Archives for posts with tag: Lisa Chang Lee

Delighted that my etching Forest of Eden has been selected for exhibition at AIR Gallery on the theme of the macabre with the exhibition renamed Memento Mori. What happens when we are confronted with the uncomfortable or visually grotesque? What makes the unappealing difficult to digest but impossible to turn away from?

The myth of the wild man stretches back to the tale of Gilgamesh’s quest for immortality.  In history the wild man’s characteristics oscillate between horror and fantasy. They reflect fear of the other as well as aspirations to be at one with nature often violating the taboos of civilization and symbolizing the repressed desires of society. This person who posts photos of himself in charged poses has become an internet meme shared with equal disgust and fascination. In this etching he is placed back in the ancient forest of all our origins.

I have completed the video commission Cosmic Chiasmus (crossing the universe) for Queen’s Hall Digital but am continuing research into cosmic rays. Around 10,000 muons rain down on each square metre of Earth’s surface every minute.

Muon tomography can be used to remotely explore dense matter for hidden voids. High energy cosmic rays such as muons pass through objects, but in doing so, some will be absorbed by the object and so fewer particles will arrive on the other side. This means sensitive muon detectors can be used like x-rays to determine the structure of extremely large and dense objects. This method has been used to reveal a mysterious, 30-metre-long hidden chamber in the 4,500-year-old great pyramid of Giza, to determine the inner structures of volcanoes and to study the damaged nuclear reactor at Fukushima, Japan.

The Robot, The Dentist and The Pyramid is a 45-minute Documentary (2020) from Ancient Architects

I have discovered an audio manipulation in Adobe Audition that makes my own voice acceptable to me as voiceover for my video work. So I have returned to the video Contingent Horizons, rewritten and recorded new dialogue.

This dialogue is based on the excerpts from popular online lectures that I had used before but I have reimagined some of these quotes and included ideas from ancient descriptions of the cosmos.

the nature of the world emerges from shifting patterns

between matter and myth

to the darkest North with moon on water

to the South with sunlit crystal

to the West with Earthbound cubic alter

to the East with circling zephyrs

walking

to know the land as a plotted dimension

as abstract space

as imagined space

Out of the studio:

Lisa Chang Lee Symphony Zero at San Mei Gallery. Beautiful work creating a fragile connection between humans and the natural world as rhythms coincide to create collaborative music. Plants swaying in the breeze are each represented by a musical instrument sympathetic to its form and its movement is transposed using algorithms applied using modes of symmetry and interval into musical scores which in turn are played by humans.

Less a building: Interactions with the London Zoo Aviary book launch hosted by Passengers at The Brunswick Centre. Transported by readings from the book of this iconic flight of fancy in architecture for avian captives at the zoo. A many layered and collaborative research project by Michaela Nettell with Marcela Araguez, Tim Dee, Polly Gould, Alex Hartley, Julie F Hill, Helen Jukes, Milena Michalski, Colin Priest, Ana Ruepp and Matthew Turner. Excellent writing and gorgeous artworks. Now I wish I’d visited the aviary more often.

Geographies of Print collective Without Horizon, Without Shore. Stunning installations set against the civic backdrop of the Old Lambeth County Court, an apt setting for work looking at passage of time, capturing the transient and the human condition.

Victoria Arney has used the sonograms of bird song to create sculptural woodcuts. Capturing fleeting moments within landscape.

Victoria Ahrens looks at erosion and disappearance, creating work in situ using the minerals present in the landscape to hand colour her prints. We think of colour as light bouncing off matter, some absorbed, some reflected, but this work really brings home how integral colour is to substance.

Carol Wyss uncovers the structures that shape us physically and bear witness human frailty.

Symbols made from bones connect us to the earth as origin and destiny.

Thom Bridge Only Similar or Equivalent at Best solo show at Staffordshire Street Studios. Incredible work with light taking the image into realms of physics and geology.

“The degree to which an image is like the world is a question not of fidelity- as a narrative of documentation or technological development would have it – but of equivalence, the role that an image plays in showing in showing, or demonstrating, representing or bringing into view. Equivalence takes priority over resemblance, because the task of the image is not to repeat the world, but to inform it, and by informing it, subtly alter it in turn.” Duncan Wooldridge

Chudamani Clowes in Figure It Out with the Neulinge Collective. Wonderful immediacy as always from Chud that cuts right through to expose the lived experience of those who migrate. Epic journeys bring stories and transformation. The coral is on the move.

Robert Good in Osmosis: experiments in permeability at Espacio Gallery with work that forces an examination of an addiction to media updates, digital clickbait and daily data news dumps. Assaulted by a tsunami of inane questions and disconnected headlines into a brain numbing torpor the need for space to think is made apparent.

A captivating telling of how magic is vital for our well being and should be sought not shunned. Mythosphere is a multi-media theatre production created by Inna Dulerayn presented by Bacchae productions in partnership with Stone Nest at the atmospherically derelict Old Welsh Chapel on Shaftesbury Avenue. Inspired by the life experiences and creativity of Leonora Carrington and the writings of Diana Wynne.

This is a story about magic. The magic that we lost. The magic that is a forgotten part of our nature. The magic that is our right to be divine. But we still sense it. We dream of it. We feel abandoned without it. We keep looking for it all our lives.

Reading:

I am still dipping into The Waves by Virginia Woolf which I was inspired to read after listening to the Art Fictions Podcast with guest artist Hannah Hughes speaking to Fiona Fullerton. I particularly love the interludes as the sun rises over the ocean and begins its journey across the sky. Like too rich chocolate cake the intensity of Woolf’s writing is delicious but can only be taken in small bites.

I have Chantall Powell to thank for flagging up the book The Philosophers’ Secret Fire: A History of the Imagination by Patrick Harpur. A fascinating book taking the view that just because something is not literally so doesn’t mean it isn’t ‘real’. As in Mythosphere the book seeks to rediscover the Otherworld of spirits, gods and daimons which the west has banished to the unconscious mind.

I was so excited to read the following:

“…daimons inhabit another, often subterranean world which fleetingly interacts with ours. They are both material and immaterial, both there and not-there – often small, always elusive shape-shifters whose world is characterized by distortions of time and space and, above all, by an intrinsic uncertainty.

The point is: the words ‘subatomic particles’ could be substituted for ‘daimons’ in the paragraph above without any loss of accuracy. This is not a coincidence – the subatomic realm, like the unconscious, is where the daimons took refuge once they were outcast from their natural habitat.”

As part of The Matter of Objects; Medieval and Renaissance Materiality in Contemporary Conversation project initiated by Queen Mary’s University  I have been paired with a research historian who has provided me with an image of an object that I will then respond to by making a piece of work.

2006AN0914_2500.jpg

The object I have been given is a 16th century fall-front cabinet probably made in India for a Portuguese merchant. I wanted to participate in this project because  I am interested in the physical matter of our surroundings and objects and also more intangible things such as aura of place and agency of object. I thought the period would also be interesting as a time when science and religion clashed as being the source of truth.

The project aims to bring together humanities researchers, artists and creative practitioners in discussions around these objects, their historical narratives, and their relevance to our world today. There is going to be an exhibition and launch event where artists and researchers will come together to discuss their processes of deconstruction, interpretation and creation.

It feels a bit like trying to discover an identity beginning just via the purely visual information from a digital image. I had no idea what a fall fronted cabinet would be so before I opened the image I had in my mind something much larger with perhaps some kind of carving that would reflect waterfalls or falling folds of fabric. Recent visits to Sutton House influencing me here with the linenfold wood panels perhaps.

1604 Linen fold panel.jpg

It was a lovely surprise to open the image and see something so intricate, ornate and compact. I am also influenced in my response by recent exposure to the Elizabethan polymath John Dee and his alchemical interests so all the little secret drawers made me think of what someone like him might have kept locked away.

1604 Last Tuesday Society.jpg

The patterns are complex with lots of triangles and geometric shapes mixed with other more organic patterns from nature. The stars and almost elliptical shapes seem to relate the heavens with the flower like patterns of earth.

1604 object drawer

It is an intriguing object  with its secret drawers hidden behind a front panel – it would involve a small ritual to lock away and then open up and lay out the front ‘carpet’ to retrieve the precious items from within.

I came across what may be considered another fall front cabinet in the form of a shrine containing samples of metal placed in beeswax, its provenance even more mysterious.

1604 Stine Nielsen Ljungdalh Shrine

1604 The-Hunters-of-the-Invisble-installation

Charlotte Bergson: The Hunters of the Invisible

 

 

Losing sense of what or who is real Charlotte Bergson: The Hunters of the Invisible curated by Stine Nielsen Ljungdahl at Stanley Picker Gallery presents a carefully crafted mythology that has such a coherence of intent it is hard to determine fact from fiction.

1604 Stine Nielsen Ljungdalh -Charlotte Bergson

Charlotte Bergson: The Hunters of the Invisible

 

The hexagon is a recurrent motif as is the duality of twins.

Photographs and artefacts are presented as documentation accompanied by an in depth publication The Zone – A Journey Towards the Centre which further bolsters the world of  Charlotte Bergson’s research into The Hunting Society. We are drawn into an illusory world where borders  blur and it is not clear whose identity is real, be it artist, archivist, or a society that once held secrets to an alternative origin of the universe, where alchemy and ritual were practised as heady truths.

This is about origins.

1604 ink in water

Trying to work out what is real. Sam Burford’s paper Searching for Traces of the Indexical within Synthetically Rendered Imagery presented at the Shadow Without Object symposium considers ways to understand the relationship in a simulated image between its genesis and its being made visible. The rendering equation introduced into computer graphics in 1986 created a breakthrough by enabling illumination in an image to be made by using the Monte Carlo method of geometric probability borrowed from particle physics theory.

Monte Carlo simulation is a statistical approach which is concerned with experiments employing random numbers. The light playing around generated objects in the image could be made to behave more like real light in its random scattering. These images still did not look real enough but everything changed in 2004 with the release of the Maxwell Render product which claims to render the perfect image. This new product could apply randomness in rendering to an image through an algorithm to add some noise and create what looks like in effect a low res image – this actually appeared more real.

1604 joep swagemakers

Photo realistic rendered images are almost impossible to identify as simulated and so to claim credit the author will often attach a proof rendering image. A bit like a birth certificate.

Stan Douglas in The Secret Agent at Victoria Miro uses digital rendering to create a series of large scale urban landscapes.

1603 Stan Douglas The Second Hotel Vancouver

Stan Douglas The Second Hotel Vancouver

Unsettling in their clarity of detail and targeted lighting they create a confusion, a bit like having a word on the tip of your tongue, they are almost something. Almost a photograph of something almost like a film set; too sharp to be a memory. Borrowing from film noir tropes we are segued into a similarly stereotypical digital underworld. The six screen feature length installation The Secret Agent operates in the same world of noir subterfuge but instead of digital fakery it is the over dramatic acting, simplistic plot line and raw characterisation where we must suspend our disbelief.

1603 Stan Dougls Secret Agent

Stan Douglas The Secret Agent (film still)

Graham Fagan explores the constructed nature of history through the stories myths and fictions that build a contemporary identity.

1601 Venice Graham Fagan

Graham Fagan

Pulling at threads of cultural difference but tying them together in a personal experience to engage emotion that doesn’t shy away from acknowledging conflict and injustice.

1601 Venice Scotland Graham Fagan (1)

Graham Fagan

Drawn through the faded splendour of Palazzo Fontana in Venice by the haunting mix of sea shanty and classical string arrangement of The Slaves Lament we are immersed in a melancholic beauty.  The words attributed to Robert Burns convey the debilitating heartache of being wrenched from home for cold cruelty.

Torn from that lovely shore, and must never see it more; And Alas! I am weary, weary O.

Colonialism is also referenced by C.T. Jasper and Joanna Malinowska in their video production ‘Halka/Haiti 18 48’05″N 72 23’01″w’ taking opera to the tropics.

1601 Venice Poland

C.T. Jasper and Joanna Malinowska Halka/Haiti 18 48’05″N 72 23’01″W

Inspired by Werner Herzog’s character Fitzcarraldo in the 1982 film of that name the artists expose the absurdities and examine the agenda of one culture imposing itself on another. In Herzog’s film, after many great struggles to achieve his goal, European Fitzcarraldo manages to drag a ship over the impeding mountains so he can export rubber, make his fortune and build an opera house in the Amazon basin. He only succeeds in this physical challenge with the help of the local natives. His undoing is in ignoring local culture. When his crew falls asleep, the native chief cuts the rope securing the ship and it floats away down the river. The chief’s actions are to appease the river gods who would be angry to see their waters circumnavigated and their power not respected.

Where do we begin to unravel our origins?  The location of the artists film found at the coordinates of the title ‘Halka/Haiti 18 48’05″N 72 23’01″w’ reflects the complexity and amorphous nature of national identity. It is a Haitian village inhabited by the descendants of Polish soldiers who fought for Haitian independence. Originally sent to put down the slave rebellion in 1802 these soldiers found themselves sympathetic to a local culture under oppression much as had happened in their own homeland and so joined forces with the locals in the Haitian revolution and subsequently made their home here.

Ivan Grubanov’s installation in the Serbian Pavilion United Dead Nations provokes questions about how national identity is created and the symbolism of the flag in that process. In scattered piles across the floor are the discarded flags of states that are no longer in existence since 1895 when the Venice Biennale began.

1601 Serbia

Ivan Grubanov United Dead Nations

The list is an obituary of creation, rule and disappearance. Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867-1918),the Ottoman Empire (1299- 1922), Gran Columbia (1819-1930), Tibet (1913-1951), the United Arab Republic (1958- 1971), South Vietnam (1955-1975), the German Democratic Republic (1949-1990), the USSR (1922-1991), Czechoslovakia (1918-1992), and Yugoslavia (1918-2003).

Romanian artist Adrian Ghenie paints emotional images exploring notions of survival and the fictions that define nations by questioning the truth of a collective memory.

1601 Venice Romania

Adrian Ghenie

Far And Few [Between] curated by RCA printmaking alumni Lisa Chang Lee at No Format gallery explores identity from the perspective of Chinese expats now living in the UK.

1603 Few and Far BetweenObserving the projection of the self creates a self consciousness that, like observing the path of an electron, is surely impossible to do without interfering with its trajectory.

1603 Few and Far Between Lisa Chang Lee

Lisa Chang Lee Habitat-1

 

1603 Few and Far Between Halli Sun

Haili Sun Curled Fugue

To question consciousness the works have a strong material presence linking identity to the land and the body and the interactions with the environment that build us.

1603 Few and Far Between Le Guo

Le Guo Koan

How we forge our path and face our own nature is a universal theme. The Mark Bruce Company tackled this through dance in a reworked telling of The Odyssey.

1603 Mark Bruce comapny.png

Mark Bruce Company The Odyssey

Like Pandora’s box it was an explosion of chaos as passions and demons were unleashed on stage leading and tormenting the wayward King on his epic journey, crossing lands beset with monsters and temptations to return home to face a Queen savage from years of despair.  In a vortex of kitsch high drama and inventive to the point of surrealism the story may have been obscured but the message that mortality is beset by challenges, and we must be cautious who we trust – least of all ourselves, remained.

Szilard Cseke’s installation Sustainable Identities is a sterile plastic environment.

1601 Venice Hungary (2)

Szilard Cseke Sustainable Identities

Large white balls move silently along plastic tunnels above our heads on predetermined pathways.

1601 Venice Hungary (3)

Szilard Cseke Sustainable Identities

Perhaps this is a warning of what our identity might become if we never leave the path to take that epic journey.  Or worse, we have our identity taken from us.

1603 the prisoner.jpg

Patrick McGoohan in The Prisoner 1967