Souls  2012-2013

Size:12.7×17.8 cm  Material: Black Glass  Alternative Process: Ambrotype

"Souls" are the youth portraits shot by 8 by10 large format camera and directly exposure on the black glass, which is the oldest alternative process called “Ambrotype”. I treat this intricate process as a way to adjust the state myself, in which I completely immersed without distractions. The features of this ancient craft actually help me remove people’s appearance of impetuous character and state of excitement, leaving an elongated space for me to have a dialogue with them and myself. I attempt to find out the controllability in a very uncertain image making process. Simultaneously, there exists a continually self-denial and identity in the repeated experiments. Since I put myself into it, I return to a calm state which is my goal to find the inner peace. Unlike snapshots, it can not be immediately showed up while it is a ritual overawed by each participant. The solidification of the faces on the glass are like permanently sealed life and time. Especially in this rapidly changing era, unduplicatedness and uniqueness are precious.

Spiritual Reality  2013
Performance  Single-channel Video. (color, sound)  Duration: 23 min, 28 sec.

When being in the environment of western culture, I am looking for my existences via oriental culture spontaneously. Compared to the characteristics of industrial civilization - practicality, the great wisdom of eastern culture can not materialize and be turned into a benefit. The performance of Spiritual Reality is me writing the Heart Sutra on rice paper with pure water, in which there is nothing left at the end. Everything returns to its origin although the process of writing the text continues for a long time. Audiences are in the front of the paper seeing my shadow of writing. It contains an essence of oriental culture which is the wisdom of life. People who write Heart Sutra know it, per se, has no meaning and explanation while being understood by copy and recite thousands of times. That is the reason why I choose to write it not anything else like lyric, otherwise, it turns out differently. Usually, people are anxious for success and prefer to get a quick result, not willing to do things took time but without seeing the benefit. What I achieves is something invisible but it has become part of mine, which I intend to take audiences for a ride and compel them to think in this tough and durable time.

Untitled  2013

Performance  Single-channel Video. (color, sound)  Duration: 8 min, 12 sec.

Untitled is composed by several pieces of me continually writing my name of pinyin in different contexts. Since I came to United States, I don’t have an English name. I just want to keep my original name and declare that if you are foreigners, please remember how to spell my name. Also, for me, the writing process contains the alternant self-doubt and approval. Since the childhood of inferiority complex, I develop my own self-confidence by achieving the goal I set for myself. This is a behavior that I convince myself of existence here when being in an unfamiliar environment.

Beyond the Surface  2014-2015

Beyond the Surface is an interactive handmade book, which is also a project inspired by my critical thinking of the conflict and harmony between the eastern and western culture. When I first came to the United States, the giant changes of cultural environment and speech space triggered my curiosity of surroundings. While accepting the cultural differences, I start to gaze at the previous education I had and think about both niceness and defects of western and eastern cultures. Then, to rethink about what is real and what is fiction, I determine to dig out the truth beyond the surface.

In the book, I have images edited into an interactive reading and create a relationship among the objects I shot in the different time and places, attempt to built up a variety of possibilities to read images. Freedom of editing is like memory, repeat or jump. Designs like turning an overlapping image, opening a window or folded the images are all intended to lead the audiences to discover and reveal the subtle links hidden beneath the daily reality.

Chinatown Project  2015
Contains photography and video

Chinatown Project is mainly about how people build up their own city in a foreign land and how they survive there. Chinatown almost exists everywhere in the United States. However, so-called “Chinatown” is not a real China but an interestingly culturally mixed and conflicting society of the spectacle. Chinese people as a large group of immigrants, who have the same system of language, common culture and habits, also the primordial attachment, successfully build up a town for themselves to live in the US. The United States is a country where people from all over the world can find out their own cultural space and environment. Since I am originally from China, I have the comparative eyes on this special immigrate culture. The spectacle of Chinatown, in a way, leaves an impression of China on the other nations, which is incomplete and one-sided. No matter what aspects they present have adapted the value of western world. Comparing to the fast developed China, the Chinatown shows an obsolescent appearance, as well as the functions.The new Asian center gradually forms, the immigrates’ values are being blended into an evolving multicultural lifestyle beyond the ethnic background. It is a result of acculturation and cultural integration.

Chinatown project reveals the discuss about dissimilarity of East-West culture, the adaptation and evolution of national culture happen in the exotic environment. The full-integrated spectacle involved the discourse about acculturation, cultural value, multiculturalism, liberty of belief, national psychology, Chinatown-economic adaptation and ethnic identity of the Chinese.

The video is an interview of a Taiwanese who is in an illegal status living in the New York. It is an individual case reflecting the common reality, as well as their attitudes and emotional changes on life. The questions like “do I want to stay" or “do I have ability to stay" are under thinking and struggling by everyone who comes to the United States. However, I am thinking of why people want to stay like crazy? What do people have to give up for this decision? If the younger generations still blind worship it without individual thinking?