Zexin Li: The Awakener

Zexin Li
The Awakener
MFA Digital Art Thesis Exhibition


Zexin Li is a young Chinese digital artist who is currently living in New York, pursuing her MFA at Pratt Institute. She received a Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in Digital Media when she was in Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunication. Now as an interactive artist at Pratt, she is seeking her own approach using interactive technology to combine art and technology.


The Awakener is an interactive installation which includes projections of poses from thetraditional Chinese Peking Opera. The goal of the project is to transform the physical theatre experience into a virtual one that provides a digital bridge between past art and future technology. When I was young, I became interested in Peking Opera. As a quintessential Chinese art form, Peking Opera is a comprehensive performing art, which combines singing, dancing, music and literature, and acrobatics in one. It is a key representation of ancient Chinese culture. Peking Opera has various kinds of facial masks and involves exaggerated styles of performance. However, some aesthetic values in Peking Opera have been lost during the past 200 years and these values are facing a crisis of being sunk in sleep. Since I was very young, I began to perform Peking Opera as an amateur performer. After I came to New York, I continued to perform on stage and now my audiences became much more diverse. I love the stage. Therefore, I want to wake up the sleeping beauty and bring people to experience the sleeping beauty of Peking Opera virtually while arousing our aesthetic cognition of traditional Chinese culture. I really hope this traditional art form can be preserved with modern technology.

Opening Reception: Monday, November 18,  5 – 8 PM
On View: November 18 – November 22, 2013
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Thursday 10 AM – 8 PM
Friday 10 AM – 5 PM

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