Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lost in Simulation

                                                                Lost in Simulation


I give a double title to the video I made, the original one is in Chinese like showed in the beginning of the video "Tai, Wei". It is quite complicated to explain what does it mean in chinese and once I do explain it clearly, it loses that sense of meaning I'd like to keep, so I also titled it " Lost in Simulation" in English, which would also translate the idea I embedded in making the video. Besides that, this is an attribute to "Lost in Translation". And this was also inspired by Bill Viola's video "first dream". 

The sense of simulation begins in the beginning where I deliberately repeated one part for multiple times, yet everywhere there's a slight differences. I also borrowed the soundtrack and the title from the movie "Lost in Translation", simulating the movie in a way. 

Throughout the video, the camera lens acts like human eyes. Whenever the image get blurred it's because the eyes are filled with tears and slowly blinks. So I was hoping this video makes the viewer to look at the part of the city the way I was looking at it when filming. Approaching the end of the video, the sounds of the streets fade away and disappeared because I was dived into my thoughts, so I hope that psychological state could be represented in a digital way, that the mind was filled with nothing but thoughts, and that there was no sounds. In the end one could hear my voice, I am not gonna say a lot about what I was saying, I'd like to keep that. 

As for me, the emotions I put in the video are subtle and personal. But I do not want my own experience and perspective to limit the interpretation for other people, therefore I am not unfolding the whole story. The video was completely shot in taipei, taiwan. The interesting story is that Taipei as a city is largely influenced by Japanese culture, especially in terms of pop culture. So the city feels like Tokyo somewhat, that is where I feel like simulation comes into play. In this video, I interrogate the relationship among reality, symbols, and society like Jean Baudrillard did. The two different cultures that I most resemble with and feel related two mingled together, yet it was elusive and undecipherable, it was familiar and strange. I hear the same language (Chinese) but the place was not my home land. In many aspects, this is a drifter's monologue about her feelings towards the uncertainty in the world. While in the movie "Lost in Translation", Charlotte was in a totally unfamiliar place hearing strange language, I was in a different situation, yet I feel how she felt. In journeys of life, sometimes man could not see how to unveil the face of the future, you feel lost, you feel miserable. I was visting some elder friends, whom almost age the same as my grandparents, (and Charlotte was hanging out with Bob all the time in the movie, who is also a lot older than here), so I could not feel any more related. 

Let me end this post with two of my favorite quotes from "Lost in Translation".

"Let's never come here again because it will never be as much fun."

"You'll figure that out. The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you."




Monday, April 22, 2013

Creative = Artistic ?

       
BIll VIOLA


      Last week Lawrence University had it's first convocation of the spring term, and the guest artist was Bill Viola,  according to Wikipedia, Viola is "a contemporary video artist, who is considered a leading figure in the generation of artists whose artistic expression depends upon electronic, sound, and image technology in New Media. His works focus on the ideas behind fundamental human experiences such as birth, death and aspects of consciousness. " 
       I've seen the video of " The Reflection pool" before, that one made a deep impression on me. And after three other screenings and attending his speech, I found something quite interesting about him being an artist, that somehow he has this obsession with the theme of waters. His videos that I have seen so far are all related to waters.  Needless to say, " the Reflection pool" is all about waters; " Fire woman" strongly utilized waters as the major visual effect, the water scenes and fishing scenes in "Hatsu-Yume", so does many of his other works. Even when he talks, his use of language has so many metaphors that's water,river, and sea-related.  I guess it might be strange to notice, but I am so convinced that Bill Viola is very attached to the idea of waters flowing. It does reminds me of an old saying in China, “Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it”.  Even though Bill Viola did not mention a thing about waters at all when he talked about his sources of inspiration,  I still found this particularly interesting, and still wonders why he didn't talk about it. 
        I really do like some of his works, he is truly a pioneer in a sense. But there are times that I do not understand what he was trying to say in his works. All of his works are sort of strange, novel, slow, and quite even. Yet the imagery effect was quite the opposite, it silenced the audience and made them wondering, what is this feeling? what's going on? His works are very effective for sure. I enjoyed some of his works, but I could not literature how I feel about his work "hatsu-yume", before seeing it I expected that I would feel most-likely related to it somehow, since I know that language(the title) and where it's being filmed. But it occured to me that the video was so elusive. 
            Yet, I do strongly agree with what he said that " all of us are artists because all of us are creative."  Everyone has the ability to create art, to see art and to appreciate it, just in different forms and routes perhaps. Nevertheless, I feel that creativity is not a guarantee.  The greatest artists should always be honest, their works are always unpretending in a way that the viewer could feel the sincerity and sympathize with it. That is what I mostly believed about creating good art. Creativity gives you the key, but to open the door, you need to know where to stand and where to hold, and that’s what’s really taking practice. 





Here is one of his work

the reflecting pool
      
      

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sonja Thomsen Reflection

       Photographer Sonja Thomsen visited Lawrence last week and had given a wonderful lecture about herself and her works. And I did not know her until then. Her name is new, so is her perspective

       She showed several of her works, and I was attracted to the way that the relationship of light in her works in a way that she is almost taking advantage of it rather than being directed by it. The way she manipulated lights in one of her exhibition was very enchanting, it's like she "cheated" the audience but the audiences would be only stunned at the effects!

and here are some of some works of her that I found interesting.