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Vanitas


2023

Wood, concrete, video

thesis
Reconstruction has several synonyms. It is the reconstruction of a place as well as human memory, the translation of languages, and the transduction of data. Within every process of reconstruction, the loss of data is inevitable. What I am intrigued by is the missing piece . It is, by nature, untranslatable, uncapturable, unpossessable, and sometimes ineffable. It is an art by which I can capture what is impossible to capture or, at least, what is left as a by-product of the process.

Surrendering to the loss of data and embracing the glitched results is, paradoxically, a tribute to what we have lost. Vanitas is a tribute to the missing pieces within the reconstruction of human memory, places, and data. 

Vanitas, Latin for vanity, a mirrored reflection, means Baroque still life painting which uses symbolism to show futility of life, and certain mortality. By using this as a title for my installation, I appropriated the concept of a mirrored death as a symbol of mourning, and turned concrete, wood, and videos into elements constituting a still life.

Wall structures, pallets, concrete, and void inside the monitors are the artifacts of transience. Tall wall structures in the same height with the gallery walls, resemble stage flats and create a small temporary corner facing one of the gallery corners, mirroring their heterotopian characteristics. Inside, pallets act as a temporary space where the viewers can stay, halting the usual time and space. Concrete is a remnant from the process of construction and demolision of urban places, and it is engraved with text. Lastly, the videos show a glitched photogrammetry made from handheld video, a collaged walking sequence in a lost place, and the movement of the virtual walking pathways. The original footage was taken in my home village throughout 2 months before I left my hometown, which was sentenced to a reconstruction (a complete demolition and rebuilding) in 6 months.

I define this installation as a cartography of the untranslatable, the by-product, and the missing pieces — a map of topography where the viewers can be lost and meander. I question, What can you discover when you meander? What happens when you renounce being a subject and become an object seamlessly blended into the topography?

RISD Grad Show 2023, May 25–June 3 2023, Rhode Island Convention Center, Providence RI












1 minute excerpt from Vanitas (2023)


Lossless Walking is a 3 channel video where tree-eyed-view footage of a person walking is collaged in collaboration with AI and distorted with an aid of computer vision. Through Lossless Walking, I imagine walking as a mnemonics to remember the moments without any loss.