Chimeras’ World -Solo Exhibition by Yu-Chuan Tseng
Place::Digital Art Center, Taipei, Taiwan
Chimeras’ World continues the discussion from Chimeras Sing a Song (2012) regarding the moving, living, perceptive, and receptive conditions of the human race in the digital era. Through the message transfer link between a mobile handheld device and a matrix, Chimeras Sing a Song invoked the song of a siren from Greek mythology as a metaphor for the contradictory sense existing between humankind and digital communication. With the interaction between “real” and “virtual” space occurring within a spatial installation, the work attempted to construct a roaming theatrical-style body that enables participants to perceive and immerse themselves within a fantasy. There, they could explore a technologically-built system amidst visual representations and conversions of information, space, time, and imagery as it becomes digitally encoded and reconstructed into a state of existence and method for perceiving the world.
“Chimera” symbolizes how existence in the digital age is reliant on digital carriers. Physical and spiritual immersion in a digital environment serves as a metaphor for how humankind has evolved to become a race of cyborgs – hybrids of man and machine – and have merged with digital genomes to become digital hybrids. Originally meaning “she-goat”, a chimera is a fire-breathing creature from Greek mythology that is typically featured with the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and the tail of a snake. Today, it represents a creation of genetics and reproductive technology, and refers to a “mosaic” body composed of cells from two different species. Humankind has already become chimeras that integrate organic and inorganic materials as it fuses with digital coding. In a digital environment, humankind undergoes a mental evolution. With the appearance of digital carrier messages in virtual worlds, perception and memories are created in the intersection between virtual and real. Real and virtual memories merge within intertwined real and virtual spaces. Through digital signals, people have evolved to become hybrid bodies that have the ability to breed and multiply.
Chimeras’ World serves as the empty field in which chimeras inhabit, and kicks off as the 2013 evolved version of Chimeras Sing a Song (v3). Living within a mobile petri dish and singing the song of sirens, chimeras call to people with their mesmerizing voices to lure them into returning to their world and become part of a collective body, before magically transforming into beings of existence. The chimeras of the world live within “virtual” and “real” fields: two worlds are constructed with the concepts of “positive and negative” and “yin and yang” through the media of mobile devices and interactive installation. Physical light, virtual creatures, text messages, and projected images expose the existence of a living room, bedroom, dining room, kitchen, and study room. Exhibiting the atmosphere of a performance stage for viewers to roam, the exploration, reflection, and perception of individual entities in a digital existence are conducted within this “real” and “virtual” field.
Featuring “virtual” empty fields, the two works, Absent Fields and Diffusing, discuss visual and non-visual elements, the flow and infusion of information, and the meanings and signifiers of symbols within a fantasy world. Using physical light similar to 3D stereoscopic works, Absent Fields composes the space of a “home” that fills the exhibition space, and features a floating and drifting chimera that can be viewed with the use of a mobile device (iPad). Diffusing represents a programming code for space. Hanging on a wall, viewers can observe the program code via a mobile device (iPad). Looking at symbolic messages, they are able to sense the meaning behind corresponding messages.
The world of “real” empty fields acts as field in which “real” and “virtual” intersect. A space installed with real objects provides viewers with a living room sofa to sit on and relax as they watch the television on the wall. The mirror reflects the figures of viewers, while books are available to read on the desk in the study room. The jars in the kitchen offer gourmet materials and the dining room table is filled with plates of food. This space features a concept of “home”, using physical installations to provide an experience of real life. However, all that is seen and experienced is still just a response to an illusion. Chimeras move and drift Infiltrating the living room couch. When a viewer sits on the sofa, the chimera possesses them, and their body becomes a subject composed by the chimera. The television programs playing across the wall are chimeras. Reflected in the mirror of Non-Site, a viewer’s body is just the representation of an illusion. Their body is actually recomposed by the chimera. Even after they leave, their bodies remain stuck there, gradually being incorporated into the mirror. The text in Illusory Book is actually the result of Internet keyword searches about “love”. As viewers flip through the book, they re-compose the meanings of the text. The plates on dining room table are full of chimeras. It is the Illusory Food.When viewers shake the plates, they force the chimeras to dynamically take the composition of food, the text from the top of google trends. In the kitchen, Xandora Spring invites viewers to come and cook with illusory gourmet. It is an unrecognizable and singular image for memory composed by the images from the google trending search.
Living amidst the compilation and restructuring of signals, people from the e-generation switch between real and virtual to perceive life. In a wireless environment, people are interconnected via a digital signal. Signal transmissions hide areas that lie beyond the Internet, while imaginations appear at the other end in a symbiotic coexistence with people. Chimeras’ World explores technology and life, specifically the impact of information technology on people’s lifestyles, ecologies, environments, and lives amidst the visual representation and conversion of data, space, time, and images. In a virtual world that gathers technologically built systems, people’s lifestyles, life, and existence, the condition of life and existence shaped by a digital consciousness becomes a reconstructed, digitally encoded “chimera”.