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September 24, 2021

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Blurring lines between virtual space and reality

THE exhibition “Do Not Black Out” at Ming Contemporary Art Museum attempts to explore the intertwined relationship between humans, machines and technology with electricity as the common thread running through it.

Displaying more than 20 installations selected from 400 artworks in the first season of the Emerging Sci-tech Artist Awards, the group exhibition spans various fields, such as biology, ecology, sociology, virtual reality games and Internet data collection, blurring the boundary between reality and virtual space.

The installation “Flesh Reflection” by Su Yongjian and Liu Daheng is comprised of an artificial organism device and wearable sensor garment that look like a layer of skin. When a performer or viewer wears the garment, the human body’s subtle changes and physiological reactions can be accurately sensed and delivered back to the device, which responds with sounds and movements.

Through computer algorithms, the installation achieves a certain perceptual resonance between the human body and artificial device. In the process, the device becomes an extension and reflection of the body.

The installation “Comb Machine: the Regulation of Hair” by artist Zoe Li explores how an individual is institutionalized in a system, where the ruled can enjoy a limited degree of freedom if they obey the regulations handed down by the ruler.

At first glance, the installation seems a bit creepy. Several robots wearing black wigs are rolling back and forth in a confined, all white space via remote control. The robots can wander around until the comb machine — the system’s ruler — rings a bell to gather them for combing. Interestingly, the robots can still leave with messy hair — the comb machine is more for regulating than combing. After all, the robots are free until the next bell rings.

The installation “Networked Ecosystem” by Wu Ziyang is a live-simulation environment built in collaboration with artist Mark Ramos. With the data live-collected by Nokia Bell Labs from the sensor, the installation simulates a world where electricity and batteries provide sustenance, Wifi signals are nutrition and Lidar data works are fire and heat.

Visitors who walk into the ecosystem generate new data and create instant environmental changes.


Dates: Through October 17 (closed on Mondays), 10am-6pm

Venue: Ming Contemporary Art Museum

Address: 436 Yonghe Rd E


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