Oct 14

The Focus of My Works

mayongfeng , 10:27 , essay | 品味 , 评论(0) , 引用(0) , 阅读(2341) , Via 本站原创
Ma Yongfeng

From 2002 to 2006, I have created a series of video installations and photographic work relating to aspects of animal culture, man-made environments and topographic modelling. In my video installations and photography of recent years, I have proceeded into more interdisciplinary, multi-domain exploration and research, ranging from natural history to animal culture and fossil archaeology in combination with long-term observation of biological habitat restorations, archaeological simulations, geographical models and displays in natural history museums. I have attempted to discuss “the status” of humans and animals, the relations between them, how the animal culture affects the human self and the relationship between artificial environments, natural habitats and aesthetics. Have humans become the Earth’s most formidable drive in species evolution?

In "The Origin of Species", a photographic series from 2005, I captured some scenes from the zoological garden and reconstruct them. These photos were of the man-made backgrounds of simulated biological habitats consisting of waterfalls, rivers and the woods but in the middle is a composed environment of dead trees, stone, sand, string and guano illuminated under a gloomy natural light, giving an atmosphere of bewildering dispiritedness, bearing a sense of tragic beauty. In the photos, all the animals have vanished, leaving behind a scene of solitude and suspension. This is perhaps the scene that precedes the ‘origin of the species’ or the aftermath of biological extermination. All signs of bodily life have disappeared, including human ones. My other photographic series in 2006, "Ideal conditions of a Weather Forecast " shows pre-made topographical models which I drenched in heavy rain for a very long time and then photographed with a digital camera these imitations of geomorphological terrains. What results after the digital processing is a return another kind of ‘reality after reality’, strongly resembling the effects painting or drawing.

A completely different conceptualism manifests in my video installations. From the single-channel video “The Swirl” in 2002 to the three-channel installations of “Beijing Zoological Garden" (2004) and "Storm Model" (2005), they all present complex relations with the Chinese tradition of drawing. "The Swirl” is a significantly conceptual work, where several goldfish are thrown into a whirling washing machine as though the literary intelligentsia were dejectedly discussing the decline of traditional values in modern China. But "Beijing Zoological Garden" utilises the filmic language to resurface the human constructedness of animal culture and the spirit of Song Dynasty Chinese painting. In the more recent "Storm Model", I constructed an installation model of a flood scene and videoed it under changing lighting conditions and artificial flashes in my studio. It was then projected onto a wall as a video installation, which I then termed an ‘installation after installation’.

In the above two photographic series, I have attempted to bring into my photography elements drawn from installation and painting, seeking a kind of harmonious ‘non-realism’. These scenes and environments which I have actively represented are a form of alternative reality. The falsity of an artificial environment prompts us to ponder about what is the concept of ‘the real’? In the video installations, the tendency is towards a form of ‘remediatisation’, amalgamating the filmic language and mobile environments, ideas that are continued into my present video works.
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