[esc]aping: Mapping Digital Diasporas in Canada
This paper examines current perceptions and reception in Canada of new media art by Asian and Asian Canadian artists by looking at two projects initiated by the Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (Centre A) in 2002-2004. "Resonance" was an exhibition of video and installation art by two contemporary artists from New Delhi and presented as part of the New Forms Festival of media art in Vancouver. The theme of the festival conference, "Old and New Forms: A Post-traditional Technography of World Media Arts," discussed perceptions of what constitutes new media in developing countries. "Electronic Social Culture [esc]" was a touring exhibition of new media projects by emerging Canadian artists of Asian descent co-presented by Centre A in Vancouver and SAVAC (South Asian Visual Artists' Collective) in Toronto. Calling attention to the stereotypical representation of Asians in popular culture, the [esc] paradigm was effective in exploring how electronic media abets as well as hinders the re-conceptualization of diasporic identity on several platforms. Both these projects underscore the critical need for new media art histories to take into account transcultural perspectives as a relevant field of inquiry not only in theory but in practice.