Rockbund Art Museum Visit Note

Exhibition: Walking On the Fade Out Lines

Artists:

(Collection by Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo) Victor Alimpiev, Massimo Bartolini, Vanessa Beecroft, Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Maurizio Cattelan, Damien Hirst, Marine Hugonnier, Hassan Khan, Donghee Koo, Sarah Lucas, Mark Manders, Paul McCarthy, Gabriel Orozco, Paola Pivi, Navin Rawanchaikul, Charles Ray, Yinka Shonibare, Song Tao, Rudolf Stingel, Pae White, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Zhang Ruyi

Curator: Larys Frogier, Hsieh Feng-Rong

I visited RAM for its new exhibition Walking On the Fade Out Lines. It is a collective exhibition from an Italian art foundation. The theme of the exhibition dealt with Otherness. Considerable photography, installations, sculptures, video installations and music installations are included in this exhibition. Topics ranging from exoticized culture and identity, environmental activism, war and peace, urban construction, feminism…and more.
Here are some of my favorite pieces:

This is Affectionate Men by the British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare. He redesigned a suit using very “Africanized” patterns. The metaphor is pretty obvious. But what interests me, is the patterns themselves. They are all designed by the artist instead of collecting from fabric market. Even though they are all personal design, I can immediately recognize they are African patterns.

Actually, they are different types of fabric and design styles from African garment as well, but I fail to recognize the difference. I think the question of “Why can I do so?” may have larger implication on cultural stereotype, media representations and more.
This s a sculpture by the English artist Sarah Lucas titled Nice Tits. All the “tits” on the wall is made of stockings stuffed with cotton. I really like Lucus’s sense of humor in her work but still sharply pointed out the problem. Woman’s body is objectified not only by nudity, but also by its shape, size, texture, color and more.
This is Love is Great by Damien Hirst in 1994-1995, which was produced in one of his most productive periods. I have a different response to his painting than his famous aquariums. Even though they are using very similar techniques and way of expressions. Love is great can be seen as a 2D version of the aquariums. But it is more subtle and quiet compared to the aquariums. Anyway, I really love his works.

Amber//Reactive User Interfaces//Final – Digital Polaroid Storyboard

Project Codes can be found here!

Demo

User Story

1,  As a user, you can create different albums to collect different series of Polaroid pictures

2, As a user, you can rename these albums as the event/time/location and it will be saved as the uploading page

3,As a user, you are able to upload your digital copy of your Polaroid pictures from your local storage

4, As a user, you can drag and drop any of the pictures from your albums to create your preferred way to present your Polaroid pictures

Concept

I am personally a huge fan of Polaroid pictures, I have tons of them as my precious documentation of memory and experience. However, I suffer from bad Polaroid management. And I regretted so much once I lost one of my favorite Polaroid pictures. The same story happened to my friends as well. Polaroid as a specific type of photograph, due to its size, texture, and portability, it is highly likely to be lost.

Also, it is difficult to well-characterized them unless you intend to do so. Meanwhile, the digital albums do a great job in organizing imageries.

So my primary goal is to create a platform dedicated to keeping and organizing Polaroid pictures for myself to secure my special moments and also allow more creations within the platform.

Design Choices and Implementation Process

 

The original sketches from Adobe XD:

I revised my design a couple of times to make it consistent, I chose a cartoonish and hand-writing style to go with finally. It was meant to be more personal and colorful to myself. To be consistent involves concerns about fonts, font size, typography, visual assets…I realized my original version is mixing up a lot of styles. Also my midterm as well…

I think I got a little sense about the meaning of “say less about more” in UI design. And I wish to learn more about the design principles in the future.

I also learned using global CSS in index.js to initialize CSS properties and reusable components, which saves me a lot of time!

Reflection

I think the digital and analog photography does have a difference in terms of the tangibility and visual features of them.

And today’s critique really helped to extend my point of view on a digital platform of an analog photography. I wish to further incorporate the physicality of some of the key features of Polaroid pictures, including the special visual taste of Polaroid pictures, the aging color in time…to open up potentially more possibility and functionalities of my little lovely web application.

Finally!!!!! It was a great class!!!!! Thanks, Rune!!!!!

Long Museum Visit Note

I visit Long Museum features Chinese artist Yang Fudong’s film project (2018): “Dawn Breaking.” Yang moves the whole setting of a movie studio into the museum, in which he planned to spend 30 days filming. Each day the video content will be updated according to the shooting process. The topic is about inside Song dynasty‘s palace. 

It is my first time encountering the actual situation of studio filmmaking. I think it is a bold attempt to de-mystify the process of making film and art. And also eye-opening to see the flow of equipment, scenery settings, and actors/actresses.

The space in the museum is divided by the iron gates:

Which I found a little bit confusing, but the description says these gates are meant to mimic the giant gates in the palace. I personally think they are more similar to a modern Chinese factory, school, or other institutions’ gates. It is more like a symbol of segregation and repression.

Projection of videos is exhibited on the other side of the museum. He utilizes various forms of the projection texture and surface. I do like that he covers a wallpaper in front of the projection surface. The wallpapers employ diverse traditional Chinese patterns, which masks the content that is projected. A floral veil of history and time also has its implication in a Chinese context. 

I am not sure whether the videos are still in production or it is intended, but all of them are silent. But usually, in the same room, there will be a prompt generator displaying lines of Nietzsche’s quotes in both English and Chinese. According to the description, some of them are actually the actors’ lines. So I think by stripping the audio from the video, Yang tries to reassemble the situation of acting, let the audience to process the lines by themselves, act out accordingly. The process in a sense is part of the content. I think the idea is pretty amazing.

 

 

The content of the film is visually appealing. I personally really enjoy the juxtaposition of the two scenes, the absurd and serious. The dramatic tension is doubled by the juxtaposition.

Overall, I really enjoy the show and appreciate Yang’s cinematography, installation, some of the projection methods and his thoughts on the experimental filmmaking process. But I do think some of his photography of nude women to some extent are once again objectifying women, which I have questions about.

Amber//Final Project Design Research and User Stories

Project: Polaroid Picture Organizing Flatform, a website interface to store, organize and display Polaroid imagery customized by the user.

Concept & Initiative and Competitor Research:

Ever since Polaroid was invented in 1949, it has its period now trend seems to look back in the out-of-date technology, the revival of Polaroid pictures speaks to that. A bolo post Why Polaroid Picture survives in the Digital Age mentioned, “A Polaroid print offers a physical souvenir of your experience and there’s an undeniable, old-school charm to that.”

As an amateur Polaroid photographer, I enjoy the joy to hold the instant film of Polaroid and share them with my friends, my family and people who I love. I attach more emotional weight to a Polaroid photography than a digital copy of it, because the digital one is much easier and more convenient. Therefore, we consider, choose and decide when to use the Polaroid camera before clicking the shutter, since we generally don’t want to waste the film. The moment and memory are what we want to include in Polaroid pics.

On the other hand, displaying them is a real issue in arranging pictures. it is personal and often arranged by preference. Not like iPhone, all the photos are arranged by parameters of time, location, or create applications……which is systematic, clean and clear, but seemingly does not match the art of Polaroid.

I hang the Polaroid pictures on the wall to remind myself of the cherished moments:

 

I see the intersections to bringing together the physical Polaroid pictures to its digital copy for better organization and prevent the loss of the original one. For example,  my friend Maya has an Ins account dedicated to her Polaroid photography:

 

I think Instagram is an outstanding platform for imagery display, but still lack a sense of freedom in deciding the way to present the pictures which speaks the heart of ourselves as an individual in the picture, and as a photographer observing and documenting the world around us.

It is not able to generate works like this:

Screen Shot from https://www.wallpaper.com/art/the-polaroid-project-photography-book

Nor this:

Art by David Hockney from: http://www.davidhockney.co/works/photos/composite-polaroids

So what I hope for is to create an interface that allows both artistic creation and clear organization of the digital photo album system.

I really enjoy the interface by Polaroid Original which gives life to Polaroid pictures in web environment. Here, the picture suits with whole page, including the typography, the layout, the color,,,,so on and so forth.

 

User Story:

1,  As a user, you can create different albums to collect different series of Polaroid pictures

2,As a user, you are able to upload and store your digital copy of your Polaroid pictures from your local storage

3, As a user, you can drag and drop any of the pictures from your albums to create your preferred way to present your Polaroid pictures.

 

 

 

Amber//Response to Ian Cheng’s Emissary Trilogy

Cheng uses a term he invented called “playing in a neuro-gym” to describe his art in the interview with Gianni Jetzer from Spike Art Magazine. He envisions the past, present, and future of the state of mind employing Artificial Intelligence models for the characters. He only sets up the stage for the characters to improvise by assigning different cognition models to them. So a play without beginning nor end, script nor director is performed in the “neuro-gym.” I admire his attempt to blur the boundaries of 3D animation, video games, and the AI, in order to question to what extent can human control between the dynamic exchange of the physique and the mind. He chooses Sims as his AI algorithm which only includes basic need model and neuro-alarm system for the needs, in a sense, the characters are still “primitive” creatures compared to human intelligence, however, it provides alternative to think about the response model between the subject and the environment. I like his explanation in Ian Cheng Interview: A Portal to Infinity, in which he draws inspiration from Julian Jaynes, who uses “a voice” in mind to describe a potential realization of consciousness. The voice in mind tells people what to do and what to think, and later be called “consciousness.” Cheng wants the audience to observe consciousness that people often do not think can be taken apart from human, and be directly observed, He said it to  Gianni Jetzer, “They’re not about the materiality of the installation, they’re not about computer animation; they’re about trying to observe, play with, and sculpt behavior.” He also said, “It’s very hard for art to change the material world, but I think it can effectively change people’s minds, refactoring their relationship to that world.” What I remember most, however, is a quote he quotes from

Philip K. Dick, “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” I think Cheng’s art provides pathways to say about the complexity of thinking, living and evolving in a new age.

 

Amber//Beijing Trip Documentation

  • Time: Mar 31-Apr 1
  • Location: 798 Art District and Cao Chang Di Art District
  • Exhibitions and Programs:
  • Day1: Carsten Höller: METHOD – Galleria Continua; Paul McCarthy: Innocence – M WOODS; Xie Nanxing: Spices, Sarah Morris: Odysseus Factor, Chang Yun-han: New Directions – UCCA; Ragnar KjartanssonFaurschou Foundation; PACE Gallery Beijing; an AI technology Fair.
  • Day 2: Olafur Eliasson: The Unspeakable Openness of Things – Red Brick Art Museum; Huang Rui’s Studio; Three Shadows Photography Art Center

I can hardly believe that we have been exposed to such high-quality exhibitions in only two days. I have been carefully observing, documenting and thinking about the concept, content, ways of presentation and visiting….etc. Here are some of the notes I have in mind for the field trip.

Carsten Höller – METHODS:

When I found out the fact that Holler is a trained entomologist before becoming an artist, I finally see one reason why he has been fascinated to recreate an “influential environments” (Wikipedia) which is a laboratory and experimental-oriented practices, however, shamefully, it is not well represented in this exhibition. But generally in his artistic practices, he describes his works as “unfinished” without the participation from the audience, in which he attempts to “chemically analyzing the nature of human emotions.” The practice itself can be regarded as a social experimentation. His setup of the installations is meant to be a metaphor for a scientific laboratory, in which I see his ambition to intersect the methodology of scientific research with the unpredictability of social engagement from the audience. For example, I interpret the giant mushrooms as his analogical comparison between the complexity of the details of fly-agaric and the toxic nature of the human relationship with one another.

As well as his materialization of time employing neon as an abstraction of systemic flow, which represents time zones, travel, and publicity. I consider this piece as a highly reflexive one even the context is stripped from the installation, it recreates a personal narrative for the audience. I stared it for a long time and I began to understand a little bit of what he said in an interview, “I don’t think consciousness and language are completely compatible. There’s an area of them not fitting together. Nobody I’ve met is aware of what sort of person they are.” His art gives a breathing space between the incompatible gap of the mind.  

 

Paul McCarthy: Innocence – M WOODS:

 

I think McCarthy’s works speaks out directly the sense of mixed repressed evilness, agony, and sexuality. Almost all the work end with huge messes, which challenges the viewers’ tolerance and the notion of what is “appropriate to be seen” on a screen set. The appropriation of the legacy of pop-culture, Disneyland cartoons (especially fairy tales) and Hollywood productions sarcastically monks the “achievement” of our mass-produced culture industry. He mocks the hypocritical cover-up of all kinds of desire from the mass broadcasting to the public. His psychoanalysis approach of human desire in relation to capitalism society to some extent reveals the unhappiness and sufferings of the modernity, in which individuality and the virtue of humanity no longer exist. However, if he is providing an answer, then I think it is also problematic to answer all the questions and puzzles with one answer without alternatives – that is humans are in nature evil and helpless. But I hope I was wrong, I hope what he is trying to do involves more than giving out an answer, but presents a landscape of our fallible physique that we are afraid of admitting belonging to us but are capable of moving beyond that.

Chang Yun-han: New Directions:

The female Taiwanese artist Chang Yun-han is one of my favorites among all the artists we were introduced in Beijing. Her works combine the subtlety and literality, which I constantly try to do but not successfully. She also writes very well which enhances the power of her work. The narrative in her videos and the short essay as part of her installation about a trip to the end of the world – Antarctica really caught me. She focuses more on getting individual emotional responses who directly confront with the art pieces. A personal linkage to the work is essential. I think her works reflect contemporary issues in a nostalgic way – the gradual loss of a sense of security in highly industrialized society, whether questioning the nature of immigration, traveling or authentic being, I found them all very inspiring.


 

Tour to Huang Rui’s Studio:

It is such an honor to see Huang Rui’s studio in person. His art really speaks to what does Chinese and China means, at least I found resonance with his pieces. He utilizes social and historical events and phenomena to document the changes and transitions happening in China, which usually unfolds deeper philosophical and abstract relationship between being both an observer and a Chinese person for Huang Rui. He truly cares about the nation’s past and concerns the present and the future of it. He circles around the negotiation among the loss of the past glory and wisdom of ancient China, to the indubitable authority and control of the regime, finally to the unpredictable and unknown future of it. He is more like bringing his understanding of the historical events to life. However, I see more pathos and upset than optimism in his works, and I also see his compassion towards the strong, forbearing and mostly silent and sometimes numb Chinese people. It is a shame that his works are not widely recognized domestically.

 

Olafur Eliasson: The Unspeakable Openness of Things – Red Brick Art Museum:

 

Eliasson’s works have very strong Scandinavian style in them, the use of geometrical shapes, the play with natural lighting and shading, and the highly abstracted meaning.

I have a hard time connecting the titles to the art pieces, especially, The Unspeakable Openness of Things, why is it unspeakable? Why is it open? If I consider the wholeness constituted by the enormous semi-ring and its reflection an entrance to openness, then, we are integrated through illusion. The visually warm but sensorily neutral yellowish-brown ambient lighting strips the colors of individual and makes us equally black and white, whether in a situation like this, can we lay down the burden and anxiety, and be open and genuine to ourselves? However the distance doubled through the mirroring, it got me to question whether we are closer or farther from who we are.  

   

 

A random thought in the end: How much concentration are we actually focusing on art itself instead of photographing them which we comfortably or awkwardly situated ourselves in? People had fun through the juxtaposition with “art,” pictures are souvenirs to take home, does art need souvenir also? Are artists the top of serving business? I don’t know, but I find it really intriguing.

 

 

RUI: Final Project Proposal – Polaroid Organizing Platform

Polaroid photos revive these days, more and more folks value the materialization of photography in the digital age. I think the debate between the pros and cons of the two different ways of documenting life moments extremely interesting. I have seen my friend putting a Polaroid picture in the back of her phone case, when she lost her phone, the very precious Polaroid picture was also gone. If a platform dedicated to keeping and organizing Polaroid pictures can be established, maybe the weight of memory can be more secure by having a backup.

Therefore, for my final project for Reactive User Interfaces, I would like to create a Polaroid Organizing Platform, which allows users to make a digital copy of their polaroid photos online, in case the physical copy is lost, along with functionality to document the detail of the picture. The uploaded pictures can be downloaded and sent to a photo-copier to get a physical copy as well.

ThePolaroid Organizing Platform travels between the physique and digital of a moment in life, with the assistance of react.js, I wish to put more effort in the design aspect of the application to make it more accessible, convenient and intimate.

Amber//Archive Project Documentation – HER

 

  • Title: Her
  • Duration: 00:03:51(First half), 00:04:01(second half)
  • Software: Processing, Premiere Pro

 

  • Description: 
  • I started over. This time I draw inspiration from ancient Chinese Folktale: Butterfly LoversLiang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai were finally together after their death for love. The beautiful love story has been adapted in many Chinese operas, but famous for Cantonese opera in particular. The story symbolizes “transformation,” literally from human to butterfly to continue their love. I use the notion of “transformation” here to emphasize the changes happening around Hong Kong as my context. Then, I choose three representative Hongkongese females – Denise Ho, a singer and an activist for Hongkong democracy movement and LGBTQ rights, the only celebrity who was captivated by HK government during Umbrella Revolution. Second is Siu Yam-yam, a used-to-be beauty in Hong Kong Film industry, but experienced serious facial damage because of plastic surgeries and accidents, still active by performing “scary grandmas.” And last is Sharla Cheung, a productive actress in the old days, but retired too soon and people begin to forget her…..Young people nowadays rarely recognize her. However, the common grand for the three of them is they all experienced “transformation.” The captivity for Ho, the facial damage for Siu, and the being forgotten for Cheung.
  • So I try to see Hong Kong as a female figure and embody her on different aspects from the three of them to see what will happen “before” and “after.”
  • The first half is accompanied by the Cantonese opera Liang Zhu – Huadie (265-420 AD) (Script in the source code, sorry no translation found), which consists of Ho’s captivity moment in 2014 Umbrella Movement, Siu’s film when she was still an envied beauty, and Cheung in Chow Sing Chi’s movie when she was popular. All the clips are slow-motioned and tilted to black-and-white.
  • The second half is accompanied by the Denise Ho’s song, Huadie(2005), similar subject matter as Huadie, (Script in the source code, sorry, no translation found again 🙁 ) which consists of Ho’s private political-related concerts, Siu’s interviews after her facial damage, and Cheung’s aged appearance recently on small mainland TV programs that few people care about. All the clips are fast-motioned.
  • The three celebrities, somehow became ambiguous and hard to identify by my manipulations.
  • Ideally, I wish to present the work by two screens and one pair of headphones. One auditory source from either clip but visually displayed at the same time.

 

  • Concept: 

I realized my rough cut is pretty narrow and offensive in terms of the representation of the big issue. But still, I wish to express my own perspective on it. So I chose to by-pass the actual historical event itself, but project it on people, who endure, participate and respond to the changes in time and space. Hong Kong here, is just a context to narrow down the archive, but what I want to say is more about the fallible physique and spirit of humans, which leads to less autonomy and easy manipulation. Seemingly, we are all victims of time and consequences. Through my work of the youtube archives, one aspect I want say is we rarely have control of our own imagery online, then, how much do we own ourselves? Who are we in the larger history of changes around us? And where is the future?

 

Script for Butterfly Lover
梁祝之化蝶 
(山)魂离俗世登蓬莱跳出苦海
(英)双双化蝶齐共舞同上瑶台(
山)仙界多自由完全无障碍
(英)尘世多优多悲痛相爱惟有赴蓬莱
(山)霾云尽散好月来永不悲哀
(英)天宫快乐无恨怨何怕暴雨来
(山)一对彩蝶儿缠绵尘世外
(英)烦恼忧郁皆消散不再惆怅恨如呆
(山)从前梦断珠泪凝腮一双情侣永困恨海
(英)好花虽逢风雨害爱根未断(山)余情尚在
(英)纵未赋鸳鸯身心已属郎决殉爱
(山)至死不负情(英) 留得千秋载
(山) 痴心山伯伴英台
(英)前缘尽了不复愁哀今天情侣已脱恨海
(山)双双逍遥天外(英)痛心恨事
(山)留传万代
(英)化蝶侣双飞生死永共怜永 相爱
(山)两心分不开同结生死爱
(合)一双一对直飞上蓬莱
梁山伯祝英台两心相爱实堪哀
一对有情人惨被情所害
铸成一片恨史百世留哀百世留哀

Script for Huadie by Denise Ho Wan-see
墳前沒有花
容我撥開沙土 用眼淚種些吧
長埋是你嗎
何以未講一聲 就撇下我 回答吧
上次匆匆一別 還約了
結伴去 共你遇上那道橋
約定了 改不了
縱使 到此時你的心不再在跳
共你快將相會了 重回那一秒
如何回到當時 猶如情侶熱戀的那時
記憶可以 幻作一對蝴蝶飛舞在時光深處
荼薇紅過都變枯枝
血肉之軀會沒法保持
唯獨春天可以給記住
樓台又架起
含笑洞悉生死 越過另有天地
長眠沒有起
時間若推不翻 就化蝶去 遊故地
六呎荒土之下 還有你
約定了 下世共我更傳奇
最後那一口氣
吐出 我當時未講的一句 愛你
頓覺 遍體 輕如會飛
如何回到當時 猶如情侶熱戀的那時
記憶可以 幻作一對蝴蝶飛舞在時光深處
荼薇紅過都變枯枝
血肉之軀會沒法保持
蝴蝶苦戀花那魂魄也願意
如何回到當時 拿回時間逆轉的鑰匙
記憶可以 縱使此際神傷不已 亦曾經春至
凡人無法聽見的詩
種在心中 萬劫不移 我知
如何回到當時 猶如情侶熱戀的那時
記憶可以 幻作一對蝴蝶飛舞在雲海深處
荼薇紅過都變枯枝
血肉之軀 已沒有意思
靈魂也可共處