At today’s Brown Bag Series presentation, artist Joyce Yu-Jean Lee stressed the idea, “Art has power.” Her work combines artistry and activism, with past shows like “FIREWALL” bringing attention to issues of censorship and information access in China. Her most recent show, entitled “State of the DysUnion,” attempts to answer the question of how we navigate our consumption of media in the age of smartphones and instant access to information. Lee combines her background in communication studies with her passion for art to create news-focused digital media works that are both politically engaged and compassionate in the hopes of understanding opposing viewpoints in a divisive political time. Lee’s own selective consumption of media informs her artwork and has taught her that the message she presents to her viewers is as influential and important as the messages that news outlets want their viewers to absorb. Lee expresses that her time working with different projects has proven to her that art has the power to gather the attention of the masses and, in this way, can be used a vehicle to promote social activism and change.
Joyce Yu-Jean Lee is an artist working with video, interactive technology, installation, and performance to examine how visual culture shapes notions of truth and the “other.” Her project about Internet censorship, FIREWALL, exhibited at Lincoln Center in NYC and the Oslo Freedom Forum in Norway, garnering the attention of Chinese authorities. Her work has been written about in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Hyperallergic and ArtCritical. She teaches at New Jersey City University and the Fashion Institute of Technology, and also serves as a trustee for The Contemporary in Baltimore.