into artworks which explore political action and social issues. Tools like the portable video camera and the internet liberated artists, allowing them to discover new practices and ways of communicating.

Leading the way

The artists featured here are leading exponents of new media, exploiting emerging technologies for their conceptual explorations in a global environment.

Media art characteristics

In essence media art is complex and not a homogeneous set of practices for each artist and their artworks. However, certain elements can be noted. It is characterised by:

  1. political, social and cultural activism
  2. the use of emerging technologies and electronic and virtual media
  3. collaboration and partnerships with other artists – cross-cultural
  4. the use of public spaces, interactions and interventions in and for community.

Activity 2: Creating a gallery

In this activity you will:

  • investigate the work of a range of artists from Asia and Australia, including Asialink residency recipients ‪‪Kush Badhwar and Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad
  • ‬develop a small virtual gallery of the artists and their artworks from the countries of Asia and Australia using the theme of 'cultural identity'.

Key inquiry question: What are the tools and themes of a range of new media artists from Australia and Asia, including ‪‪Kush Badhwar and Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad‬, Asialink residency recipients from Australia and India?

Cultural identity through art

  1. Discuss as a group how ‪‪Kush Badhwar and Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad‬ explored the concept of cultural identity and public spaces in the video,Seamless.
  2. Consider the questions and make notes during this discussion as these will be used when creating your virtual gallery.
    • How did Kush and Bahbak's Asialink residency shape their artworks?
    • What tools did these artists use and how were they used?
  3. Form small groups of four and create a virtual gallery of media artists whose artworks explore cultural identity.
  4. Each group member will select one or two countries from the Asia region they will investigate and find new media artists whose work addresses cultural identity.
  5. Explore the Asialink website to find Australian artists who have received residency grants.
  6. Each group should combine their research and have resources for six artists (four from the Asia region and two from Australia).
  7. Investigate gallery websites such as:
  8. Also explore these websites for information about artists:
  9. As a group, plan and create a virtual gallery that presents your selected theme. Explain why each artist has been included, add any other information and an image/video for an example of their artworks.
  10. Arrange the artworks in an order that will have an impact on your audience. As an alternative, you can develop an interactive poster presentation using ‪‪Glogster.
  11. Once they are completed, share your virtual galleries with the rest of the class.
  12. Analyse the effectiveness of the gallery presentation and discuss ways of improving the look of the galleries.


Image: Courtesy of ‪Kush Badhwar and Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad‬
Video: ‪‪‬‬‬‬Seamless – Courtesy of Kush Badhwar and Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad‬

Activity 3: Creating a new media artwork

In this activity you:

  • create a new group media artwork that responds to your community or an environment within your community
  • work collaboratively to design and create an installation using available technologies.

Key inquiry question: How do you approach the creation of a site-specific media artwork for a community?

  1. Examine the work of the Cybermohalla and the Sa Sa Art projects by reading the notes below and reviewing the images and videos on the right.
  2. Discuss how new media art can support the community. Using your research of new media and artist and artworks, consider how you would develop an artwork in this area that responds to your community, or environment within your community.
  3. Move back into the groups you formed for Activity 2. In your group decide on a theme/concept for your project:
    • Canvas the views of your community and find out the issues they are concerned about.
    • Explore ideas within your group, and perspectives of how to approach the artwork.
    • Search for a site to install your work and measure the dimensions and contours of the land.
    • Take photos of the environment prior to any of the work starting.
  4. Assess the skills of your group and divide the work so that:
    • Each person is responsible for a section of the artwork.
    • Nominate a name for your group. Identify your audience in your community.
    • Assess the project for materials needed, budget and time. Select the process and ideas that your group agrees to use.
    • Share your ideas with the rest of the class and ask for feedback so you can consider modifications before commencing the work.
  5. Design and construct a new media artwork for your local community (classroom/school/neighbourhood). You will be presenting your ideas to members of the local community so document your process; include a rationale, a diagram, examples of any sounds or other relevant content; and suggest the time and place of the presentation. Select someone from your group to take photos or video the event. Interview members of your group during the process so that you can document their thoughts and ideas. Interview members of your community and document their reactions.
  6. Use these notes to create a catalogue describing your media artworks and the purpose of their creation.
  7. Create a community art space in consultation with members of your local community. These may range from council members to community groups. Install your new media artworks. Make sure you have permission to access the art space and use safe practices and materials. Develop a plan for the disassembling of the artwork.
  8. Invite evaluation and response from the community and your class. Ask people to write on a blog about their reaction to your work. Or upload the process and artwork to YouTube and invite friends to view and 'like' it.

Activity 4: Reflection

To conclude this learning sequence you will develop a class blog to record the responses to the new media artworks. Include the reactions of the community and the other students:

  • Upload the documentation of the process.
  • Discuss the effectiveness of the artworks to represent the concepts/themes and how they connected with community issues.
  • Consider if the artwork communicated its intended meaning and engaged the audience.
  • As a reflection, include your own response to the creative process and assess how well your group worked to develop the one idea.
  • Discuss which tools and technologies were the most effective.

This learning sequence provides teachers with the opportunity to discuss with students the landscape of new media artists and artworks in Asia and their relationship to Australia. The stimulus resources will allow students to gain knowledge of the diversity of new media and its use by artists in different countries to connect with their audience.

In such a broad and complex genre, the artworks represent the artists' intentions to promote social awareness and political activism. In the main they use and combine available and emerging technologies to capture attention and create a unique perspective reflective of the times and its issues.

New media art is a global phenomenon within visual arts and embraces both narrative and non-narrative themes. This learning sequence provides an opportunity to start students in their explorations of this ongoing and evolving art form.

Activity 1: New media art

Prior to starting this activity it would be worthwhile creating a wallchart of key words and terms to scaffold learning activities. Include these terms and key words:

  • collaboration, performance art, curation, sonic compositions, collage, juxtapositions, video projections, installations, monuments, industrialisations, identity, digital art, cyber art,, moving image, music video, interactive, multimedia, virtual reality, web-based art, game art, software art, globalisation, internet, sensibilities, networking surveillance, audio memory, public spaces, interventions, participatory or community art works, computer-based projected images, interactions between artists, audiences and public spaces.

Explain to your students that new media art is an art form of the globalised, networked world and it frequently integrates the tools of social media as part of its tool kit for expression. The internet is a key tool in this genre and clearly able to reveal a large spectrum of examples. Encourage students to use technology tools which they are familiar with and may already use; for example, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. Emphasise that this must be done in a considered and socially responsible manner.

Activity 2: Creating a gallery

In this activity students will begin to explore new media arts works by looking at the works of ‪Kush Badhwar and Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad‬, recipients of Asialink residencies. Emphasise the role played by cultural connections and the ability to work with artists in the Asia region.

Prior to working on their virtual galleries, discuss what is meant by the term 'cultural identity' and how it can be displayed in artworks.

Students will need access to computers to research and create their virtual galleries.

Activity 3: Creating new media artwork

This activity can focus on the development of a school community media artwork or one that reflects the wider community beyond the school.

It will be important to canvas local community officials if the latter artwork is going to be created and exhibited.

Activity 4: Reflection

This activity provides an opportunity for students to receive feedback about the community media artwork they have created. They will also personally reflect on their making process.

Useful websites

It is recommended that teachers preview websites to ensure they are suitable for their students prior to use in class. Content accessed via these links is not owned or controlled by the Asia Education Foundation and is subject to the terms of use of the associated website.

The full resource can not be displayed on a mobile device.

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