PYLON-Lab presents the exhibition “麻木 (Stupor)” by media artists Yefeng Wang and Yuk-Yiu IP who were selected during the competition of this year’s international Cynetart-Festival for computer based and media art in Dresden.
The exhibition is on view until November 3rd, 2018.
For the exhibition, both artists present visualisations of fictitious immersive spaces as a conceptual approach to philosophical and theoretical ideas, their artistic practice is based on.
As extensions of the artists’ own realities and experiences, of re-contextualised theoretical material and fictional narration, the presented animations and virtual scenarios blur the line between mental imagination and augmented reality by their strikingly detailed visualisations of space and occurring elements.
“Book Of A Hundred Ghosts” by Yuk-Yiu IP is a virtual reality installation, a Chinese parable staged in the form of a virtual tableau. It reimagines the history of an ancient land as a book of falling words and crushing signs, inciting awe, fear, pain and carnal pleasure. The falling words, each unique, are a blend of some words that appear only once in The Analects of Confucius and the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China; two important texts that supposedly serve to govern the moral and political being of China – both symbolically and practically.
Yuk-Yiu Ip is a filmmaker, media artist, art educator and independent curator. His recent works explore hybrid creative forms that are informed by cinema, video games and media art practices. His works, ranging from experimental films to video performances and media installations, have been showcased extensively at international venues and festivals, including European Media Art Festival, New York Film Festival, the Image Festival, FILE Festival, VideoBrasil, Transmediale, and the Hong Kong International Film Festival. He is the founder of the art.ware project, an independent curatorial initiative focusing on the promotion of new media art in Hong Kong. Ip has over fifteen years of curatorial experience in film, video and media art. He is currently associate professor at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong.
The inspiration for Yefeng Wang’s work “[’penthaus]” is a story in the old Chinese book “A New Account of the Tales of the World”. In the book, Liu Ling – a drunk poet of the Wei Jin period – lies wasted and naked in his house, claiming the universe as his house, and his house as his underpants. This absurd story of Liu’s delirium possesses a powerful understanding of our relationship with the world. It also has a strong emotional connection to the artist’s ongoing sojourn after moving to the United States. In “[’penthaus]”, Wang has constructed a virtual house with 3D models of a common pair of jeans and other daily objects, and has created a pig without back-limbs as the main character. It poses an allegorical question: the notion of both the house and the pants are obscure to the character, yet , at the same time, it has no choice but to live in this pair of pants that will never fit. The animation clips of the project depict ambiguous spaces that collect the articles physically or digitally consumed by the artist himself. The virtual spaces are both macroscopic and microscopic, the time is both moving and still, and as an ambivalent character, the pig is both auspicious and melancholic.
The sound for the video installation has been composed by Tim Fodness.
Yefeng Wang’s work “Rotation Method” is a 3D animated short film. The title is in reference to the eponymous theory by philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855). It suggests a mechanism used by aesthetes to avoid boredom, which could eventually lead to a state of despair. The phrase is quoted to suggest an endless circle of the protagonist’s expedition in the video, as well as a blend of his uncertainty, frustration, struggle and enthusiasm. The film depicts a surreal journey of a helmed traveler, accompanied by a dog with a phonograph head. The purpose of the travel is unclear but the character’s predicament is noticeable. With a vague notion of the significance of the expedition, the film places greater emphasis on en emotional transformation and is an intuitive response to the artist’s own experience of moving to the United States. Throughout the film, scenes are filled with man-made artifacts with rotating mechanisms. The constant rotation of these mechanisms is excessive and neurotic, countering the mundanity of the products, which are meant to provide security, calm, or even joy.
The sound of the film is a cello improvisation by New York based cellist Jacob Cohen.
Yefeng Wang is currently based in Providence, Rhode Island and New York. He left China for the United States after completing his BFA at Shanghai University and received his MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011. Wang is teaching at the Rhode Island College and helping to continue building it’s Digital Media Art Program as an assistant professor.