EOaW

2018
Smartphones, wire, webpage

About

EOaW is a multi-screen video installation that investigates our relationship with the past and the future at time of hyper-connectivity and accelerated technological innovation.

 

Fifteen used smartphone stand in straight line on a wall at eye level. Their screens are flashing in unison at an always-changing rhythm. Using Morse language, they are visually reading aloud to the audience the dystopian novel of George Orwell, 1984. 

The artist plays with irony and paradoxes to challenge our lingering fear towards technological progress and the way it transforms our shared values. When entering the room, viewers come face-to-face with an "army" of technological devices in straight line that dominate the space. Their fast-flashing screens convey an apocalyptic atmosphere and a sense of emergency. Like prophets of the modern age, they deliver in an analogue visual language, a warning message for the future.

This “end-of-the-world” scene, however, seems from a different time – the smartphones are old, their technology is now obsolete and the Morse language they use to share their dystopian message with the viewer dates from the 19th century - and this series of anachronisms come to question the relevancy of its message.

 

Inspired by Nam June Paik’s "Good Morning Mr. Orwell" , EOaW uses the same literary reference, not only to emphasize the positive utilization of new technologies but also to question our ambiguous relationship with them, balancing between our fast adoption of technological novelty and a fear of the changes it brings to our perception of the world. At a time of culture-wide consideration of the impact of new technologies on communication, privacy, and security, people are often fast to draw a literary analogy between the current state of the world and the world described by George Orwell in his novel. Published on 1949, 1984 depicts dark future in which humans are controlled by technology and manipulated by mass media. While 1984 is a political statement in response of the situation of that time, our tendency of use it nowadays as a prophetic declaration underlies a form of general unease towards the future in our fast-changing world.

Exhibition

2018    “Xcelerator” - Beijing Times Art Museum 10th Anniversary exhibition curated by Charles Lindsay and 

             Saoyu Su /  Times Art Museum  /  Beijing, China