Nathalie Mei, Install 1

By Nathalie Mei

The install combined an island-shaped sculpture of salt with an iPad. The screen displayed vertical rows of an 8-digit code. Furthermore I showed a hanging sculpture made out of draped rolls of transparent plastic film, thin metal wires and wood.

With this work in progress I aimed to explore how individual and collective memories manifest in objects and how the essence of origins and manifestations mutate in the context of duration.

Initially I approached the theme by joining 35 kg of salt, cooked beetroot and a digitally decoded, scanned picture. Abandoning the use of the beetroot during the process of installing turned out being beneficial to the work, because it resulted in a clearer visualisation. Nevertheless, the change also happened to be problematic, because it led to a binary fission within the work. My intention for the work was to investigate, how to preserve a memory and its nature as a cognitive image in the post-digital age. I wanted to understand the limitations within the process of transferring analogue traces of memories towards digital ones. In my understanding the term memory refers to an ephemeral experience, which punctuates the viewer’s reality. The converted image now pointed out how the representation of memory can be revealed (on a screen). In a consequence it failed to investigate its substantial side. The piece did not explore something that happened and how this manifests.

The salt sculpture provided a starting point for questioning the relation between the physical essence of being and the materialistic essence of photography as a medium to preserve its phenomenological remnants.

For the second part of the install I created a hanging sculpture out of draped rolls of plastic film, wire and parts of a previously used, destroyed wooden coat hanger. Compared with the first work, the piece had a lighter presence and proposed to explore the memories from a phenomenological perspective.

Although the moment of remembering presents itself as a visualization of an imprint of something that happened, the origin is abstracted, isolated from its historical content and put up on a stage within a non-physical space. Like the after image, it visually relates to a reality, which became lost. Like its significant, the memory cannot be embodied, a gaze under its surface offers the viewer a segmented image which contains notions of reference points but no clear centre.

In a less individualistic meaning, I aimed to observe how relicts of the past (a hangar) could, once they become redundant from their original functionality, still be tinted with their former cultural identity. Consequently, how individual memory can, once it slips the original condition of insular existence, spread into a collective context, where it afflicts collective identity and therefore the individual state of seeing.

In my opinion, the installed pieces worked coherently within the room. Furthermore they provided a point of departure to investigate the relation between memories and the image in the post-digital age. I am currently researching and working on developing the work further in terms of intention, media and materials.

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He You on Natalie Mei 1st install

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The work of Natalie Mei’s first installation was a beautiful and powerful piece, I was intrigued by the purity and serenity of the work. The work consisted of an organic shaped salt pile seated onto a same shape of transparent plastic sheet, on top of the salt a digital screen was half buried, only a series of digital numbers were scrolling down on the screen. Somehow this installation had a power of attracting the gaze of audience, the roughness and smoothness were combined at the same time, but it also left the audience confused, what the installation was trying to tell us.

Looking from a distance, the accumulation of salt has a sculptural feature resembled to white marble, pure and smooth. Looking close, the countless individual salt grains started to give the pile a texture of roughness. The pile of salt stayed between a state of solid and fluid, it seems to flow away at any moment, but at same time it gave a weight of heaviness. I started to wonder how much salt the artist used, and how did she carried this much up to here, the pure shape of it also reminded me of the pure energy that was transformed by conquering the gravity of it, the energy of artist was stored inside the sculpture.wechatimg14

Within the salt, the screen emitted a dim light, which gave me a feeling that it was the salt pile that gave the energy to the screen. Inside the screen, a series of unknown digits constantly scrolled down, seemed to represent some sorts of identity, maybe the identities of all the salt grains? They were same but also slightly different like the mass of anonymous population. As artist interpreted , the salt has a nature to preserve the freshness, maybe also the freshness of memory, therefore all the digits could also be the pixels of a broader image of memory.

The energy and memory were stored at the same time inside this pile of salt,  that somehow symbolized the life was inserted inside the cold, immobile accumulation of salt, which made us again to look  deeper into the thingness of the thing.

Yulia on Asa’s third install

It’s hard to describe Asa’s third work, a medium-sized TV screen mounted on the wall streaming multiple layers of a video of a Boris Johnson interview, in an emotionally unaffected and objective manner: the piece is downright overwhelming in the sensory overload it induces. The frazzled and schizophasic visual subject matter is unfixed and constantly flickering, with Boris Johnson anxiously moving about the video layers and the screen itself, inviting a sense of a political dystopia spiraling out of control. The unnerving video feed is pushed to the extreme with an inane remix of captions, oversaturated with corporate buzzwords and more resembling an Orwellian parody of itself than a legitimate excerpt from an interview. The text and a video seem to be in a frenetic conversation with one another, every interaction pushing the unraveling of the frenetic non-narrative a step further.

The choice to use a TV format is particularly apt in capturing the menacing kitsch of the modern political and social condition in the digital unconscious. This wildly chaotic digital mania reaches its sensory apex as a high-pitched shrieking noise gains volume and eventually becomes deafening, obliterating the viewer in a complete sensory and information influx.

Personally, I think the piece was very powerful – but perhaps the confluence of sound and image (if Asa wanted to preserve the timeline of the piece) could have worked better if it had its own isolated space.

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YAJING HU ON NATHALIE MEI’S FIRST INSTALLATION

I was impression by Nathalie’s first installation, her work consisted of two parts that were displayed in separate space. One part was salt surrounding a screen with scrolling numbers. Another part was a distorted hanger holding a bunch of plastic papers handing from the celling with a fishing line.

When I entered “gallery” for the first time, I did not realize these two separate artworks came from one artist. But after further explored them, there were clues vaguely provided that these two pieces were deeply conversing with each other through the use of the space such as with the random way of the plastic material was arranged while hanging from the hanger and how the irregular edge of the salt was displayed, with both of pieces themselves seemingly desiring to break down the still image and turn into a dynamic space. More interestingly, the second piece of this installation also had a great interaction with Lexi’s first performance in the same space and time, somehow, their pieces held the same view of randomness as Lexi used randomness as a way her desire to explore coincidences while Nathalie used flexible material in her installation. Similarly the texture of the tape that Lexi used in her performance matched well with the reflective surface of the plastic paper in Nathalie’s artwork.

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Furthermore, Salt as an element in this artwork intrigued me a lot. From my point of view, salt plays an important role in silver photography, which can display and preserve images. It also has a historical and crucial meaning in China, as people had made use of salt to preserve their food from rotting since ancient times of China. Therefore, in first part of artwork, it seemingly indicated to me that salt preserved the identity as the scrolling numbers on the screen reminded me of ID numbers from assimilation by society, which tries to sort people into different stereotypes of identity until finally we will lost difference as individuals. Or they could stand for the artist’s own memories, as maybe the numbers on the screen were dates of memories, which she tried to be encoded to forcibly recall the authentic memory. The artworks themselves questioned whether use of the high-tech method to recall real endless memories made it easier as it is difficult to recall authentic memories since not only do we experience a world that is already polished before we experience it, but we also unconsciously distorted the experience when we recollect it. In addition, depending on how full of emotion we are towards the subject, it cannot be exactly repeated. The artist brilliantly used transparent materials in second part of installation, in my point of view, in an indication of the difficulties of touching authentic memories, in the same way that I looked the transparent material through to other side, it just appeared like a dim shadow even though “the things” behind the plastic paper were so close to each other. To quote Deleuze’s saying, “Here we have made use of everything that came within range, what was closest as well as farthest away. ”

YAJING HU ON YAJING HU’S SECOND INSTALLATION

After first critique of first installation, in order to explore further consideration that the faceless, identical figures could be robots from the present time or some nightmarish post-human future since we are engaging in the logical destination of power in a digital era. Does fascism still exist in the present time or future, to dominates and influence our thoughts and behaviors? Starting from this point,I began to improve upon my second installation and questioned myself on where we are now? I shot contemporary uniforms instead – initially to make for more interactions with viewer who would be involved in the digital era.

At the same time, I also tied to improve the framing by making lightbox for each image which directly changed the visual feeling. Finally I did fail to use lightboxes for the second installation since it had taken a longer time than expected, and I did not finish it by the time the installation started, however it was worth it to spend the time to learn the processes for it.

On the second installation, I hung two images up on the two walls side by side in which a group was wearing contemporary uniforms and instinctively used one light to illuminate the photos. Finally lighting played an important role in this installation as it seemingly has a strong power, to control all of the people in the images.

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After installation, a lot of viewers asked me the questions why I insisted on photographing a group who are wearing uniform, in a traditional manner of composition and structure. From my point of view, it is really fascinating to “pun” in artwork, i.e, intentionally planning for viewers to see a series of images with people who are wearing uniform, while thinking about photography. In its broad meaning as a new media, as a uniformity.

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Nevertheless, after the second critic finished, I felt my work needed a different approach. Looking to question the Principle of multiplicity and deal with difference in repetition, I felt the approach of using real people instead of faceless dummies would be slightly more successful. Since a slight difference in appearances and positions in the group would not visually break up the uniformity, conversely, a slight difference in the image would make it more powerful and interesting. I also will try to use a series of short video to explore this project further in order to better express the idea of photography as uniformity. In every short video, I will secretly record the behavior of people wearing uniform’s before taking picture and the moment to take the picture, discovering the invisible power in photography (exposure). I have noticed people act differently in their daily lives when they are in front of a camera, so I believe there is an invisible and strong force that causes people to act appropriately.

 

Hongjia Liu on Hongjia Liu’s 3rd Installation

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Here is the third version of my installation series in unit one, focusing on the balance point between technology and humanity. As I mentioned in my previous install article, I’m always interesting about this particular period, when the modern technology is swallowing up people’s daily life, and at the same time, we are still willing to find comfort in technology.

My 3rd install is a white cube space surrounded by Chinese calligraphy paper, set in a dark environment. Inside the space, the audiences are allowed to sit on the ground and watch the moving dots and lines projected on the surface of the white “walls”.

My inspiration comes from the experience of writing calligraphy, which is the traditional Chinese handwriting. I have practised calligraphy since twenty years ago, a fascinating experience of calligraphy is, when you keep writing the same Chinese character for three times or more, occasionally you will realise the fact that the character you are writing becomes unfamiliar to you. The context bonded to the text finally vanished, only the time duration and movement of hand left with you. If you keep writing at this time, the process of writing does not matter anymore, and this is the moment you begin to think something else, instead of the character you are currently working on.

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In my installation, I am making an attempt to strip away the appearance of calligraphy, only extract the meanings of body movement and time duration behind the outline of characters. By providing an isolated and dark space, my aim here is creating a possibility for audiences to calm down and start to think.

But the exhibition in the classroom was much less than satisfactory. The first mistake is the requirement of background knowledge, and the second one is the gap between things presented and things underneath, not to mention the poor quality of the installation itself. As Heidegger suggests, the essential part to “reveal the truth” only exists when both of the two things come from the reality itself. Therefore, my next work would start from something physical and material, building connections with the real world.

 

YAJING HU ON ELENA’S 3RD INSTALL

Elena’s third installation is comprised of two parts. The first part is a series of high quality printed images displayed on a light box, with another part shown on a wall-mounted panel, which consist of difference contexts and various image in a seemingly collage-like painting.WechatIMG3.jpeg

When walked closer to her piece, I initially followed the lighting from light box to look down onto the image of natural female body, placed beneath transparent glass, as well as the vivid red irregular line passing through the images to divide body into fragments. In Combining the panel on wall, artist brilliantly took advantage of all of the elements to make us gradually feel like we had gone into another space like a biology laboratory. The posture in which we looked at the image is in much the same way as when scientists use microscope to observe cell. The position of the glass also reminded me of when scientists use glass containers to preserve cell samples and isolated as specimens, the red line above images seemingly like blood coming from this female. It successfully drove me to think about whether it was possible to accurately research human beings as just as an object in a scientific or rational way? With this question, and not being able to wait to continue on this “scientific journey”, I raised my head and tried to find some more information through the“ research notes” which were surprisingly a garbled from handwritten notes, strange printed images and typed notes as jf expressing complications of the subject in that we could not just use a roughly similar approach in researching human beings. When I reviewed this artwork, the printed material and softly tone of the images superbly showed the human being as an emotional subject that cannot be correctly analyzed in a coldly scientific way, even though we know exactly what elements the human body is composed of, is always something missing at some point. In addition, the pins on the broad made the art process visible, successfully making the process part of the installation itself, seemingly constituting research like it would be a endless story.

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A longer looked at these images of naked bodies hidden with red lines also reminded me of Mormon porn. In my point of view, it was somehow more attractive when the body was hidden by crimson paint than just directly seeing the naked body. Beside, the red line cleverly interrupted me in directly focus on representation of image, as have been much discussed, make me play attention on something else.

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Going forward the project has a lot of space to evolve and develop. For example, I am really interested in seeing what the difference feels like when the artist changes male or something else instead of female in the image. As well as how building more connections between the contexts in the panel and the images or just or just erasing the contexts to allow the viewers have more room for imagination.

Hongjia Liu on Hongjia Liu’s 1st Installation

I can still remember ten years ago, maybe earlier, after a long-long raining day, in the evening I could just listen to the sound of dripping water outside the window and fallen into the deep sleep smoothly. But nowadays, to hear the voice of nature has already become an impossible dream. Thanks to the increasing number of high-end technology devices we are using in our daily life, this modern lifestyle is gradually swallowing up our every last second we have. People prefer to chat through mobile phones instead of talking to each other face to face. The quality of the relationship between friends has been quantified as the frequency of pressing the “like” button on social networks. As a result, the technology beats the humanity.

At the same time, I have also noticed several unexpected tendencies. For instance, while we are wasting our precious time on the games or social networks in personal mobile phones, some sorts of people are willing to install a simple software on the phone, which software just has one function: play a piece of nature’s sound, to help people fall asleep faster. As you see, we are living a very stressful life due to the disadvantages of technology, but we are also trying to find comfort in it.

That is the original idea of my series of works. By introducing the state-of-the-art mechanical sensors, projectors and moving images into my artworks, I am making an effort to find the balance point between technology and humanity.

My first work, as shown below, uses a motion detective sensor, to transfer the movement of audiences to continuously changing representative images shown on the surface of a wall.

 

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To get the environment involved in the installation is what I was practising. As the knowledge we learned during seminars, the artwork should not only be a representation of the reality, beyond that, the artwork should make interactions with the real world. Here in my piece of work, the audiences are getting involved in the work, and they form a united whole.

And there are two kinds of viewers when the audiences come. The first viewer is the computer, the machine learns and tests the unknown world, with the tools of parameters and values detected by the sensor. The second viewer is the people of audiences, seeing the visualised image on the screen which is generated by the movements of themselves.

For the further development, I might do some experiments to break the frame of the linear relationship to “time” in my work, and try multiple and open spaces instead of one crowded room.

Michael by Max, 3rd Install

Michael’s third work, an installation video piece, used an old fashioned CRT monitor to display a virtual facsimile of himself, produced in its primary form from a method called photogrammetry, a process whereby a 3d image is generated from a collection of images. Michael then feeds this data back into the program which generates a clone of a clone and so forth. Decaying the final clone to the point of destruction and then illustrating this through a series of images which document the process in something akin to a retro futuristic aesthetic, possibly something resembling a mug shot from an 80’s crime science fiction film. It’s an effective approach, one that opens up the work to wider range of interpretations in popular culture. Video games, online identities, cloning and science fiction all give useful readings. Where the work interests me however is in its relationship to the notion of the glitch, more specifically its formation through a process that is essentially analogous to a feedback loop found in analogue signal paths: An obvious example being an instrument or microphone beginning to feed off its own signal before building up to the point off overloading.

This work starts of as a digital self-portrait of the author, perhaps alluding to the ease at which we can move our identities from one space to another, or how the physical and the virtual are beginning to meld. However once the sequence starts to move through to its final stages, the work transforms in to something else. It becomes a self-portrait of the algorithm designed and used in the very transformation, and in doing so the process. Through a feedback loop the program moves away from its primary function of replication. In this case the image breaks down and the errors propagate, to the point where the glitch becomes the visual manifestation of the artwork itself, finally leading an overload. My only objection is that this overload couldn’t have happened later, allowing the artwork to turn in to something radically different or maybe never overloading at all, leading to an infinite loop where the work can evolve freely on its own.

Overall I thought the work was an interesting look at the breakdown in communication that can occur in the digital domain, and how easily these events can begin to grow and develop on there own. It visualises a process that often goes unseen and unheard in big data centres where these kinds or glitches can and do impact our lives.

 

 

 

Anaïs on Niloofar 3rd install

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Niloofar last work is an installation made by three overlays. You’ve got the background, the big size video showing views inside a forest during the night. The video was filmed by someone, we can feel the presence and the movement of the camera accentuate it.

Then a little short video appears sometime at different places on the big size video. These are shot of someone in a dark and intimate space. This person brings her hands to her face and seems to do repetitive pray, like a dance of incantation.

Then comes over these two videos the projection of shadows from a big structure made of iron rods. So it creates like drawing on the screen, thin lines. It looks like someone draw directly on the wall, overlaid the video, but we still have this structure illuminated by the projection of the forest.

The installation puts forward a meditative aspect accentuate by the repetition and the loop of the video. At the first sight my thought was that looked like a horror movie, because of the very dark space, and this presence that you can’t really situated precisely. But then watching it during few minutes you get the habit of the repetition and of the movement. For me this environment is more related to rituals, offering…

Visualization of mental thought.

I also thought about the surrealistic photography. At this point when photographers try to bring spirit in their pictures by technical processes.

It seems to me that the work of Maya Rochat, a swiss young artist could be related to Niloofar’s work. Also to her first install, with the reflective paper and this big installation she did. This work seems to be an exploration of new mental space, visualization of the mind; in the research of a new space and space of creation.