The title of this exhibition, Do Androids Dream of Electric Cows, sprang from a dream the artist dreamt a year ago. After googling around, he found out it is very similar to the plot of the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the basis of the film Blade Runner. The virtual environment of VR in the work comes from his vision of the details the novel didn’t care to elaborate.
Androids pose an ontological question concerning the real and the virtual: can androids perceive the world as humans do? Like other sci-fi questions, it is about not so much imaging the future as revealing the present life. The novel takes us to a cold and gloomy Los Angeles of thick apocalyptic air that has some striking similarities to today’s world: serious environmental pollution pushes humans to the brink of extinction, and the survivors tries to perfect their robot pals (electric sheep) to infinitely diminish the gap between various functions of the androids and those of humans. Thus arises the problem of equality between the androids and the humans. In fact such a question have occurred to us in the human history, only the foreign side being substituted from androids to aliens, the colonized people, household AI, etc. The theoretical basis of such questions is: no matter how low the value of a being is, it has its unquestionable right of deciding for itself. Nevertheless, the virtual-worlds versions of ourselves in this digital era are starkly different from androids, because those versions are our identities in the virtual worlds, inseparably connected to ourselves. They are part of the reality, as well as an extension of the reality.
This exhibition tries to explore the delicate umbilical cord connecting art and technology, and the ontology of VR. It displaces the labyrinth constructed from one-sided mirror and the VR spaces, and audience will walk inside the physical space of the labyrinth, wearing VR glasses. The setup of the VR space is not fixed, which is different from the physical labyrinth. The physical labyrinth imposes restrictions on the moving of visitors, so that the rift between the virtual space and the real space be enlarged and studied. And the visitors who wears VR glasses and fumbles their ways in the maze, together with the maze itself, constitute a view. The metaphors of class and power hidden in the digital VR technology are revealed through watching and being watched.
The puzzling yet electrifying experience in my VR maze, abstracted imagery produced by his algorithm in De Shan Shui, they all constitute to his fascination with establishing and breaking rules and standards. They welcome him to an abstracted baseball field. He teams up with players on the other bases. His work is the trace of sound of batting, and the frictions and dusts from oversliding. He beholds a sense of the Impossibility of Improvisation, which is variation arises from standardizations. Here, he expects the astonishing of unanticipated.
About the exhibition
Curator: Qiu Zhijie
Dates: Sep 28, 2017 – Nov 19, 2017
Opening: Sep 28, 2017 16:00 Thursday
Venue: Gallery Yang
Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Yang, for further information please visit www.galleryyang.com.