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title: prismatic

Prismatic (re)ality | 2024

Exhibition co-curated with Gordon Fung

June 21, 2024–July 12, 2024

OH Art Gallery
3/F, Zhou B Art Center, 1029 W 35th St, Chicago, IL 60609

Artists
Tri (Erik Akerman), Yousif Alzayed, Rose Ansari & Zhe Li, Mengjun Duan, Juan Flores, Eul Lee, Zitian Li,

Yiyi Liu & Dong Yao, Lorenzo Osterheim, Mac Pierce, Xin Yang, and Yimei (Emair) Zhu

Poster Design
Mengjun Duan

Prismatic (re)ality
 Welcome 

As a new media artist, this is my first experience in curating an exhibition. Over two years at School of Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), I have greatly advanced my career as an artist. SAIC, as an inclusive art institution, emphasizes interdisciplinarity and collaboration. Here, I developed a desire to broaden my perspective through curatorial work. This interest naturally emerged from my research of how technology gives flâneur a contemporary meaning through media art. The exploration leads to a vision of discovering and bringing together the artists around me. 

 

This endeavor is not just about personal development and expanding my creative horizons. It is also about supporting the outstanding artists around me, enriching their exhibiting experiences beyond an academic context, and giving them a full sense of the workflow between artists and curators. Through greater exposure, they gain more connections to develop their artistic career better.

 

The exhibition features 14 artists from the current three cohorts of the Art & Technology/Sound Practice Department (AT/SP) at SAIC, including current students, recent graduates, and alumni who come from five national and multiple cultural backgrounds. Their diverse experiences and perspectives intersect to create new realities. Through the theme “Prismatic (re)ality,” their works reflect sharp observations of life, discovering new realities from everyday glimpses. We aim to engage, inspire, and provoke thought among our visitors about their relationship with everyday objects, spaces, and environments as part of contemporary reality. Emphasizing media art is not only about the future and imagination but also about the present and reality.

 

Special thanks to Judd Morrissey, the Department Chair, for supporting the production of this exhibition; Kristin McWharter, the Graduate Coordinator, who has worked with me for over a year, guiding my work, and encouraging my curatorial project; Lee Blalock, my advisor, who has given me numerous suggestions when facing several challenges as a novice curator, motivating me to get out of my comfort zone; Anna Yu, Assistant Director of Art & Technology Facilities, and Alan Perry, Manager of AT/SP AV & Computing Facilities, for their support with equipment check-out; Jeff Armstrong, Senior. Administrative Director, for venue booking; Logan Hoffman-Smith, Administrative Assistant, for ordering prints of catalog and labels. Lastly, thanks to Gordon Fung from the Film, Video, New Media, and Animation Department, my curatorial collaborator, mentor, and friend. His experience and our shared goals made this collaboration incredibly enjoyable and successful. This exhibition would not have been possible without them.

 

Thank you for joining us, and we hope you enjoy the Prismatic (re)ality!

 

—Yuwen Huang (E-von)

 Curatorial Statement 

Prismatic (re)ality celebrates 14 technologists and media artists’ exploration and reimagination of reality. By infusing their insights on technology, their works transform media and technologies into a prism that refracts and disperses multifaceted essences of daily lives, enabling viewers to perceive new visions through various lenses.

Featuring an intermix of AI-generated content, kinetic installations, custom-built video games, neon arts, projections, and audiovisual installations, artists create an altered space that enhances our experience and understanding of both physical and virtual realms.

Through combinations of illumination and projections, artworks spark new lights to unveil this expanded visual space. Erik Akerman’s neon works brighten up the path of resilience. Referencing a personal journey, Erik invites visitors into an intimate space of hope and healing. Rose Ansari and Zhe Li’s audiovisual neon and sound installation guides visitors through a postnatural landscape, unearthing the dialogue between humankind and nature; whereas Yousif Alzayed plants a contemplative audiovisual garden of projection and visualization of acoustic sound.

Within this newfound environment, Zitian Li’s mixed-media sculpture of electrical wire and liquid-crystal displays symbolizes the interconnectedness between internet users, whereas Mac Pierce’s ethernet cable installation invites viewers to interact with their presence on the camera. Besides amplifying visitors’ physical existence, it also exposes the camera’s surveilling capability. Building upon the alteration of images, Juan Flores’ kinetic installation utilizes motion with analog and digital tools to manipulate images in real life, blurring the boundaries of representation and abstraction.

Furthering references from daily objects, Yao Dong and Yiyi Liu strip away the computer’s core function and distillate it down to a ventilation fan in casted concrete. By redesigning its interactivity, they pose questions about technological tools. Challenging the status quo further, Eul Lee’s antagonistic display of clocks through a conceptual interpretation of time. Lorenzo Osterheim repurposes an encyclopedia where artificially generated contents replace the pre-written narrative.

Extending the ability of artificial intelligence in storytelling, Xin Yang and Yimei Zhu’s video works unearth how artificial intelligence generates new specimens of animal species and landscapes inspired by dreams. With the digital space created, visitors can visualize the notion of reality versus imagination and consciousness versus unconsciousness. Continuing this adventure into the expanded video environment, Mengjun Duan and Yiyi Liu’s interactive video games spearhead a new virtual space for audiences to enter the altered reality.

Broadening boundaries of perceptions, 14 artists’ works synergistically resonate to create a reflective space for visitors to reenvision what corporeality is. This diverse selection of media scrutinizes how technology functions as a prism to disseminate our experience across physical and virtual worlds.

We welcome you to explore this media wonderland in a Prismatic (re)ality.

—Gordon Fung

 Exhibition Catalogue 

Spread Vers (Download)

© 2017-2024 Yuwen Huang 

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