‘The Apocalyptic Sensibility: The New Media Art from Taiwan’, Taipei Fine Art Museum, Taiwan (2015)

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  • Curator: Yunnia Yang
  • Partcipating Artists:
  • Lin Pey-Chwen/Wu Chi-Tsung/ Huang Zan-Lun/ Scottie Chih-Chieh Huang/ Chen I-Chun/ Zhang Xu-Zhan
  • Vernissage:2015.09.25(Fri. ) 2pm
  • Exhibition Period: 2015.09.26 (Sat.) ~ 2015. 11.15 (Sun.)

The Apocalyptic Sensibility: The New Media Art from Taiwan

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the birth of electronic art, the 15th WRO Media Art Biennale takes ‘Pioneering Values’ as the focal theme of the international competition. Among 1500 works in the open call, the Taiwanese artists Wu Chi-Tsung’s ‘Crystal City 002’ and Lin Pey-Chwen’s ‘ Revelation of Eve Clone ’, ‘Portrait of Eve Clone’ are selected with the curatorial concept ‘ The Apocalyptic Sensibility’ of the Taiwanese curator Yunnia Yang. She responds to ‘Pioneering Values’ that being innovative is not necessarily an avant-garde pioneer, it is more crucial to introspect the meanings and the influences that technology brings human beings. The Homecoming Exhibition from WRO Media Art Biennale 2013 ‘The Apocalyptic Sensibility: The New Media Art from Taiwan’ will give a complete picture of the curatorial philosophy ‘ The Apocalyptic Sensibility’ with the works of the six Taiwanese artists:Lin Pey-Chwen , Wu Chi-Tsung ,Huang Zan-Lun, Scottie Chih-Chieh Huang, Chen I-Chun , and Zhang Xu Zhan. They look into the technologized civilization with new sensibilities so that we will have deeper perceptions and contemplations about the consumerism and the media society which we live in.

Curatorial Philosophy
In the human civilization, the pioneers express their foresighted visions and courage to make their dreams come true. As the Greek mythology of Prometheus, the cultural hero dares to offend the Gods to steal fire for human beings and to turn the darkness into the brightness. The role of a pioneer has been always regarded as a pilot who leads ahead, but he might be a critical thinker. Under the excess obsession and the advanced development of technologies, could the human beings employ technologies rationally, as well as create the harmonious relations between technology, nature and humanity?

The 2012 Apocalypse of Mayans has gained attentions from the global audience. The theme on the Apocalypse has existed in our popular culture, such as films, novels and comics. It seems that the apocalyptic imagination doesn’t give so much impact to the normal life of human beings and doesn’t cause any overall panic. In the end of the 19th century, the apocalyptic imagination fused love, sex and death together, giving birth to the decadent aesthetics of ‘ Art Nouveau’. It is the point of no return for the contemporaries to enjoy the best love in the life and to indulge in the fin-de-siècle romanticism even if they were confronting the death. Owing to the globalization, mediatization world, and technologization, the apocalyptic imagination in the 21st century is influenced by the simultaneous real-time transmission of the disasters; the reality replaces the imagination. The apocalyptic condition is namely the current situation of the human beings. The apocalyptic imagination might be regarded as an alternative for the survival issue: imagining the human beings to retreat to the utopia land we desire or escape into the virtual world. Walter Benjamin presumed that the postmodern culture is the most apocalyptic representation in the human civilization, regarding the progress as a storm. He predicted that the secret worries behind the advanced development of technologies might be the negligence and even negation of the human sensibility. The Apocalyptic complex is probably a turning point for the destiny of human beings. The attitude to the future is neither absolutely certain, nor positively on the bright side. The ambiguous and enigmatic uncertainty is exactly the perception the contemporaries are experiencing right now. The crisis might be a chance! As the progress is not the only option for human beings to take in the human civilization, ‘Pioneering Values’ doesn’t mean to play the leading role in the age. The sensibility and the critical thinking that the Apocalyptic complex has caused will change the new generations’ values to the progress.

The human beings’ longing for the progress originates from the expectation of a better life. Owing to the overwhelming influences of mass media and consumerism, the contemporaries have more desires about their own material life, possessing more visible luxury and lacking more spiritual life. Inspired by the concept of Eve in the Book of Revelation,Lin Pey-Chwen creates ‘ Eve Clone’ as an incarnation of desire itself, cloning herself and sustaining her life in the form of artificial life. The gaze of a viewer is her nutrient. As the viewer notices this uncanny visual relationship, he couldn’t help gazing at her enchanted images. Only if he keeps certain distance from her, he could repress his inner disturbances. The virtual world and the community connections that digital media constructs is not only a temporary spiritual healing place for the loneliness of the contemporaries, but also an imaginative expansion of future world. Undoubtedly, the contemporary real life is manipulated by this invisible spiritual domain. Wu Chi-Tsung transforms masterly the plastic boxes that the human beings overconsume and dispose of into ‘Crystal City’, not merely ironizing implicitly the contemporary consumerism, but also waking up the viewers to review the essence and the beauty of an object. They will find there is a lifelike rhythm as a crystallization. We all know how hard it is to resist one’s desire. The process of one’s inner battle and self-compromise day after day is like a ritual of survival. Huang Zan-Lun’s ‘Double’ implies this helplessly repetitive dilemma. Ingestion is one’s life instinct, but desire is the overexpression of one’s id. In the video ‘Double’, two human-deer hybrids automutilate and cannibalize each other; the sadomasochistic sacrifice becomes a law of desire. Nowhere such humanity leads human civilization to. In the three videos ‘Beautiful Day’, ‘The Piggy Song’, and ‘Very Funny – An Instant Imagination of a Disaster’ created by Chen I-Chun, the images under the incidental music sounding like a music box implies that the media hypnotizes the audience with sweet lies to cover up the dangers everywhere in our living environment. Once an incident has happened after a while, the instant attentions fade away as if the public and mass media get amnesia collectively. However, the physical pains and the psychological traumas victims never can get over with are not able to stop repeating the tragedy itself. The ubiquitous impacts of the media are like water that bears the boat is the same that swallows it up. Zhang Xu Zhan’s ‘Ritual of Cathode Ray Tube’ implies that the media manipulates collective consciousness so recklessly that the public deprived of the free will has nothing left but an empty corpse; eliminating the discordant voice to search for the conformity hides the crisis of killing creativity and imagination. How could we get out from such a dilemma? The notion of achieving the progress inclines to think about the relationship between human beings and the universe involving human subjects. The notion such as ‘Man is the master of his own fate’, ‘ Man can conquer the universe’ is of the Western mainstream values; ‘Return to innocence’, ‘Harmony between man and nature’ is the thinking with oriental spirit. The pure aesthetic relations of returning to nature is that Scottie Chih-Chieh Huang intends to retrieve the simple touching moments in his works ‘Dandelion Mirror’ and ‘Light Machine’ . In the former work, he conveys the pleasure of the overlapping of one’s mirror image and a dandelion’s image, as the appreciation of the Nature gives a viewer joyfulness. Imitating the shape of a plant’s stem, ‘ Light Machine’ shows its structural beauty under the lights and shades. Admiring the greatness of the Nature’s Order, we human beings should think over how to treat the Nature in a more modest attitude.

Art Works

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  • Revelation of Eve Clone I
  • Interactive Installation (3D Animation, Computer, Interactive System, Web Cam, Projectors, Stereo)
  • Dimensions Variable
  • 2011

‘Eve Clone’ is the artificial life that Pey-Chwen Lin creates with the help of technology. Besides her mutated look of human-cocoon or human-beast, in the forehead and the right hand of Eve Clone are the beast imprints ‘666’, implying that products of technology will take revenge and manipulate human beings. (Revelation 13:16~18). By means of the large interactive installation"Revelation of Eve Clone I", Pey-Chwen Lin criticizes the clone of technology products with the powerful female image that the Book of Revelation depicts: He said to me, “The waters which you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages. (Revelation 17:15) The woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.” (Revelation 17:18)

In this installation, the image of ‘Eve Clone’ continues 360 degree rotations and repeats the playout delay, to represent its reproducibility. At the bottom of the image there are the quotations from the Book of Revelation in six languages, to narrate and define the role of ‘Eve Clone’ and her ultimate fate. Moreover, the numbers that the computer calculates automatically represent her life index, to emphasize the artificial life power of ‘Eve Clone’. When a viewer enters into the installation, he turns on her life index showing the Time Code, which is the millisecond that human beings and she live in. The hymn-like incidental music enhances the idol-like sublimity of ‘Eve Clone’. As the viewer walks away, the life index stops so that the color of ‘Even Clone’ turns into black-and-white. It implies artificial life is not able to be independent. The artist proclaims that human beings proudly challenge God’s originality with technology, which cannot replace real life. Although the technology human beings develop is extremely charming, it manipulates human destiny, leading to the Great Tribulation, as written in the Book of Revelation in the Bible.

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  • Portrait of Eve Clone
  • 3D Hologram, Acrylic Frame, Spotlight
  • 46×57.5x4cm each piece
  • 2010 – 2012

In the series of ‘Portrait of Eve Clone’, the facial images of human-cocoon and human-beast are created by 3D animation. In the forehead there are beast number ‘666’ in Chinese, English, Arabic, Egyptian, etc. As the Revelation depicts, He causes all, the small and the great, the rich and the poor, and the free and the slave, to be given marks on their right hands, or on their foreheads; (Revelation 13:16). Through the high-tech hologram and black acrylic frame, the gesture and the gaze of Eve Clone are shown at various angles. When a viewer looks at the portrait to his left or right, he will, surprisingly, find her gaze back at him. Behind the beautiful look lurks a crisis of temptation.
It is to symbolize that the attractive technology created by human beings turns out to be a counterattack on human beings themselves. This work gives us introspection, that human beings challenge God’s originality with technology, and will eventually face the fate of being manipulated by technology.

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