TO Tsz-sum Janice 陶芷琛 (HK|香港)

(in)constant 觀幻 (2018)

4-channel video installation, 3D animation, simulation modelling, computer-generated imagery, virtual landscapes created with Cinema 4D (a 3D modelling and animation software
Floor space: 3m diameter
4視頻錄像裝置,3D動畫,仿真模型,電腦成像,利用 Cinema 4D(三維模型和動畫軟件)創建的虛擬景觀,佔地面積:3米直徑

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Synopsis

Driven by the quest for what ‘truth’ lies between the world in which we live and the fragmentary nature of the simulated world of digital media, (in)constant reaches out to viewers to provoke new awakenings: How do we pay attention? What is there beneath the surface of imagery? In our digital milieu, is the link between the phenomenon (the perceptual surface) and essence (what lies within) what we assume it to be?

(in)constant interrogates “forms” in digital art by using moving images built with 3D animation tools to play with simulations of nature.  Highlighting the Zen concept of “impermanence” (諸行無常) and the “negation of negating apparent truths” at the enlightened stage, (in)constant sets up materiality and motion as two interchangeable attributes among different objects found in the natural world, such as waterfalls, clouds, mountains, bodies of water and so on. Unfolding as a time-based work, simulated ‘waterfalls’ re-granulate into an ocean, and ‘cloud’ washes off ‘mountains’, rendering shapes as questionable shells, with the recurrent shifts of forms the only constant.

The drama of recurrent shifts in form is played out on 4 digital devices that form a machine sculpture.

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Site view of Janice To’s (in)constant, 27 December 2018, City Hall Exhibition Hall

簡介

為求證在有形的世界和數碼媒體的模擬世界之間所存在的「真實」是怎樣的一回事,陶芷琛以作品《觀幻》從觀看者身上出發,試圖啟發新的領悟。觀看事物時我們的專注力是如何運作所的?表象所裹藏著的又是甚麼?在數碼時代裡,現象(即感官所及的外相)與(現象內裡的)實質、真髓之間的聯通又是否真如我們所假設的?

陶芷琛對感觀的探索始自她的畢業作品《觀潮》(2017) 。該作品中,她以海洋位移(displacement)模擬工具配上岩石材質,又在緩慢變形的地勢上加以海水渲染效果,讓山以海浪的形態翻騰,水則如山勢一樣屹立。 《觀潮》啟發自青原惟信禪師「見山是山,見水是水」一說。她在試探觀看者所看見的世界:是攝得的影像、是模擬的畫面、還是兩者皆非?到底人是否看見了「實相」?

《觀幻》延續著《觀潮》,利用相對的物質及動態進行創作,對數碼影像提出疑問。受禪宗思想中人醒悟時所理解到的諸行無常及事事無礙等觀念啟發,《觀幻》將山、海、雲、瀑布等的質性互換,讓「瀑布」將海洋霧化,「雲海」將山勢沖散。從中所見的表象變成空殻,只剩下潮汐山水之間的恆常交替的互換變象為唯一的定數。

作品將在四個屏幕上播放,形成一件數碼裝置,探索人觀看的方式。

Concept 

To’s interest in perception versus simulation originated in a previous work, the ebb and flow of… (2017), in which digitally generated and morphed landscapes were rendered reflective and transparent. Water is simulated with landscape modelling tools; landscape simulated with water modelling tools and so on. In this way,  To questioned what it is that is seen – a captured image, a simulation, or neither and used the process to reflect on phases of Zen enlightenment and at what stage one is situated, from conventional understanding of relative truth to the final stage of understanding the impermanence of all things.

In the new work (in)constant, Zen perceptions are combined with concerns about the current era of technological advancement where floods of information weave into our life at the speed of light, fracturing our consciousness with digital media. To began to question if she were residing in ‘reality’, or whether her consciousness was manufactured or ‘written’ by someone else. In this, To engages with contemporary critical thought from Baudrillard to Stiegler concerning the simulacrum and our industrialised memories and senses in an increasingly hyper- commercialised world. This world is one in which the media and dominant power groups manipulate our perception of the world and ultimately determine what is seen, and accepted,  as real or the truth.

Rather than criticising the hyperreality created by the consumerist society, the artwork (in)constant aims at questioning the viewer on their perception of simulation or simulacra. Referencing the Zen discourse ‘mountains are mountains, waters are waters’ by Tang dynasty Zen Master, Qing Yuan Wei-hsin, the work interchanges materiality and motion among waterfalls, clouds, mountains and oceans, as a general interrogation of “forms” in digital art. The work juxtaposes presumed static objects with dramatized changes, as well as usually assumed unstable bodies with the minimal motion, prompting reflection on the temporality of objects and the significance of events in real life.

Thanks to procedural animation tools, shapes are rendered as questionable “shells,” leaving the recurrent shifts in form the only constant. What appears to be seawater are the generated and morphed landscapes rendered as reflective and transparent liquid. Displacement-based ocean wave simulation rendered as rough rock-like surface produces deforming mountains. Fluid dynamics in simulation of water particles generates waterfalls, with voxel-based solver simulating fog.

With the alternate temporal quality of each object, the work intends to highlight the continuous flux inherent in all things that points towards an eternal truth. The work calls for an awakening, when by opposing the powers that manipulate our senses and perceptions, we will be able to regain our attention and appreciate aesthetics in singularities, and no longer live as a libidinal beings solely seized by capitalist society.

陶芷琛對於感觀及擬像的探索自其作品《觀潮》(2017) 開始。在技術的層面上,質感和動勢是兩個在軟件平台上可被分開處理的元素,在模擬過程中可作交換配對和多重結合。直觀她的作品,我們看到她在緩慢變形的地勢上加上海水渲染效果,用山勢模擬海洋,又以海浪模擬工具配上岩石材質營造山景,將相對的物質相互模擬。作品源自青原惟信禪師「見山是山,見水是水」一說的啟發,轉化成對觀看者所看見的世界為何物的挑撥:框內可見之物,是攝得的影像、是模擬的畫面、還是兩者皆非?陶芷琛對訪者觀賞時正處於那個感思的階段十分好奇 — 是否注目於表象?在內觀自身心境?還是看見了事物的真髓的不同狀態的無限變更?

《觀幻》中,陶芷琛將禪宗思想帶入了她對數碼媒介的思考。在今日的科技發展下,資訊洪流以光的速度編織著我們的生活,數位化媒體正將我們的意識分拆成更短暫的碎片。作品中,陶作出了對媒體、甚至自身意識的疑問。我們存在於「真實」的世界到底是甚麼意思?我們的意志是否正在被編寫?她想到布希亞 (Jean Baudrillard),1981)所提出的擬像 (simulation) 就是我們唯一的所有,奪去了我們對真實的接觸;也想到斯蒂格勒 (Benard Stiegler) 所指出,在高度商業化環境下連人的記憶也必然被工業化等批判性學說。我們身處的世界正裡,媒體及有份操控媒體擁有者模塑了我們對世界的感知,進而限制我們所能看見和接受的「真實」。

《觀幻》未敢稱得上承接斯蒂格勒對消費社會所產生的超現實時代的批判,但確實執著於疏理觀看者對擬仿物或擬像的想法。青原惟信禪師的「見山是山,見水是水」在數碼世界裡該如何理解?作品中,瀑布、雲、山、海等的材質與動態互換,對數碼影像中物質的形態提出疑問。本來近乎靜止的物質配上戲劇化的變動,本應起伏的物質幾近不動不移。如此,或許訪者會開始想到物質的時間性又或事件的本意等課題。

因著程序式動畫模擬工具 (procuderual animation tools) 的操作法,「表象」猶如「空殻」,潮汐的變幻、表象的交替才是唯一的恆常。看起來是「海水」的其實是加上了海水渲染技術、在緩慢變形的地勢,看起來是「山」的其實是海洋位移 (displacement) 模擬工具配上岩石材質的效果,「瀑布」及「雲霧」則來自於水珠及雲霧流體模擬技術。

透過影像中主體不斷重覆的時間性特質,陶芷琛的作品強調變幻原是永恆的法則。作品正在追求一種覺醒:對於控制我們感觀的權力擁有者,我們該選擇對立的位置。我們將協力重尋、重新學習對事物的注意力,並不再讓「美學」的事物成為資本主義社會時刻在剝奪的慾望的載體。

Bio

TO Tsz-sum Janice is a media artist specializing in audiovisual and installation art. Her practice attempts to reveal essential impermanent and temporal qualities in objects, and explores the possibilities of enabling viewers to re-discover their attentiveness, which is widely undermined in the digital era.  To received her Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Creative Media from the School of Creative Media in 2017. She was a finalist in the 23rd ifva Awards, Media Art Category and received the New Vision Award in the SCM Annual Awards 2017. Her work has been widely exhibited including at the Hong Kong Arts Centre, am space and K11. She is also an interactive designer, currently a team member of XCEPT (formerly known as XEX).

作為媒體藝術家,陶芷琛專注於視聽媒體及裝置藝術。她的作品旨在揭示事物的時間性和無常的必然性,且嘗試令觀眾重獲他們在數碼世代中被破壞的注意力。陶於2017年獲香港城市大學創意媒體文學士(榮譽)學位,在SCM Annual 2017 獲頒 New Vision Award,2018年入圍第二十三屆 ifva 獨立短片及影像媒體比賽(媒體藝術組)。她的作品曾於香港藝術中心、am space、K11等場地展覽。陶是全職互動媒體設計師,現為XCEPT(前身為XEX)團隊成員。

IT Elements
Computer graphics 電腦圖像  / procedural animation 程序式動畫 / parametric 3D modelling 參數化三維模型 / fluid simulation 流體模擬 / particle system 粒子系統 / voxel-based fluid dynamics 基於立體像素的流體動力