Borrowed from the WeChat function where one can see how far away other
people are from oneself, the title of the exhibit “PEOPLE NEARBY” captures the unique interplay between the physical world and the virtual world that is increasingly more evident as technology changes. However, capturing is not enough for us. We are questioning, upholding, stretching and crumpling this concept. In short – we are playing.
The blurring between virtual and physical is already taking place in the economic sector. Marketing recently coined the term “omnichannel” to describes an idea that in China, the shopping experience must fully encompass the online and offline existence of the consumer. In 2015, around 50% of consumers shopped on their phones. Now, over 80% of commerce in China takes place through a mobile device. Thus, marketing wants an experience of the on/offline that is consumer-oriented & user-friend The shift has forced companies to thinking about revenue-making past the retail shop, to commodify on the space/s we are consciously playing with in this show.
We are not marketers. We are not for profit. We are even bankrupt. Thus, our omnichannel is not interested in the user as center of attention. We do not need to cater to a user. Instead, PEOPLE NEARBY proposes an experience of the Internet that is tied to its material and economic reality. We have geolocalized the website so that it is only accessible within a range of the gallery. WE have limited the wifi use so that the artwork can only be experienced through laptops in this room.
By doing so, our exhibition even resembles a 网吧 or internet café. As viewers, we must watch our screens in communion, creating a space of interaction that is mediated by laptops, data and wifi connection. Whether the webpage and the artworks load or not is completely dependent on the digital terrain of basement6 (a terrain defined by cost). PEOPLE NEARBY works with the assumption that the Internet has a certain geography we cannot fight against, but must work within.
While internet connection in the West tend to give users an illusion of power and sovereignty, we are here submitting to higher powers.
But submission does not mean immobility.
We still move. We play.
particularly grateful to - lucy wang, daniel hoogstraten, wang rou, li huihui, katy roseland, weini tey, liz ki, anneliese charek & everyone else from basement6
Cindy Gao - Small Manias
A video piece about intrusive thoughts, self-help, and warm-blooded fish. Small Manias is in many ways a collage where commonplace images of everyday life in China are juxtaposed with quotes compiled from self-help books, Tumblr, Wikipedia & other sources. The result is an absurd yet jarring experience where the the physical world and the inner life are conflated into a unique temporal experience, a video that resides in two different dimensions and yet is only accessible through the gallery's limited wifi data plan. It asks us to navigate multiple physical & figurative spaces, to give in to its absurdist nature, to consume it without knowing what the aftertaste will be like
Phoebe Petrovic - I Am Sending You A Message
"I Am Sending You a Message," inspired by Alvin Lucier’s “I am sitting in a room” (1970), erodes the emotional force of the words "I love you" with their own sound. The message degenerates from distinct words to indistinguishable tonality, turning into meaningless noise. The video experiments with Google's "voice typing," which transcribes the human voice into text. The software fails to capture the answering machine precisely and completely stops after several iterations. It fails to compute, to comprehend. Visually, the message disappears.
“我在给你发短信”，受Alvin Lucier的 “I am sitting in a room” (我正坐在房间里，1970)启发，用语言本身的声音侵蚀“我爱你”带来的情感力量。这句信息通过不同语言但相似的音调呈现出无意义的噪音模样。视频中Google的“语音输入”将人声转化成文字，软件并没有成功精确地捕捉到答录机，并且几次尝试后就罢工了。它没有能运转，去理解，而在视觉上，信息小时了。
Jeannie Rhyu - No Man's Land
Materials: mirror, wood, crystals, light, dry ice
“No Man’s Land” uses light to blur the boundary between the virtual and the physical reality.
The mirrored surfaces of the cube reflect the light off each other, creating an infinite virtual space within the mirrors. However this virtual space is merely an illusion provoked by the passages of light. In other words, this space is a no man’s land, unclaimed by any physical conditions or rules. However, by having the video mediate the experience of the sculpture, this no man’s land is captured by the lens of the camcorder. The “space” might not be real but it is now data, a file that “takes up space,” an online object that can be shared, a paradox of space and no space that no one and yet everyone can own - as long as they remain in the alternative reality of this exhibition space.
josue - don't screen record me pls
don’t screen-record me pls probes the fraught relationship between perception and reality, meaning and chance, intimacy and alienation, space and time. relying mostly on quotes from a variety of texts including fiction, emails, conversations and critical theory, the video text creates a narrative about my last two months in Shanghai - a narrative interested in the fleeting thoughts over events that took place, texture over cohesiveness, tangents over main point. it asks the viewer to reflect on the larger systems that mediate our understanding of how is it that we come to conclusions about what is real, what is irrational, what is worth remembering & what is worth deleting. the viewer is also invited to manipulate the viewing experience of the video however they see fit. this is/is not meaningful spam.
“请不要截屏我”来自于一种纠结的关系存在：感知与现实, 意义和机会 ，亲密和疏离，空间和时间。主要引用了众多小说、邮件、对话以及学术文章，视频文档，叙述我在上海的这两个月－意识流记录法－着迷的事件、超越理解的文字，稍纵即逝的醒悟。
jing- the making of
Equipped with only the most basic ideas of how to operate a 3D software, the artist intends to re- discover the structure of the most familiar object - a cup - through building a 3D model. A simultaneous process of construction and destruction, the project looks into the possibilities of how a seemingly simple object can go “wrong”, unpacks the intricacies that go into structuring something “normal”, and dwells on the idea of failing and the whims and hilarity that ensue. Hosted within a website confined to certain coordinates, these 3D sculptures are also trapped in limbo - dysfunctional and physically impossible, they are wanna-be objects that could never materialize in reality.
Worakit P - Re-narrating Intangibility
Adopting the habit the record memories has enabled Kit to explore the connection between memories and how the mind stores them. Observing unconsciousness influences consciousness, the complexity of subjective remembrance through the re-narration of simple stored documentation
Carol Tam -Photo collage animation
Carol Tam strikes a structural presence in the dissection of architecture through space and image through her topological sculptures, photographic collages, and installations. In an act to manipulate the existing, a minimalistic approach in her practice highlights a compositional relationship to find stillness while challenging the attachment to illusion. The language of line, shape, and form is in response to process-based works
艺术家Carol Tam 通过空间和印象、拓扑雕塑、照片拼贴、以及装置而解剖建筑。为了操纵现实，她用一种最低限度理论来强调结构的关系而寻求安静和动摇我们对这个梦幻的感情。她用的线、形状、而体型都是她对有自然有故意的程序作品的反应。这些有干净又中性的作品体验了界限和限制的公立和私立的张力。
Weini Tey-glitch art
Pop culture gifs processed with Audacity, an audio processing program
lucy- The Art Is Not In These Pictures
The Art is not in these Pictures documents a conversation between two people who share the name Shirley—one Chinese-American, the other Shanghainese. But the most precious part, the content of the conversation (ranging from parental expectations to marriage to media representation of women) was not successfully captured by neither the photographs nor the written statements on the notecard. Nonetheless, this piece created a beautiful and honest conversation that would not have happened otherwise. And this too, is art.
fupa + li huihui + wang rou - the irresponsibility of building tall towers without consideration of the people who maintain them
With their phones attached to the ceiling and their WeChat screens broadcasted to the rest of the audience, Shali & Katy send each other content - images, gifs, memes, texts. However, they can only do so by lifting each other up, one climbing on top of the other despite stumbles and huffs to the improvisation of Huihui’s music. The transaction between all three of them happens in terms of content and labor as the audience witnesses the performers carry on an a game that verges on an absurdity similar to Sisyphus trying to reach the sun with wings made out of wax. In an exploration of communication & censorship within the Great Firewall, “the irresponsibility of building tall towers without consideration of the people who maintain them” renders public what is traditionally private, satirizes the difficulty of communication & criticizes the development of Shanghai - a city where skyscrapers mercilessly rise, forcing window washers to risk their lives in order to maintain an image of opulence. Communication is a game as absurd and dangerous as the profession of a window washer in Shanghai.
Wang Rou - Browser-based performance
Third installation in his browser performance series, Wang Rou relies on a DIY WeChat layout, a variety of Youtube clips (one of them being Justin Bieber getting shot), a series of emails and John Zorm music to explore the everyday rituals we have established in order to legitimize our virtual experience. Alternating between a quasi DJ, quasi-religious figure, Wang Rou creates a sensorial experience, a narrative where fragmentation and hyper connectivity are at stakes - an exorcism of the screen. He alternates between talking about a meditation technique combining all points in time and space and a paranoid narrative about his every move being watched by a hacker and developing stockholm syndrome to the person who is watching and keeping him psychologically captive, hoping that they would put together the sum total of his gestures and understand him better than he does - in that character the performance is basically a way of acting for the hacker's watchful eye in public hoping someone in the audience will identify themselves with him.