To be honest, I am not entirely passionate about nothingness, emptiness, or daydream. I think they are tough as subject matters for me to make art about. But hear me out:
This is the first time that I am exhibiting art pieces that are predominately text based. All the works that I included in the project Eversince, Audition for Day Dream, are one way or another, about language and production of meaning.
To be more specific, I am interested in the usage of the equal sign as a kind of relation between two things. The sign manifest a symmetrical axis. For example, X = Y + 1. 98 degrees fahrenheit = sweaty armpits. 0.08 alcohol content = drunk driving.
In order for the sign to remain its identity, the balance of quality or substance on either side is paramount. In regarding this exhibition, I am looking at culturally and historically produced equations. The piece Buying Time is a simple gesture to give participants some white space to day dream; in the context of education and work, “doing nothing” or “daydreaming” is looked down upon as unproductive and unfruitful (non)acitivty. These kind of black and white cultural values get me think about other things in the similar vein: we equate productivity with busy schedules, learning with accumulation of information, beauty with art, and time with money. The equation as it is predictable as it is boring. The question is, as an artist, do I assign the two subjects, or deal with the equal-ness of the equal sign, or abandoning it altogether. For me am reluctant to consider the last for several reasons: One, probably not possible. Two, there are symbolic and poetic implications within the operation of the equation, which I think are interesting.
Some formulas I came up while working on the show:
Melancholy = Boredom + lost something but not knowing what.
Happiness = You + me
Absence = -1 or 0
One Hour = USD $10.00
0.999999 = Nothing
Translation of Text = Original Text a little bit of something
The more examples I come up, the more abstract, or even doubtful the equation becomes.
The way we use equation in communication can be scary. Scary because it is efficient, economical, brutal, and even violent (think stereotyping). Not to mention its connotation to computer programming. It rids of subtlety and nuance. It draws a clear line between common sense and total absurdity. People would take it at face value because it is so digestible. I fear it because it makes the two sides of the equation interchangeable. When things are easily interchangeable, we have apathy. The ultimate end game for language would be truism.
Yet at the same time, I welcome it. I welcome it because it sets a parameter for me to think critically, if not creatively, and hopefully transgressively. Perhaps for me this kind of ambience between fearful and welcoming lies a productive space of a sort.
Do I favor the ambiguity of language and aesthetic production over culturally and historically established equations (ultimately, value)? Probably.
But that’s not what the show is about.
All the pieces have something missing, either physically or figuratively. What I am not sure about is what the negation of something is doing in the bigger picture. Where do I put the equal sign? What is “X”? Is there an answer to be found? Or only the substitutes of The Truth? I cannot go down that road because it would throw my whole artistic practice into doubt and suspicion. Surely there is a better time for that.
For now, maybe its best just to consider Sentiment 1 + Sentiment 2.
It will do.