Inside Futurelab

Ars Electronica Center, Infodeck

The show on the Infodeck gives visitors a glimpse at what Futurelab staffers are currently at work on or have recently completed. The individual projects being presented can be considered as proxies representative of the formal and substantive diversity of the Futurelab’s work. They make it clear that transdisciplinary collaboration is a reality lived out and experienced on a daily basis at the Futurelab, and that this goes way beyond just sampling a few artistic disciplines. In addition to ZeitRaum [TimeSpace], St(Age) of Participation and Fingermarathon, the exhibition will include works produced in the context of the Futurelab.Academy at the China Academy of Art.

Wang Zhipeng – “Eternity”

A single Chinese character (yong, meaning “eternity”) in calligraphy form is turned into a fractal image animation in which there is no beginning and no end. Everything is in a state of constant flux and scale is symbolically relative. The work is shown with 3 separate vertically projected videos on the wall.

The fractals are audio-visual in format, i.e., animations with soundtrack composed with the Chinese pronunciation of the word “eternity” and environmental sounds.

The Chinese character for “eternity” – yong – is chosen for the fact that it contains all the stroke types used in all Chinese calligraphy and is always used as a model character in learning to write calligraphy.

Shi Zheng, Tang Xiaodan – “Calligraphy Mask”

Here we write human emotions with calligraphy of Chinese words for inner feelings. One has many faces as he/she has different emotions. Between the eyebrows and between the lips and teeth are written, in rhythms peaceful or hurried, one’s inner emotional ripples or turmoils.

From this concept originates our work, in which replicated masks are arranged in a matrix and function as a framework for Chinese writing. Projected Chinese characters and phrases that signify different emotions become luxuriant facial expressions flowing among the masks, injecting life into the insentient papier-mâché.

Throughout this narrative, the matrix gives a balanced relationship between an individual’s face and that of all the living creatures. It can be read either as a variety of personal emotions, or as the totality of human emotions – an uncertainty that imparts a deeper semantic reading to this new visual experience.

At the same time, various onomatopoeic Chinese words signifying emotions are incorporated into the audio, the repetition of which intensifies and broadens the emotional complexity, thus shaping a new synaesthetic audio-visual sensibility.