Faster, Brighter, Better;
Faster, Brighter, Better;
Faster, Brighter, Better.
Artists and scientists alike wish for a faster brighter better future: more content held by a microchip, faster speed of transmission, a larger audience equipped with smartphones. Technological advancement today promises a pivotal point in the history of art both in production and distribution. At the same time, technology, democratized and popularized by the force of consumerism, seduces art to turn itself into a sensational spectacle.
YveYANG is interested in tech art that opens the frontiers of incorporating art and technology, but shows the artist thinking critically through an art practice that uses technology as a means of facilitation, not an end. For the ninth edition of SPRING/BREAK NYC, YveYANG proposes to present works by Chando Ao, David OReilly, and Wang Ye. Together, these artists provide a tentative answer to tech-based artmaking that transcends consumption by technology, protects its viewer from being consumed by a tech-driven culture of spectacles, and in turn serves as an example of robust tech art.
David OReilly’s Instagram AR filters “SIMULATION” and “It’s Always You” reinvent the purpose of their medium by introducing a narrative. In several scenarios, the user watches an AR representation of the self that looks at a screen, or at another representation of the self. “It’s Always You” completes its story arc within 15 seconds, while “SIMULATION” is an animation consisted of nine fifteen-second-long chapters. Limited to the length of a single Instagram story, each chapter is a version of one’s journey from birth to death. Compressing so many scenarios of AR effects into the 2-megabit limit of an Instagram filter program, OReilly may be the first creator to introduce exteriority and narrative into Instagram filters, and he may also be the first to use social media to distribute his work so widely at such an explosive speed: these filters reached an impressive half billion uses within a week of their release date.
Chando Ao’s “Mirror” installation enhances the quotidian act of looking in the mirror. The viewer sits in front of a digital screen that shows the viewer’s profile, an angle that is normally hidden from the self. When the viewer looks to the side, the reflection is shown on a single-sided mirror, underneath which the viewer’s expression is captured by a Facemoji. For Ao, both the profile and the virtual representation add different reflections that complicate one’s self-recognition. The artist envisions a future when the digital mirror, with its ability to multiply the self, will replace optical mirrors used today. Overtime, “Mirror” would fundamentally change self-perception from a flat physical frontal image to a digitally-represented version of the self, imaginable from all angles. Ao is interested in using technology to map out new ways of looking, therefore helping his viewers participate in a shared prelinguistic experience. As an example, “Mirror,” a tool built with existing technology such as web cams and digital screens, reflects Ao’s desire to invent new ways of relating to the self.
“Ctrl!” is a jerk-off instruction video designed by Wang Ye in the abstinent style. Using universal colors – red background for stop, green for go – and elements – the font is the same as German traffic signs –the artist attempts to zero in on the power dynamic between the instructor and viewer/performer that underlies the fetish genre of pornography that is jerk-off instructions. What gives this video an effect of sensory overload is the added voiceover text. Quoted from Jean Baudrillard’s book Seduction, the intellectual audio text distracts from the philistine visual text of instructions, creating a pressure and tension in the audience that mimic the tension felt by the viewer/performer in a jerk-off instruction video. As the AI voiceover observes, pornography is filled with close-up images of nudity that are an “excess of reality, this hyperreality of things. The only fantasy in pornography, if there is one, is thus not the fantasy of sex, but of the real.” Ironically, by stripping his video of any sexual image, Wang Ye replaces the excess of nudity with the excess of distraction and tension, pushing the viewer to feel the delicate power shift between participants in sex. Wang thus restages a dance on the theme of balancing power in one’s most vulnerable and authentic moments – a dance that is overshadowed and buried by commercially produced pornography and our society’s enterprise of sex.
(Words by Tina Shan)
Chando Ao(b.1990, China & US) lives and works in New York and Shanghai. He received his BFA from Tufts University, School of the Museum of Fine Arts in 2016. He is the recipient of The Chan Sculpture Award receiver in 2015. Chando Ao's recent exhibitions include "In Real Life", Asia Now (curated by X Zhu-Nowell) (2019, Paris), West Bund Art & Design (2019, Shanghai), "Ecological Dreaming" (solo) curated by Stamatina Gregory (2019, New York), Dream Video 100 (2018, Shanghai), “Time Square” at YveYANG Gallery (2018).
Tim Enthoven (b.1985, Netherlands) is a visual artist who lives and works in Amsterdam. He received his MFA from the Yale University School of Art and a Bachelor of Design (Hons) in communication from Design Academy Eindhoven. He works with drawings, installations and books. In recent years Enthoven exhibited at Fons Welters Gallery in Amsterdam, Abrons Art Center and Yve Yang Gallery in New York City, Untitled Art Fair San Francisco, Antenna Space and West Bund Art Fair in Shanghai, Espacio Odeón in Bogotá, the Lisbon Architecture Triennial, and Annual Reportt in Copenhagen. He has published two books, his debut Binnenskamers in 2011 and The Tiny Tim in 2012. Enthoven is a regular contributor to publications such as The New York Times, The New Yorker and Le Monde. For his work he received multiple awards and grants, amongst which a Plantin Moretus Award, a D&AD award, an ADC Award, the Rene Smeets award, a Prins Bernhard Culture Fund scholarship and a Keep an Eye Grant.
Sam Ghantous (b.1989, Canada & US) operates at the edges between architecture, art, and new media. His recent work contends with image culture and technologies, with works spanning the likes of a twitter bot, iOS sticker set, Augmented Reality, screenshots, softwares, and more. He received a Master of Architecture from MIT where he now is an instructor. Sam has been published in Thresholds and PLAT, and has exhibited in New York, Shanghai, Cambridge, and Toronto.
David OReilly (b.1985, Ireland & US ) is an artist, film-maker and game designer whose distinctive style has made him one of the most respected and influential creative voices of the contemporary scene. Creator of the groundbreaking animated films Please Say Something and The External World, his work has won numerous awards and been the subject of several retrospectives internationally. OReilly served as the writer for the television shows Adventure Time & South Park, and created the fictional video games in Spike Jonze’s Academy Award-winning film Her. In 2014 he released his first game Mountain and in 2017 released his second game, Everything, which is a metaphysical tour de force that suggests entirely new directions for games as an art form. OReilly’s works were also exhibited and screened at IMMA (Dublin), Philadelphia Museum of Art, Berlin Art Week, Centre Pompidou, SFMOMA and Shenzhen Animation Biennale.
Bjørn Sparrman (b. 1989, US) lives and works in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He received his BFA from Calvin College in 2012 and his Masters of Science in Art, Culture and Technology from MIT in 2016. He is currently Project Lead at the MIT Self-Assembly Lab, a cross-disciplinary research design group. With the lab and in collaboration with many artists, designers, and companies, including Google, Steel- case, and BMW, Sparrman frequently exhibits work internationally: at the V&A London, the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, the Milan Furniture Fair, Design Miami, and Ars Electronica in addition to others.
Wang Ye (b. 1991, China & US) graduated from the Design Department of Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2013 in Beijing. In 2017, Wang Ye graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts from the Sculpture Department of Yale University School of Art. Ye works in multi-media projects that combine video, sculpture, handicraft, and installation. The artist learned traditional fishing net knitting from his hometown. Currently, he is studying the Hunan Embroidery technique. Ye draws inspirations from folk art as cultural heritage often reveals how aesthetic and value form and evolve.