Tian Xiaolei,“An Unfinished Poem, animation, VR head set, computer, computer monitor, LCD screen, ink jet printed images

Tian Xiaolei,“An Unfinished Poem, animation, VR head set, computer, computer monitor, LCD screen, ink jet printed images

The title of this exhibition refers to the technological term “overclocking”, which describes a hacking technique in which a computer component such as a CPU is configured to run at a faster speed than specified by the manufacturer. This hack allows the computer to run at a higher speed at a lower price, but like pushing film to a higher ISO, overclocking can lead to instability in the system and unpredictable behaviour.

Employing this metaphor, the artist alludes to hacker culture and the “high-tech low-life” of cyberpunk, yet there is something distinctly missing from Tian Xiaolei’s VR-generated scenarios . . . perhaps it’s the “life”. We see a figure of Venus sprouting prostheses, a man caught in a loop of eternal/infernal ecstasy, and two CCTV cameras in a passionate embrace. Bodies are present in all of their magnificent VR/3D splendour, ready to fulfil our every command as we wield the joystick, prompting them to destructive acts.

Tian’s animations make it easy to envision the dystopias of “technological singularity” — the nightmare of runaway technological growth fuelled by a new form of artificial “superintelligence”. When AI allows for machines to upgrade themselves, who is holding the joystick?

Tian Xiaolei, “An Unfinished Poem, animation, VR head set, computer, computer monitor, LCD screen, ink jet printed images

Tian Xiaolei, “An Unfinished Poem, animation, VR head set, computer, computer monitor, LCD screen, ink jet printed images

Tian Xiaolei, Creation, vr animation, 5 mins 30 seconds, 2015

Tian Xiaolei, Creation, vr animation, 5 mins 30 seconds, 2015

About the exhibition

Dates: November 18, 2016-December 9, 2016
Opening Ceremony: November 18th 2016, 7:30 p.m.
Opening Discussion: November 18th 2016, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Venue: Department for Culture and Education of the German Consulate General in Shanghai (AKuB)
Curator: Rebecca Catching

Courtesy of the artist and Department for Culture and Education of the German Consulate General in Shanghai (AKuB).

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