Funa Ye is an artist exploring the relationship between the realities of everyday life and the perceived connection between authority and social life. Funa Ye’s practice studies the different power structures, ethnic groups, and the fictional space of propaganda striving for the concept of ‘perfection’ within an ideological system, and a utopian landscape. Therefore, the work is politically charged, subtly engaged in pastiche as a satirising style of propaganda, rich in reference, parody, and irony of uniformity cultures. Funa is based in Beijing.
Smart, also known as Shamate in Mandarin Chinese (杀马特), is a well-known subculture in China that has a very distinct sense of identity expressed through fashion, among other things. They have been shamed by urbanites for their outlandish hair with some calling them “tasteless and low-brow”. However, the aesthetics of the Shamate community can also be viewed through the combined lens of Sinofuturism, Chinese post-Internet aesthetics, folk culture, utopian landscapes, and ‘aesthetic disorder’ in the place of mass production. This hybrid folk culture shows a strong capacity for self-organization, constantly deriving and developing new content. Neo-Mastr series is based on a large project, Funa Ye worked to create with the Smart community. She uses GAN technology to deep learn the Shamate’s selfies from the Internet to generate a group portrait of avatars named the Neo-mastr. Funa uses the typical aesthetic in contemporary China to make short videos. The resulting videos combine the aesthetics of folk culture with pop culture and propaganda. This infinite but enclosed virtual land of wonder is a cultural melting pot, forcing a collision of old and new, domestic and foreign, urban and rural; creating cultural hybrids, mutants, and originals available at any time to anyone, created by a guest holding a smartphone with apps like TikTok and Kuai.