Latent Spectators 潜在故土

8 NOV 2019 - 19 JAN 2020

刘昕 LIU Xin, 李昶, Lisa Chang LEE, Coralie Vogelaar, Johannes Langkamp




The exhibition begins with a simple question: Can we conceive of different ways of making sense of the world? Ever since modern times we have used data sets and scientific methodologies to analyze and understand reality. We have built computers based on exactly these scientific methodologies to help us analyze  massive amounts of data. But are humans and machines likely to capture the same reality? Is there room for different ways of sensing the world, different from the model of modern science?

The artists participating in the exhibition explore subjective and natural phenomena through scientific observation and inspection methods, revealing the parts that are not easily detected. The narrative of this exhibition not only produces readings from the artistic equipment and instruments, but also creates spatial experiences and surprising perceptions.

In the Measurement of Reality[1], Alfred W. Crosby traced how mechanical clocks, geometrically precise maps, double-entry book-keeping, precise algebraic and musical notations, and perspective painting constructed our perception of “the reality of the world”. Nowadays, scientific measuring devices, data production and interconnected systems have woven a latent net: with the tools and equipment revealing hidden patterns of the world, we seem to be able to put our hands on this level of reality. Yet, the layer constructed with data structures are beyond the comprehension of most perceivers, leaving the explanations to the hands of only a few. “Every thing”, as asserted by Derrida,is shot through with law, conventionality, technology (nomos, thesis, thekne), and this have in advance invaded physis and ruined its principle or its phantasm or purity.[2] This kind of “real” or “absolute”, as precise as it seems to be, is never tangible, or perceivable, as stated by Hannah Arendt, who also was cautious about the “glory” of modern science that it has been able to emancipate itself completely from all such anthropocentric, that is, truly humanistic, concerns, and retreated into the minimal changes of the apparatus readings[3]. Machine readings, nevertheless, reveals and in the same time conceals the “reality” - are there dynamic versions of worlds, still out there, to be “seen”?

[1]Alfred W. Crosby,The Measure of Reality: Quantification and Western Society, 1250-1600,Cambridge University Press; New Ed edition (December 13, 1997)
[2]Jacques Derrida, Athens, Still Remains: The Photographs of Jean-François Bonhomme,Fordham University Press; 1 edition (October 13, 2010)å
[3]Hannah Arendt on Science, the Value of Space Exploration,and How Our Cosmic Aspirations Illuminate the Human Condition