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Tianyi Sun

 

 

 

The guiding pronoun of this text will be “I”. Writing in the first person, I seek to position the reader within the body of its subjects, specifically an incoherent subject attempting to reside in a contemporary space torn between precariousness and preservation. I will be unable to offer a cohesive essay-format account of this self as revered by the Western academic tradition. Instead, in keeping with the epiphenomenal quality of media streams and the atomized nature of networked culture, “I” is an attempt at navigation, as a vessel and instrument in which constructed space, physical space, and the liminal expanses in-between can be rendered and experienced. Instead of letting “I” lead you down a predetermined path, perhaps the cumulative effect of this text will engage the empathetic and collective aspects of this first person "I". Here, “I” is both self and other, narrator and reader, singular and many, specific and general. It is a way of expanding “I” as a relational experience, a fluid convergence of affects, a shared feeling

 

 

**This is a test, not a conviction.**

 

 

What arouses consciousness to the “I” that comes into view as a result of habit or trauma, resonance, or influence?

It is committed not to demystification and discovered truths— that support a high-res screenshot— but to speculation and questioning.

 

I come together as a feeling, an occurrence, both alive and embodied.

 

A contestation and vessel of both vitality and exhaustion.

Urgent with a fantasy of escape. [1]

 

 

 

 

I as Performance

Act I, Scene 1,

This is a space. This is a site of production.

{Behind the screen are actors in costumes, holding props, reciting lines from a well-known script, putting together a stage play.}

Scripts sometimes get hard to read or words vanish and links break. Sometimes there is a lag, the curtain gets accidently drawn and the I is left stuck and stuttering in laughable postures wearing costumes that did not fit. It can feel strange or even improper to resume and be going through the motions when the contours of intellectual infrastructures and systems that one has unconsciously carried slowly come into view.

Some infrastructure is underpinning my daily interactions with the world and my performance is dependent on it. Infrastructure reorganizes space and the ways in which space is experienced, the way a space can become screen, stage, or interface.

A picture containing map

Description automatically generated

 

A Temporal Sequence, 2021, interactive installation, LEDs, html laser cut on plexiglass, microfilament, projection-mapped chat logs.

Something is at work as we speak. A humming, perhaps more visceral, then audible or visual. A silent pulsing feed layered and stacked on top of the typical grid infrastructure[2] that keeps us smoothly alive and connected. A simultaneous conversation, though in different time signatures are being disseminated in waves and enabled by hashtags, underlining, or propelling the words uttered onstage. Computational processes are activated as a result of habitation and movement in this networked environment, though it is not always clear which. As traditional analog spaces connect to networked environments what changes? Or is there even change?  Perhaps the visibility of this infrastructure and its interfaces are temporary too.

But this space feels familiar, this scenario is but a repetition of events outside this space.

 

Despite its technological utopian promises, the familiarity of these surroundings cannot be ignored. Within the same formats, perhaps situated in a room within an institution, with the relevant specialists seated onstage broadcasting their thoughts to a larger audience, a one-way stream. Networked spaces follows the footsteps of great geographical discoveries, slowly morphing under a colonial logic whilst underscored and surveilled with patterns of censorship and hegemonic norms.  Never before has the infrastructure that underpins one’s existence been more intriguing and of interest in the now immateriality of bodies. Here “I” becomes encoded within language, data, image, and metaphors. Code becomes an expansive term, computational code, language as code, social codes, structural, institutional codes, all acts upon the body and conceals itself within the body. And to reverse this loop, how these documents respond to the physical and visual presence of other bodies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Act 2, Scene 2,

{ Disposable utensils are the instruments with which we will be using to access this stage.

It will be enough for the experience to last, for the material to be ingested, but ideally, nothing will remain, and the space will be left undisturbed. It won’t be substantial enough to elevate this fare or create a memorable ritualistic experience. It is the bare minimum to facilitate an encounter while being easily erased to allow for a speedy exit.}

Disposable Utensils, Interactive Installation (Install shot 1, Act 2, Scene2) 2022

A provisional energy, a precarious space. Fragments of varying levels of translucency seem to be in the process of melting, deteriorating, or falling. It is unclear what is a surface, screen, barricade, or container. Instruments of imaging technologies seem to offer moments of security, and a relieving potential to capture and document. Tangled cables, wires, and acrylic piping crawls through a scaffolding of C stands and tripods, carrying electricity or data to computers, speakers, projectors, and lone lights. A network playing host to something seemingly familiar, perching alive and pulsating within its confines.

Stumbling seems to be the way one navigates this space.

There is such flimsiness here, parts don’t seem fully fleshed out and others feel non-committal and quickly attached that they almost escape their recognition as subjects contributing to the construction of this installation. Instead, the staging of fragments and their reflexive engagement of architectural space becomes the subject and focus of the digital images that will document this scene. This work is acutely aware of its eventual dissemination as a digital image. The reflectivity allows a selfie to be subtly sneaked in, the transparency calls for a body to be seen though from the other side, while maintaining a comparatively sparse composition to avoid being overwhelming when seen in a browser context, where it will without a doubt be flanked by banner ads and other open windows. It is not shy, but polite. It is making space for advertising, space for distraction, space for you to tap off.

“its okay, you can go now” [3]

It taps into a network, as well as the emotional processes and productive expectations that emerges from the presence of networks. Though it no longer insists and depends on a bodily encounter the work does not escape materiality but is deeply anchored within a materiality that is oriented to the subjects and spaces that are being captured and perpetuating the cycles within those networks.

"It constructs anonymous global networks just as it creates a shared history. It builds alliances as it travels, provokes translation or mistranslation, and creates new publics and debates. By losing its visual substance it recovers some of its political punch and creates a new aura around it." [4] 

Artie Vierkant's Image Objects (2011) exists in a fluid space between sculpture, image, object, and representation.[5] The works in this series are digital images printed on precision-cut aluminum panels installed in the gallery space as standing physical objects. However, the works span further than this space as they are photographed officially, and Vierkant proceeds to digitally distort these photographs by combining other imagery to create new alternations that are not consistent with the three-dimensional form in the gallery. The documentation images, in turn, are restaged as new original artworks with a presence of their own. Vierkant made no distinction between the "object" itself and a digital or factual depiction. Image Objects was a direct response to this moment in contemporary art and image consumption where the audience experiences of art were largely determined by their online representations. By including online depictions and further renditions generated by the audience into the definition of the "the work," it pushed and destroyed the boundaries of what is considered virtual or real, experience or depiction. Is this any different from how the physical being exists in this digital world? The capability of media art is its fluidity in moving through forms, looking not for one vessel but a multiplicity whilst in its course fostering unobvious relations. A diffused and fractured rendering of contradictory senses.

 

Act 2, Scene 3,

{Something seems to be happening just outside the corner of your vision, a physical outline, a body within a screen.}

A table full of cakes

Description automatically generated with low confidence

Disposable Utensils [Stage Directions], ASMR Video Still,2022

I decipher some remnant of her as she wanders through the stage. Within and across the physical contours of screens, structures, machines. I begin to look for her everywhere even after turning away and leaving this scene. I resee her image that flows across the space, I see her absence within every plane. Is such the truth of feelings, of memory? It shifts, and in shifting it shapes me, moment to moment. She is not attempting to control this shifting but rather acknowledge its presence.

This stage can feel like a private exercise, as if we are watching some efforts towards a body accommodating the blunt shapes of incohesion. At times it is as if there was no audience intended for this performance, that it would exist without a gaze.

What is a subject within this space?

{A girl is seen eating on the screen. In my mind she is a girl at least. And yes, I don’t see the food going into her mouth either to know she is eating for sure, but my brain can fill that part in too.}

 

 

"The world as we know it is a construction, a finished product, almost-one might say-a manufactured article, to which the mind contributes as much as its moulding forms as the thing contributes by its stimuli."[6]

 

Kant's theory of idealism acknowledged subjective perceptions as the result of a psychological process that combines what the eyes see with what one already imagines, feel, know, desire, believe, and utilizes this fusion of sensory data and existing knowledge to construct a perception of reality, rather than a linear physiological process in which an image captured by the eyes is transmitted directly into the brain. [7]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I as byproduct

 

It seems to have come full circle as technology now mediates visceral and personal encounters. Our intimacy depends on it.

*What temperature is your screen?*

…the smell is hazy, an omnipresent dream, the cool aluminum of some device sticky with excretion. Your hand is cold, the smooth glass is warm in comparison…

is it warm from your body?

how does it feel like against your skin?

a screen against your skin?

do you feel me against your skin?

do you need a screen protector to shield your skin?

… I am trying to protect myself that's all

the illusion of I know what I am doing

“I know what I’m doing”[8]

There is something visceral, intimate, and comforting about being here, of seeing you, feeling you, through this beautiful illusion of transparency without the excessive leakiness of your body. But no, something is leaking, something is acting very promiscuously. This machine is promiscuous. It operates by downloading all the traffic it can and then actively deleting what is not directly addressed. Yas sister, cast thy net wide, promiscuous mode[9] on. It’s just some small misunderstanding; they won’t get mad if you change your mind and wish you had swiped left. The inherent promiscuousness of new media is sexy. It should be embraced.[10]

Stalking histories, those messages left on read, forgotten comments, and posting habits, all trail behind you not just as ephemeral metadata or unfeeling datasets but as affect-laden narratives, leaving extensive emotional archives in the aftermath of each presumably transient refresh.

“data exhaust: … data that is shed as a byproduct of people’s actions and movements in the world. For the Internet, it describes users’ online interactions: where they click, how long they look at a page, where the mouse-cursor hovers, what they type... Many companies design their systems so that they can harvest data exhaust and recycle it, to improve an existing service or to develop new ones… applying the principle of recursively “learning from the data”… every action a user performs is considered a signal to be analyzed and fed back into the system.” [11]

A tremendous amount of data is monitored, recorded, and preserved in the form of metadata emitted constantly as a result of online activity. While digital exhaust may not appear to be as affectively revealing, they are the result of physical offline interactions between human bodies and technology and nevertheless builds its own reservoirs of feeling. In discussions about online privacy, digital exhaust gets less attention than our trails of consciously broadcasted information. But bodily sensations seep into digital data as a result of the ways we physically touch and stare at devices and displays, accumulating extensive emotional documents of unseen lives alongside the ones that are exhibited and curated on social media. Recognizing that digital exhaust generates hauntingly perpetual sensory archives might help redefine perceptions of this data—and reveal its copious intimacy.

Yes, mask wearing, and good sanitary habits are now mandatory. Must remember to wash your hands off these sticky digital traces that will be sure to come back and haunt you or entertain some prospective employers, marketers, and other snooping eyes.

Digital exhaust is constructed by subconscious, embodied affects—the slow sluggish cursor on Monday at 8am, hungover. The irritated, hasty swipes and sharp taps at “yes I accept the cookies” and “no I don’t want 15% off”. This information is not formed or preserved via a cognitive filter, but rather emerges through instinctive bodily pulses and movements that are not fully comprehended at the instant of their occurrence. An affective residue collected from human bodies and then used to power the digital ecosystem's perpetual advancement.

Ah, something is leaking out of my pores, and it is communicating for me silently, leaving a trail, a stain, a spot, on the environments I have interacted with. The browser looks new and pristine each time I access it and so do you. But my trail lingers like a scent, the notes of which cannot be defined but still is inhaled and becomes part of this body as well as its potential to affect and be affected, defining this life as accurately as any cohesive written account.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I as ephemera

 

In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her friends go down the yellow brick road and eventually find themselves in the presence of the powerful Oz who emerges menacingly as a big floating head. However, he is exposed to be only a small man at the controls of a machine after Toto knocks down a screen in the room. The protagonists are shocked, and the Tin Man accuses the small man of being a humbug.

 

“Exactly so!” …. “I am a humbug.” . . . “I have fooled everyone so long that I thought I should never be found out.” . . .

“But I don’t understand,” said Dorothy, in bewilderment. “How was it that you appeared to me as a great Head?”

“That was one of my tricks,” answered Oz. . . .

“I think you are a very bad man,” said Dorothy.

“Oh, no, my dear; I’m really a very good man, but I’m a very bad Wizard.”[12]

 

The human brain is a very good organ, but a very bad wizard. Prior to that time, philosophers viewed the senses as receptacles for information about the characteristics of things in the world to flow from the object to the mind. The mind functioned akin to a projector screen upon which object was replayed.

 

 

A picture containing chart

Description automatically generated

Tianyi Sun, BADWIZARD (screenshot) Interactive application, 2021

 

“To your mind, feelings are what create a person”.[13]

 

Two small painted gestures appear below on either side of these simple line of words.[14] One mark feels like a blunt twist of the wrist with a brush full of ink, the other a shy blushing stain that has just started to turn. Presented as though opposed from each other, it seems as if a decision needs to be made. Left or right, yes, or no. To which side will the cursor be moved? Or was that even the intention? 

 

The page is an epigraph that you do not yet have the tools to decipher. It is alive with the conflicting, surging possibilities to touch and be touched, the cursor embodies a constant flux of relations, events, circumstances, and occurrences.[15]

 

 

Feelings imply experience. Feelings and their proximity to memory, facts, narrative, language, the past, and the future are seemingly what constructs a person. Yet the body takes in the world through sensation, through affects. Feelings are congealed recognizable objects with associated norms created through habits of processing. In contrast, affects are inchoate senses in the body that are ephemeral, forgotten, or overrode as they are constantly in response to the world.[16]

 

The “I” gives living form to connections and fluxes.

I can be a source of pleasure or a cause of uncertainty, as a vacant pause, a piercing responsiveness or a profound ambivalence. Unavoidable phenomena in the shape of Impulses, feelings, hopes, fantasies, encounters, and routines. Configurations of recognition, attachment, and agency, entangled with persuasion, infection, seduction and obsession, all within public and social networks that capture one into something, nothing, something, with what feels like something.[17]

 

But what counts as memory, facts, and narrative? Are they intangible and ephemeral metaphors that do not seem to matter unless codified, archived, and proven into existence? Does the “I” come after? Is it accounted, performed, articulated only when these documents are being mobilized, when the cursor navigates the interface, when a memory is recalled, an archive accessed, a narrative recited? The “I” becomes an object of desire, a cruel optimism [18] of coherence.

 

“A relation of cruel optimism exists when something you desire is actually an obstacle to your flourishing…These kinds of optimistic relation are not inherently cruel. They become cruel only when the object that draws your attachment actively impedes the aim that brought you to it initially.”[19]

 

It conducts promise in the immediate instance of an object encountered. “I” becomes an anchor for precarious clusters of incomprehensible affects and attachments. An “I” emerges in narrative from, a seemingly transparent interface for another to access and identify. But the social and linguistic conditions of one's own existence are not always fully understood or available to a narrative account. It is opaque even to itself.

 

“Sensei, I’m scared that my other self will do something that I don’t know about…” -Mima Kirigoe

“That’s funny. Mima is a pop idol…and you’re just a dirty old imposter!” -Mima’s Ghost

“You bad girl…you have to follow the script!” -Me-Mania[20]

 

“How long have people thought about the present as having weight, as being a thing disconnected from other things, as an obstacle to living?”[21]

 

 

I as Cookie

{Terrain}

change of perspective, zoom out,

drag around

move across the terrain, shift click, top down, bottoms up,

oh whoops

I’m sorry,

you’re out of ammo, please reload

accept the cookies,

proceed reload[22]

Cao Fei’s 2018 film Asia One is a romance between a robot and a production line disguised as science-fiction.[23] It is shot primarily in the world’s first fully automated sorting center, in Kunshan China where the infrastructure is sleek, and the stock is continuously flowing. Boxes with international labels are being whisked away via conveyor belts or arranged neatly on metal shelves. A smiley robot overlooks the assembly line, but an emptiness haunts the factory despite the utopian cadence of activity. Only two human employees inhabit this enormous facility, one sits at her desk and the other scans the never-ending goods. Occasionally they observe each other through technology, but their interactions with the machinery seem more intimate and intuitive then with each other.

 

“Work and life become inseparable. Capital follows you when you dream. Time ceases to be linear, becomes chaotic, broken down into punctiform divisions. As production and distribution are restructured, so are nervous systems. To function effectively as a component of just-in-time production you must develop a capacity to respond to unforeseen events, you must learn to live in conditions of total instability, or ‘precarity’, as the ugly neologism has it.”[24]

 

Asia One is set in a near-future, yet, like so many significant works of speculative fiction, it is ultimately about the present. The tensions between the infinity of cyberspace and the finitude of organism.

 

“Emancipatory politics must always destroy the appearance of a ‘natural order’, must reveal what is presented as necessary and inevitable to be a mere contingency, just as it must make what was previously deemed to be impossible seem attainable.”[25]

 

You’re embarrassed to go to any party in LA if you don’t call yourself an entrepreneur. Oh, you have a start-up too you say? Oh, a poet from New York? You just have an internet connection and a twitter account that’s all. Security is overrated, experiences on being deprived of the most minimal sense of security is the new conversation starter. A good reason to hustle[26] and wear your pride on keeping afloat. A permanent entrepreneurial mindset, like AdSense[27], they pop up next to every thought you can have, just a kind reminder of how hard they are hustling and offer some much-needed reinforcement on your tastes and choices.

 

What a frenzy of activity! Though it always feels like that in the city, and despite the buzz nothing really happens. I close my tabs, wait not close, min-i-mize them and hope to be greeted by the familiarity of my desktop, but the frenzy spills onto that too, just a more acquainted version instead. An enclosed, intimate chaos reserved for my eyes only. Is this the sanctuary I have built to shelter myself from the tumultuousness outside? A private alternative, a constructed interface, cyberspace[28], a networked space, or really the alternative temporalities that are imposed by those spaces? It is the perception of time that has changed during my inhabitance, only realizing it when it is time to leave, though temporarily of course. Choosing to opt out instead of reach for is much more difficult, especially since you will get cold away from me for too long.

Tianyi Sun Someadaptor (screenshot), interactive browser-based application, 2021

 

 

“banal cyborg, punished whenever they unplug from the communicative matrix”.[29]

 

The precarity and emptiness of modern employment, exemplified by some never-ending web. Everything is filtered, transferred to another, detached from a grasp. Work and life become entwined. An omnipresent dream, and capital follows you. Time becomes non-linear, erratic, and fragmented into atomized segments. All material foundations of the system are removed, as is the potential of an alternative. Fractured and disintegrated there is no energy left to oppose because there is nothing to resist except the physical tyranny of capitalist society keeping me accountable. 

 

But how can I give an account within this incoherence?

And to whom do I give this account to? [30]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I as You

 

Don't mess with Capricorns. They take it real seriously. Aries are too busy making friends with the bouncer to notice you. Taurus might be your only shot but I know you prefer water signs. Better work on expressing your responsible side.  

Why do I need to gage myself in response to you?

How can I tell you about myself when I need to tell you about you first?

 Is there a difference between you and I?

Or what am I without you?

 

 

“I” am not an introvert, closed in, egotistic, addressing questions, and answering them to myself alone. But since when did writing to myself become writing to you? Do I need to determine who you are to understand what it is that I see within?

 

“The ‘‘you’’ comes before the we, before the plural you and before the they. Symptomatically, the ‘‘you’’ is a term that is not at home in modern and contemporary developments of ethics and politics. The ‘‘you’’ is ignored by individualistic doctrines, which are too preoccupied with praising the rights of the I, and the ‘‘you’’ is masked by a Kantian form of ethics that is only capable of staging an I that addresses itself as a familiar ‘‘you.’’ [31]

 

 “I” reside in you and because of you.

If the conditions of address have been lost, I have lost "myself."

An "I" can only be acknowledged in relation to a "you":

without "you", my own narrative becomes meaningless.

 

“The we is always positive, the plural you is a possible ally, the they has the face of an antagonist, the I is unseemly, and the you is, of course, superfluous.”[32]

 

***

 

Was that coherent enough for you? I am optimistic that it was. A frenzy of activity, but nothing seems to remain. A supposed subjectivity, a collapse of bodies. The browser refreshes, here you are again, the space looks just the same as it did when you last accessed this page 28 days ago.[33] But is digital space a metaphorical location or metaphorical time? A forever present, a consensual dream. The precariousness is crippling, invigorating, promising .

 

This life is as a kind of residual effect. What I see is the disappearance of a distinction between the past and future where “I” exist, living in a perpetual present, captive within mediums of remembrance and stored in limited memory. But since when did memory become storage? To store, is to perverse, to hold for the future. Memory however, is of a past, a past that deteriorates, that needs to be traced. Memory is painful, the act of remembering is troublesome, it involves conjuring something that doesn’t belong in the present.

 

"Programmability,"—or the logic of machines and computation—has expanded beyond screens into political and economic processes. "Programmability" has also entered the metaphors a physical body employs to make sense of the environment.[34]

 

 

A conflation of memory and storage lies at the heart of modern computation. The heart of you and I as metaphor machines.

 

 

“Computers, understood as networked software and hardware machines, are—or perhaps more precisely set the grounds for—neoliberal governmental technologies...not simply through the problems (population genetics, bioinformatics, nuclear weapons, state welfare, and climate) they make it possible to both pose and solve, but also through their very logos, their embodiment of logic.” [35]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I as Circulation

 

I hope to construct a cohesive narrative within this precariousness. After all, moral philosophies and psychoanalytic positions claim that the task of life is to give a coherent narrative of one's life, especially in the presence and by demand of another. [36] 280 characters is more than enough.[37] The speed of comprehension will be important to its cohesiveness. Into the comment box of “I” this account goes and watch it communicate? This compact account of oneself feels good, the ecstasy of cohesion, recognition, communication. Speed matters, techno amphetamine. “I” will be accessible and recognizable through even the narrowest channels and slowest connections. After all, the penetration, duration, and popularity mark the success of this account. Doesn’t it? And this contribution to circulation is a type of communicative action. Isn’t it?

 

Somepatterns (2021) was introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic, a web-based 弹幕[38]application that allows the viewer to post anonymous live comments that will move through the screen at an undetermined time while experiencing those that were left by others. With each comment feeding into an interlinked database, it merges the timeline and intentions of these words into a fluid archive. As a result, discontinuous and unintended conversations are exposed. Underscoring this is the implicit sexism, racism, and classism embedded in all patterns, codes, and design systems, “fixing” and interpreting, hidden behind technical terminology.

 

There isn’t a need to take responsibility here. Your words are anonymous, your comments fleeting, typos are fine, emojis even better. What a poor comment, no substance at all, just taking up space I see. But still, we can defend this poor comment. There is a fantasy of abundance. Let it circulate, let it coagulate. The distinctions between author, audience, and algorithm are blurred. In this dystopia of hype communication becomes contribution and there can still be ambivalence. An ongoing cultural artifact, but a sieve, gutter or chute?

 

 

 

“In sending a message, a sender intends for it to be received and understood. Any acceptance or rejection of the message depends on this understanding. Understanding is thus a necessary part of the communicative exchange. In communicative capitalism, however, the use value of a message is less important than its exchange value, its contribution to a larger pool, flow or circulation of content. A contribution needs not be understood; it need only be repeated, reproduced, forwarded. Circulation is the context, the condition for the acceptance or rejection of a contribution.”[39]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I as Repetition

 

But I am a sorry love, you are not meant to be part of this version of reality, this series of events, this loop, this repetition, this array.

There is a loneliness of being together here alone, but together but alone and together[40]

 

 

There is a fantasy of coherence. Norms are constructed to try and reach that. I repeat these norms to present that make-belief of coherence. Living in fragmentation, there is no inherent coherence; the "coherence" happens through repetition; therefore, what happens if one does not repeat? Reverse, reconstruct, re-enact. The processes is to re-encounter foreign events that were said to have occurred in our past. What past, what history? Browser history, or the chat?

A re-enactment driven by a need to inhabit a version of history in a subjective matter as supposed  to a second-hand acceptance of supposed events.

 

“Beware of first-hand ideas!” exclaimed one of the most advanced of them. “First-hand ideas do not really exist. They are but the physical impressions produced by love and fear, and on this gross foundation who could erect a philosophy? Let your ideas be second-hand, and if possible tenth-hand, for then they will be far removed from that disturbing element — direct observation.”[41]

 

Sarah Pierce employs the exhibition space as both a site of production and a format for examining the politics of the ephemeral and its physical manifestation at the heart of museum politics. Her work Future Exhibitions in particular destabilizes the experience of time, invoking an awareness in the present of the future[42] and questions the museum’s authoritative role focused on formulating and upholding official narratives. First commissioned to present at the Museum of Modern Art in Vienna, Future Exhibitions was a direct response to Allan Kaprow’s installation Push and Pull: A Furniture Comedy for Hans Hofmann. In Kaprow’s original work, the audience was invited to interact and rearrange the furniture he installed in two rooms by following a set of instructions, resulting in “new” sculptural forms. Expanding on this work, Pierce incorporated performance to explore past the fluidity in material and form towards movement of ideas in curation and exhibitions, exploring how the correlations and disparities in the tradition of performance art are played out as an endless game of references and appropriations within the exhibition's institutional structure. In this project a variety of items[43] are dispersed and organized within two rooms, one that echoes a traditional “white cube” gallery, the other a black box of sorts that is reminiscent of spaces exhibiting video art.  The performative acts are divided into five scenarios, each a monologue based on art historical documents and images detailing a past exhibition or event, concentrating on the acts of curation and exhibiting.  Pierce would pause after each monologue and other performers would rearrange the furniture in accordance with her verbal orders, resulting in a new, reconfigured environment for the subsequent monologue. Through these constructed sculptural assemblages of institutional furniture and historical documents, Pierce examines the museum and the curator's position in defining art and how members of an institution collaborate to bring a work into being through such framing devices. The unplanned movements of the furniture, led by Pierce's performance as curator, elicited a new reading of the content and a new vision for what the artwork would be with each new act of curation.

 

Along with examining the curatorial and exhibition-making processes, Future Exhibitions evoked the concept of memory through the re-performance of archival records and, more specifically, personal memories of artworks and exhibitions. The title, Future Exhibitions, also alluded at the future, implying both how new exhibitions build on established precedents but also how they alter and revise them. As Muñoz references Bloch, there is a “temporality, especially its emphasis on the power of futurity… the past, even a willfully idealized one… tells us something about the present. It tells us that something is missing, or something is not yet here.”[44]  Pierce united numerous acts of curation into a narrative of artistic practice by reviving historic documents by intervention in the present, under a title that called on the future

 

The plexiglass is beautiful, as are the cakes, so are the ring lights and your open Wi-Fi. A sensual synergy between the imperatives of the dominant form of capitalism and communication and imaging technologies.

 

 

“And in time there will come a generation that had got beyond facts, beyond impressions, a generation absolutely colourless, a generation ‘seraphically free From taint of personality,”… we will see not as it happened, nor as they would like it to have happened, but as it would have happened..”[45]

 

 

"Ideas improve. The meaning of words participates in the improvement. Plagiarism is necessary. Progress implies it. It embraces an author's phrase, makes use of his expressions, erases a false idea, and replaces it with the right idea."[46]

 

“Scraped from the dustbins of history, the worlds these images encapsulate already represent a universe other than the one occupied by the discoverer. Whether hailing from a different time or place (or both), discrepancies tend to exist between the intention of the eye of the photo-taking artist and the later viewer. The discrepancy draws on the voyeuristic curiosity of the latter—eyes for which the image may or may not have been intended.”[47]

 

There is always a part of the "I" that is dispossessed by the social context in which it emerges. This deprivation does not imply that the subjective foundation for ethics  has been lost. It might, on the contrary, constitute the precondition for moral examination, the premise in which morality stems. What if it was the conditions of its own emergence that had become the thing hindering its cohesiveness or emergence?

 

The "I" is incomplete, tormented by that for which I have no discernible tale. I'm not certain why “I” have materialized in this space, my attempts to reassemble my narrative are continuously being redrafted. There is something in and of me that “I” cannot answer for. Is this, however, to say that I  am not responsible or accountable for who “I” am and what “I” do? Is it an ethical disaster if, despite my repeated attempts, a certain opacity lingers and I am unable to make myself entirely transparent to you? Am I still regarded as accountable? Is it a failure that results in a different ethical disposition in lieu of a coherent and favorable assumption of narrative transparency? Is there a way of accepting a relationality that connects me more profoundly to language and to you than I previously realized in this embrace of imperfect transparency? Isn't it exactly the relationality that defines and veils this "I" that is an essential factor for ethics?

 

“I” am an unfinished project that hopes to reimagine the boundaries between data, narrative, document, and experience. Restaging a living archive of images, symbols, private memories, public words.  “I” question what “I” is speaking, documenting, and navigating? Can the “I” become a decentralized experience no longer dependent on politicized mediums of remembrance; “I” as  a predicate and invitation to feel from a place of agency and intimacy—a document that is forever in a state of becoming, existing relationally across forms of representation, with the power to transform, question, and challenge?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

**Save**

This section learns how to compress, archive and transfer files using various tools and methods

Archive and compress are two different concepts, although we often put them together .

To collect, to gather, to contribute to the archive,

a constellation

a congregation

an accumulation

a repetition

repetition

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

 

Ahmed, Sara. Strange Encounters: Embodied Others in Post-coloniality. 2nd ed. Hove, UK: Psychology Press, 2000.

 

Baum, L. Frank. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Luton, UK: Andrews UK Ltd., 2012. https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&scope=site&db=nlebk&db=nlabk&AN=994623.

 

Berlant, Lauren Gail. Cruel Optimism. Durham: Duke University Press, 2011.

 

Butler, Judith. Giving an Account of Oneself. 1st ed. New York: Fordham University Press, 2005.

 

Cavarero, Adriana. Relating Narratives: Storytelling and Selfhood. London & New

York: Routledge, [1997] 2000.

 

Chun, Wendy Hui Kyong. Programmed Visions: Software and Memory. Software Studies.

Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2011.

 

Chun , Wendy Hui Kyong, Sarah Friedland; Habits of Leaking: Of Sluts and Network Cards. differences, 2015

 

Dean, Jodi. "Communicative Capitalism: Circulation and the Foreclosure of Politics." Cultural Politics 1, no. 1 (2005): 51-74.

 

Debord, Guy. The Society of the Spectacle. New York: Zone Books, 1994.

 

Durant, Will. The Story of Philosophy . (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1926)

 

Fisher, Mark. Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? Zero Books. Winchester, UK: Zero Books, 2009.

 

Fisher, Mark. Ghosts of My Life: Writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Futures. Winchester: Zero books, 2013.

 

Forster, E. M. The Machine Stops. New York: Halmos, 2015.

 

Gilbert, Daniel Todd. Stumbling on Happiness, 2009.

 

Glissant, Édouard. Poetics of Relation. Translated by B. Wing, Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 1997.

 

Haraway, Donna Jeanne. “A Manifesto for Cyborgs: Science, technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the 1980s.” The Haraway Reader. New York: Routledge, 2004.

 

Joselit, David. “Painting Beside Itself.” October 130 (October 2009): 125–34. https://doi.org/10.1162/octo.2009.130.1.125.

 

Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Pure Reason, trans. N. K. Smith (1781; New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1965)

 

Kon, Satoshi. 1997. Perfect Blue. United States: GKIDS.

 

Massumi, Brian. Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation. Duke University Press, 2002. https://doi.org/10.1215/9780822383574.

 

Mayer-Schönberger, Viktor, and Kenneth Cukier. Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think. First Mariner Books edition. Boston: Mariner Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014.

 

Muñoz, José Esteban. “Ephemera as Evidence: Introductory Notes to Queer Acts.” Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory 8, no. 2 (January 1996): 5–16. https://doi.org/10.1080/07407709608571228.

 

Muñoz, José Esteban. Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity. Sexual Cultures. New York: New York University Press, 2009.

 

Olson, Marisa. “Lost Not Found: The Circulation of Images in Digital Visual Culture.” In Words Without Pictures, edited by Alex Klein, 27

 

Puar, Jasbir K. “‘I Would Rather Be a Cyborg than a Goddess.’” In Feminist Theory Reader, edited by Carole McCann, Seung-kyung Kim, and Emek Ergun, 5th ed. Fifth edition. | New York, NY : Routledge, 2020.: Routledge, 2020. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003001201-47.

 

Rankine, Claudia. Citizen: An American Lyric. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, 2014

 

Steyerl, Hito. "In Defense of the Poor Image." E-flux Journal 10 (2009).

 

Steyerl, Hito. “A Sea of Data: Apophenia and Pattern (Mis- )Recognition,” E-flux Journal #72, 2016

 

Vierkant, Artie.  Image Objects 2011 – ongoing Prints on aluminum composite panel, altered documentation images http://artievierkant.com/imageobjects.php

 

 



[1] Sound transcript excerpt from, Tianyi Sun, Disposable Utensils, Interactive Installation 2022

 

[2] The U.S. electric grid consists of more than 9,200 electric generating units having more than 1 million megawatts of generating capacity connected to more than 600,000 miles of transmission lines.The electric grid is more than just generation and transmission infrastructure but an ecosystem of asset owners, manufacturers, service providers, and government officials at Federal, state, and local levels.

[3] Sound transcript excerpt from, Tianyi Sun, Disposable Utensils, Interactive Installation 2022

[4] Hito Steyerl, "In Defense of the Poor Image."  E-flux Journal 10 (2009), 8.

[5] Artie Vierkant, Image Objects 2011 – ongoing Prints on aluminum composite panel, altered documentation images http://artievierkant.com/imageobjects.php

[6] Will Durant summarizing Kant’s ideas of idealism in The Story of Philosophy 1926

[7] Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, trans. N. K. Smith 2007

[8] Sound transcript excerpt from, Tianyi Sun, Disposable Utensils, Interactive Installation 2022

[9] Promiscuous mode is a type of computer networking operational mode in which all network data packets can be accessed and viewed by all network adapters operating in this mode. It is a network security, monitoring, and administration technique that enables access to entire network data packets by any configured network adapter on a host system.

[10] Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Sarah Friedland; Habits of Leaking: Of Sluts and Network Cards 2015

[11] Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier , Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think, 190

 

[12] Frank L Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

[13] Claudia Rankine,. Citizen: An American Lyric. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, 2014, 61

[15] Sound transcript excerpt from, Tianyi Sun, Disposable Utensils, Interactive Installation 2022

[16] Massumi, Brian. Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation.

[17] Sound transcript excerpt from, Tianyi Sun, Disposable Utensils, Interactive Installation 2022

[18] “Cruel optimism” as explored by Lauren Berlant in Cruel Optimism

[19] Lauren Berlant, Cruel Optimism. 2011. 2

[20] Satoshi Kon, Perfect Blue. 1997.

[21] Lauren Berlant, Cruel Optimism. 2011. 29

 

[22] Sound transcript excerpt from, Tianyi Sun, Disposable Utensils, Interactive Installation 2022

[23] Cao Fei, Asia One (2018) Color video (with sound, 63 min., 20 sec.) then exhibited as a multimedia installation at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2018. inkjet-printed wall mural; inkjet prints on aluminum, canvas, paper, satin, and transparency film with acrylic, aluminum, light boxes, and wooden frames; painted motorized tricycle with carpet, charms, chromogenic prints, code scanner, handlebar gloves, locks and keys, plastic basket, plastic bottle, plastic crate, plastic shipping tags, postal receipts, ropes, Santa costume, seat pad, shoes, string lights, stuffed toy, and wall hook; hemp sacks; and items with logo of JD.com (backpack, brochure, calendar, cardboard and plastic packaging boxes, cooler bags, envelopes, fanny pack, helmets, packaging tapes, pens, plastic packages, postcards, shipping labels, tape gun, uniforms, and work ID card)

[24] Mark Fisher, Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? 34

[25] Mark Fisher, 17

[26] Hustle culture or “Burnout Culture,” or “Workaholism,” or “Toxic Productivity “or “grind culture” the mentality that one must work all day every day in pursuit of their professional goals. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/26/business/against-hustle-culture-rise-and-grind-tgim.html

[27] AdSense is a program run by Google through which website publishers in the Google Network of content sites serve text, images, video, or interactive media advertisements that are targeted to the site content and audience. Google Expands Advertising Monetization Program for Websites, June 18, 2004, Press Release, Google

[28] “cyberspace” coined by writer and essayist William Gibson for "widespread, interconnected digital technology" in his short story Burning Chrome (1982), and later popularized in his novel Neuromancer (1984)

[29] Mark Fisher, Ghosts of My Life: Writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Futures, 2014

[30] Sound transcript excerpt from Tianyi Sun, Disposable Utensils, Interactive Installation 2022

[31] Adriana Cavarero, Relating Narratives: Storytelling and Selfhood (translation by Paul Kottman)

[32] Cavarero  90–91.

[33] Rehab for addiction usually lasts 28 days, also the average adult’s skincell turnover rate. Love this footnote

[34] Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Programmed Visions: Software and Memory. Software Studies. (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2011), 105.

[35] Chun,175

[36] Judith Butler. Giving an Account of Oneself. 1st ed. New York: Fordham University Press, 2005.

[37] The limit of characters for a tweet on twitter as of 2022.

[38] 弹幕(bullet comments) is an anonymous commenting system first popularized on Asian online streaming and video sharing websites. It allows the user to post anonymously “moving comments” that are in sync with the timestamp of the video it was commented on, and the moment posted. Comments then replay across the screen every time the video is accessed

[39] Jodi Dean “Communicative Capitalism: Circulation and the Foreclosure of Politics." 59

[40] Sound transcript excerpt from, Tianyi Sun, Disposable Utensils, Interactive Installation 2022

[41]  E. M. Forster, The Machine Stops, 18

[42] Sarah Pierce, Future Exhibitions , https://themetropolitancomplex.com/

[43] Items included lamps, desks, screens, items that hinted at administrative offices within art galleries.

[44] Muñoz, José Esteban. Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity. Sexual Cultures. New York: New York University Press, 2009, 86

[45]  E. M. Forster, The Machine Stops, 19

[46] Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle. Thesis 207

[47] Marisa Olson, “LOST NOT FOUND: THE CIRCULATION OF IMAGES IN DIGITAL VISUAL CULTURE,” n.d., 8.