Digital and Transcendental, Death and Light, 2019



“Last summer I started having panic attacks. I was in the cinema when it first started; when I realized I could not breathe, with my heart pounding fast and my vision blurred. As I struggle to catch my breath, I experienced immerse fear - the fear of death. It crawled out my senses and called upon my primitive angst. I was sent to the hospital’s emergency room, where I stayed till the dawn of the next day. Along with a series of examinations and blood tests, they found nothing wrong. Yet ever since my first panic attack, I have become very paranoid. It has reached an extreme that I would be horrified by simple “goodbyes”, as if they were the final farewells to my life; as if I would never wake up again once I close my eyes.”

Embarking from my personal experience of panic attacks and the subsequent struggles to recover, I have complied a series of work titled “Digital and Transcendental, Death and Light”.

The series surrounds some fragmentary contemplations on the issue of death and existential anxiety, while simultaneously illustrates on how mindfulness and interconnectedness played a role in my recovery.

Through employing different artistic media such as photography, installation, porcelain and found objects, I probe into the different poetic moments and rumination I encounter in my daily and digital life.


The works are as followed (click for work details):



Mark



Eventually Obsolete, 2018


Eventually Obsolete” is a body of work consisting of seven individual pieces of photographs and photographic installation surrounding an old CRT monitor manufactured in the year of 2000.

The project structures as an exploration of the ontological relationship between humanity and technology in the digital era.


The seven works are (click for work details):




Ever since humanity proceeded into the realm of digital reality, technology has become an integral part of our daily lives and continue to define our existence. Under such Zeitgeist, I interrogated the nature of humanistic being, realizing how we are still undeniable human and fragile. Despite the sophisticated technology we have built, we will still eventually die.

Such idea of fragility is not exclusive to humans, but also applies to technology - something we thought of only being instrumental with no warmth. In fact modern technology is designed to become obsolete and just like us, faces eventual “death” and termination.

The body of work, consists of seven individual pieces, surrounds an old CRT monitor manufactured in the year of 2000. The outdated CRT monitor was first dissected, with its internal parts and elements taken out. The elements of the monitor were then subsequently juxtaposed with various parts of the human body with a matching nature, creating 7 individual pieces of works that stand as hybrids between humanity and technology.

Through such juxtaposition, I aim to compare the idea of “planned obsolescence” in modern technology with the eventual death of human beings. The two seemingly opposite parties (Technology vs. human) in fact face the same destiny of eventual termination; that technology dies just like humans. Through realizing the ephemerality of both technology and humanity, I wish to suggest a new perspective on how we should understand technology and ourselves under the zeitgeist of the digital era.





Mark



A Mark (Self-Portrait), 2017


Archival Inkjet print with Arcylic facemouth on Dibond
101.6 x 127 cm


















The work explores the expansion of photographic narrative through the combined use of photography, art object and performance.

The displayed photograph is a long-exposed record of a performative act carried out by the artist. The artist put on black paint on the wall while wearing black clothes.Through long exposing the action with photography, the action of the artist was captured and simultaneously blended with the traces he left on the wall (the black paint). The infusion of the action and the related traces resulted in one unified mark on the wall, drawing an analogy to our state of being; in which our existence is the a combined state of our action and the subsequent traces.

Beyond the photographic image, the display of the brush expanded the narrative by providing an indexical embodiment of what had happened in the performance, showing remnants of the past - the black paint that’s now dried. With the brush being framed, it resembles the idea of a relic, tackling the notion of the past and the idea of a historical material. Despite the photographic image being abstract and obscure, the brush shows a light trail of what had happened and imposes the presence of the person who once used the tool.

Overall, the work tackles the state of being and the subsequent record and traces of our presence.




Mark



The Flag Of Hong Kong, Waving In Wind, 2017


Inkjet Print Hahnemühle photo paper
120 x 79.8 cm or 70 x 46.7 cm





From September 2014 onwards, I could no longer see clearly. I could no longer see clearly what was in front of me; as if I am in the middle of a grey storm; blown against by a rapid wave of wind. My vision is confused with anxiety and fear. Through this series of works, I wish to depict the underlying emotions and agitation in Hong Kong through photographic representations, while meditating on this society’s transition, and social and political instability.

The series captures small, yet radical gestures of the flag of Hong Kong. While waving in wind, the flag was documented using photography and presented as visual abstractions. In its sculptural shapes and forms, the flag metaphorically resembles human gestures that are indicative of complex and intense emotions such as fear, anxiety, anger, and weariness. The visual purpose of a flag is to connote the existence of a group; similarly, the gestures of the flag in these images also physically and symbolically depict the underlying emotions of such a group: the emotions of Hong Kong citizens when facing the instability and transition of society.

Through constructing an alternate visual reality in photography, this series questions how reality is represented in photography, as well as points towards how a constructed reality reflects the actual state of Hong Kong and its people. By condensing a wave of wind into ten frozen moments in time, the series allows the audience to contemplate with each discrete gesture of the flag. Through photography, the once-dynamic flag is decisively frozen and divided into individual forms and figures. Despite the individuality of each frozen moment in the series, the body of work also functions as a sequence when being viewed as a unit: while every image presents a unique gestural form, they all share a sequential relationship when viewed together. As a sequence, the images poetically reconstruct the movement of the wind blowing through, reenacting the flow of the wind. While one can never truly see the wind, its presence is evoked through the movement of the flag, vividly manifesting the flow in transition.

Overall, The Flag of Hong Kong, Waving in the Wind explores an alternate photographic reality while simultaneously reflecting the actuality of Hong Kong and the perplexing emotions of its people. Underneath the physical instability of the flag lies a convoluted stream of emotions and agitation of the people in Hong Kong, one that originates from insecurity, anxiety, and fear regarding the uncertain transition into future. As a part of Hong Kong, I share the same deep emotions and agitation when I see the current turmoil in society, and feel disturbed when thinking of the future. I do not know the answers to my queries towards the future, nor the way out of the chaos, yet it is in this special moment in time when we are truly honest towards our own emotions, exposed and laid bare before the unknown future.



Mark



Celestial, Lake Michigan, 2017


Inkjet Print Hahnemühle photo paper, vintage poetry book
20 x 16cm
25 x 19.5cm
On Thanksgiving morning, 2016, I took a photo of Lake Michigan during my visit to Chicago, Illinois. Later that afternoon, I found a book written by a poet called Harriet Spar Schultz in a secondhand bookstore. Inside were poems published back in 1975.



Mark
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