Curator's Note [中文]
What is life? What is death? What is God? What is a ghost? These great questions that ponder the nature of life and reflect the principles of the universe have not only been the everlasting subject of philosophers' debates, but also have been an important theme for artists to create numerous breath-taking artworks. This means that in addition to the interpretations of today's mainstream religions, there exist alternative ways of thinking and experiencing that can be categorized as what are defined today to be philosophical and aesthetic. In fact, as many scholars have observed, due to the development of modernity and the flourishing of new communication technologies, people’s religious understanding and experience are no longer monopolized by large religious organizations. Everyone can find different channels to know different belief systems. They can easily explore different disciplines and refer to different theories, making their own comparisons and interpretations, and even establishing their own channels to share their views and experiences.
This phenomenon also develops in the field of contemporary art: artistic creation is no longer like a Renaissance work praising a specific imagination of divinity, but instead reflects the divinity experienced by artists in their own inward journeys or self explorations. This is the major curatorial theme of "Cross-Dimensions Transmission": with curatorial project, contemporary artworks and book fair, this exhibition offers multiple channels through which audience can create their own spiritual maps by references to artists' creations and readings. At Kaohsiung Main Public Library, 12 contemporary artworks are exhibited in the space of the 8th floor, and the book fair is held on the 3rd floor, displaying books recommended by the curator and the participating artists.
The exhibition starts with Chuan-Lun WU's work "Angle-Fortune"; the work uses 3D scanning and paper sculpture to reproduce the common religious stone towers in Korea. It's said that the higher and the longer a tower stands, the higher chance a wish can come true by. With mathematical algorism the artist calculates the angles of beliefs and desires, and echoes the exhibition theme of rationally rethinking religions. NING Sen's work "N1801" attempts to explore the near-death experience with virtual reality (VR). Different from the conventional way, the artist does not give participants exact images but requires them to close their eyes, creating the near-death experience with sole light, sound and somatosensory effects. He-Ling LO's "Digital Buddha" deals with subjects such as reality, virtuality, and representation in an intelligible way. The Buddha's form that is distorted in real life is reconstructed in the virtual digital world. The work brilliantly interprets the Buddhist concepts of emptiness and the Twelve Sacred Principles of Karma.
Technology is not only a method of understanding and reproducing mystic experience, but also a means of exploring the social functions/needs behind religions. Jui-lan YAO's work "印予召淮" uses the "shen-ma" (神禡) and the "seal" culture of Han ethnicity as elements, trying to reveal the mysticism nature of various bio-political ideologies in the modern state. Ting-Yu LIANG's "斷頭河計畫" uses Taiwanese folk religion, tribal beliefs, and animist communication as methods to conduct ethnic and historical studies which have been developed in the modern scientific practice from the West. It presents not only conflict but also integration between primitive mysticism and modern science. "綠水青山金山銀山" is an open ideographic (semi-linguistic) system developed by Sheryl CHANG in her research and artist residency journey in Naxi, Yunnan, China. Her work integrates her experience of working with local shamans and her long-term research/interaction with plants, medicinal materials, traditional Chinese medicine, human body, nature and society. Language has always been the symbolic embodiment of the world, universe, and values/ideologies of its users and groups; Sheryl's work reflects on the current mainstream ideologies and replaces it with another form of imagination of life that centers on nature and plants. Jia-Jhen SYU's "I collect a piece of you / you collect a piece of me" makes her private online diary into a fortune-teller card, becoming another ideographic technique that can explore one's psyche and even reveal the development of personal relationships. If the newly invented ideographic system can communicate and inform as much as ancient fortune-teller techniques such as tarot cards, sign poems, and the Book of Changes, this work touches the core of transmission across multiple dimensions. Tzu-Tong LEE's "#Ghostkeepers" uses modern social network as digital witchcraft to summon victims who died and were forgotten due to political violence in the past. The artwork not only shows the lasting religious needs of human society for exposing injustices since ancient times, but also proposes an alternative way for responding to this demand with modern technology.
The next four artists take media technology on board. I-Chun CHEN's works "The Legend of Shui-Yuan LIN" and "The Reel of Lin's Anecdotes" pay tribute to the deeds of the artist's grandfather, who was a famous Feng Shui master in town. The Artist uses symbols and modern animation technique to reshape and represent the form of ancient scroll. Xia LIN's "Alishan 1.0" explores the process of experience development and human's ability to train a robot-like human, with a series of methods such as repeating the initial cognitive field and individual's original state and restoring the formula for explaining the world. Through this reflection comes the future of (re)constructing life. Chun-Yu CHEN's work "聽說" uses techniques of facial synthesis and image superposition to create various expressions of gods, questioning the intermediary characteristics of prophetic words: whether the words are really instructions from gods, or they are from dishonest frauds? Yin-Ju CHEN's work "Extrastellar Evaluations III: Entropy : 25800" uses contemporary cosmological theories, the laws of physical thermodynamics, methods of modern news broadcasting, as well as historical video media to (re)construct the modern form of ancient doomsday prophecies. The artwork also reflects the current anxiety and reflection about anthropocentrism in the current era of the Anthropocene.
Obviously, besides religion and mysticism, technology is another important theme of this exhibition. Not only as mentioned above, the development of modern technology (especially the mass communication and online network) grants everyone numerous channels to learn, to re-interpret and to share mystic knowledge and experience. But also, our imagination of technology is always derived from mystic concepts of the past (like "cloud computing" V.S. "heaven", "VR" V.S. "guanluoyin" [觀落音; travels through Hell]). What's more significant may be what this exhibition reveals: the use of scientific and technological concepts and methods can help us to further simulate, experience, and understand various mystical ideas and states. Perhaps, at the junction where modern technology and mysticism collide and merge, we will be able to glimpse the essence of the two, and able to glimpse fractions of the truth of life synchronically with ancient philosophers.
curator：朱峯誼 feng-yi chu
artists：李紫彤 tzu-tong lee、林亭君 xia lin、許家禎 jia-jhen syu、吳權倫 chuan-lun wu、張欣 sheryl chang、陳依純 i-chun chen、陳瀅如 yin-ju chen、陳俊宇 chun-yu chen、梁廷毓 ting-yu liang、寧森 sen ning、姚睿蘭 jui-lan yao、羅禾淋 he-ling lo
dates：2020.11.11 – 12.6
exhibition design consultant：胡幼函 you-han hu
visual design：方曲 F.Q. studio、姚睿蘭 jui-lan yao
book fair design：林怡君 esther lin
web design：朱峯誼 feng-yi chu
executive support：莊萬里 wan-li chuang
facebook page design：姚睿蘭 jui-lan yao
special thanks： 鄭文琦 rikey tenn 、顏群 china yan、周季濂 D.C chou、錦大室內裝修工程行、水谷藝術 waley art
講者：高千惠 chien-hui kao
講者：印卡 enkaryon ang、朱峯誼
地點：高市圖總圖 3F 階梯閣樓
主題：「測量與再現 vs 除魅與再魅：當代藝術、科技與神秘主義」
地點：高市圖總圖 3F 階梯閣樓