"Art making is a form of alchemy, in a way, because you are trying…to make gold from nothing. When it works very well is when you manage to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary."
When trends within a certain culture become popular, they often spread to other areas or cultures across the globe. Cao Fei's work explores trends within different cultures, such as corporate and street culture, and how they influence mainstream society. For example, in her Art21 feature, the artist discusses how the American form of hip-hop had an impact on her life in China. Watch Cao Fei's segment and discuss the idea of cultural diffusion. How does the spread of ideas or products lead to the hybridization of different cultural forms or genres?
Where do cultural trends come from, and how do they spread? Define the terms street culture and popular culture. How do they differ? In what cases might they be the same?
What forms of popular culture does Cao Fei refer to during the segment, and how do they influence her work? Define the terms cosplay, hip-hop, and avatar, and discuss how students personally relate to them.
Discuss the term cultural mobility and how it relates to Cao Fei's observation: "Neither cosplay nor hip-hop is native to China. But when we experience cosplay, we feel that it has become indigenous and original"?
Collect music videos from a variety of genres, cultures, and countries that blend imagery, music, text, and performance in different ways. Using these videos as inspiration, create a multimedia installation or performance that explores a specific street culture.