Summer Honors Project: Video Installation Proposal Abstract

For my honor project, Projecting Emotion: Multimedia Installation in Studio Art Practices, I will make a series of works using videos, projections, interactive designs as well as objects. The core of my project is rooted in sculptural issues and considerations. The project will explore and experiment with the idea of creating unreal events by making virtual light/virtual images, and how such virtual light/image exists in evolving cycles of rhythmic time and how it can be approached by or extend to our bodily senses. While a real event emanates from real circumstances, an unreal event is the tidbit of hallucinations gleaned from real circumstances put together to form a reproduction of reality. My work is an ongoing event of such reproduction. The medium of the reproduction can be divided into three components—light, time, and senses. The thin layers of virtual light (for example, in videos and projections), the rhythm and changing cycles of time, and the senses within or extending outside of bodies, all are the materiality and technique used in the making of unreal events. The light, rhythmic time and senses also become the texture and storyline woven into the unreal event. They are not separate factors but are intertwined with each other to form ideas and concepts and to complete the texture and structure of my work.

I have been taking various sculpture courses and did a one-year-independent study experimenting with videos, projections, installations. I started out making installations and wearable sculpture concerned with the idea of bodily senses. Meanwhile I started to use video and video projections to incorporate virtual light/images and the notion of time in my work. Alongside art making, I have been researching contemporary artists like Wong-KarWai, Robert Irwin, Satoshi Kon, Janet Cardiff and George Bure Miller, Maya Deren, Doug Aitken, and numerous others. Ideas in books such as Giuliana Bruno’s Surface: Matters of Aesthetics, Materiality, and Media, Madeline Schwartzman’s See Yourself Sensing, Samuel Beckett’s short plays, Yasunari Kawabata’s novel The Scarlet Gang of Asakusa, have also influenced my work.

I will start making video installations while also continuing to research artists working in various areas. I will use the summer to collect materials and further develop the conceptual framework that motivates and informs my thesis work. I will spend a month and a half in San Diego creating a large installation in collaboration with my brother who also studies studio art at the University of California San Diego. Our collaboration will explore ideas concerning virtual light, time and senses, and will incorporate videos, projections, sound, wearable designs as well as objects in the installation. The installation is to display the process of a mahjong game and the relationship between the four players at the four sides of the mahjong table, the north, the south, the east and the west. The emphasis is not placed on the game itself, but on the act of playing the game; the manipulation of the mahjong tiles among the four players constructs an unstable relationship within a competitive coordination. There will be four projected videos of four player’s hands playing mahjong, each one of the four projected. The four projected hands interact with or without each other as they become four virtual players. There will also be interactive designs in the wearable objects that transport the viewers’ perception through layers of the motion by the four virtual players. In this project I am to rearrange an unreal event in the form of mahjong in which the real game is transposed from conscious motion to the unconscious emotion. Through the continuous research of art works and ideas by reading, seeing art works, and by making the installation, I intend to progress in terms of not only skills (for example, video shooting/editing, interactive designs, constructing an installation space, etc.) but also more importantly development of concepts and methods to edit the materials. This summer project is a start of more thinking on what is more unfamiliar instead of the relatively familiar things I have been experimenting in my past works. Collaboration will allow me to see the work in a different way with a new perspective. The work will be exhibited in mid-June. Public presentation of the work will allow me to gain objective feedback and reflection, which will help to inform the work I will continue to create during the final year of my thesis.mahjong
(video screenshot)