Geographies of “Time Based, Non-Places”

The 3rd Shenzhen Independent Animation Biennale

A wide folding screen forces the audiences to take a detour through both sides, thus a time-based non places have been visually presented to the public. Texts and the color blue between two buildings, at the same time, shall also relax the eyes of the audiences for a while. Over the folding screen lies the C2 exhibition hall of OCT-Loft, where the main exhibition Animation in Space is held.

An interval space similar to a pavilion lies between the folding screen and the exhibition hall; it is a resting place, and has been integrated into its surroundings by the nearby lawn. Surrounded by trees and streetlamps, and equipped with seats and recreation space, this space is suitable for photo enthusiasts and families as well. In addition, despite the cement works and industrial features in this park, a sense of geniality has been highlighted as the whole space been wrapped up by soft materials. It is well considered as a response from man-made objects and industrial objects, as an alternative man-made open park Square of Time.

Audiences could walk into the exhibition hall from the green sidewalks, and experience the unexpectedness of watching the outside views within the green color. While looking or peeping out through the round windowpane, one thereby pays homage to traditional Chinese stories as well as ancient Chinese gardens. Also in this regard, both inside and outside spaces as being divided by this round object has been endowed a sense of permeability and elegance.

Catherine Biocca’s Meeting 4Da tricky presentation of Internet ACG animation and plane collage—stands at the entrance, comprising of a brief set of traditional architecture, sculpture, fresco, and a pair of animated characters discussing boredom. This work represents a transplanted scene of absurdity and sense of humor, so if one walks in the two-dimensional world, can he/she just encounter with a four dimensional space? Time is the axis of the work, but in the meanwhile, as the fourth dimension it needs to be triggered by the audiences.

Whether turning left or right, one could encounter with different artists. The three dimensional space constructed by Catherine Biocca’s two dimensional one is an exit/entrance: if encounter with Aaajiao’s Overlap, one will see light and shadow—an encounter with the minimality of scientific and technological materials as well as abstract pattern; for Hu Weiyi’s Pulp Landscape III, it is a theatrical encounter with machine wheel-work, the rotating machine and the real-time image will build up a tiny space-time dislocation; if one casually encounters with the work Cemetery of Clouds by Yves Netzhammer and Bernd Schurer, the infinitely unfolding space and the chronological animation theatre will push the kernel of the exhibition to boundlessness, and will bring a correspondence with space, as well as a confrontation between the infinitely unfolding visual space and the real space.

David O’Reilly’s Everything is a work of computer game originating from animation, which has been hidden behind the projection screen of Hu Weiyi’s machine wheel-work. A brief three dimensional animation, an ever-rotating scene, and a short advertising film, the work will make a corner of the space rotate, and let the exit of the space disappear at its back. Therefore, exit has been endowed with other implication: is it a threshold to real world, or another fairy tale?

Next to David O’Reilly’s work is Nature and Healer by Angela Washko, a game project from World of Warcraft. The slightly uplifted projection screen will force the audiences to apply a higher viewing angle, thus observing the roof structure of the exhibiting hall on the top. Artist gains an entrance into cyberspace by means of role-playing, and discuss with others on the topic of women. “The council on gender sensitivity and  Behavioral Awareness in World of Warcraft  created by her has been generating these discussions and works. To sum up, the three-dimensional networked animations, the obscured realities, and discussions on computer games that get female topics involved, put the work in a situation of “non-places”, and integrate the scene with the game channel, bringing forth a sense of empathy.

Lu Yang’s work Wrathful King Kong Core brings the space and perspective back to the position of overlooking. It is an art work that connects neurology and religious culture, presenting the inner structure of human body and the scientific image of spirituality. The integration of the physical body of King Kong and science, together with the method of the animation which is similar to medical instruction, has presented an introspective reality, just as the mirror image of oneself, both physical and spiritual.

Next to the work of Aaajiao is Easy Out created by Pat O’Neill in the early 1970s. This large three-screen work with a special photographic chemical and grinding processes provides us a stop-motion animation. Through complex procedure, Pat presents a two-dimensional fresco image, which can be regarded as a best understanding of the influence of cinematic frame and time on animation. Pat’s work is created from eye level, which contributes to spatial and visual ups and downs together with the works of Aaajiao, Yves and Sun Xun. While walking through their works, people will tend to think about the minimalist high-tech materials, about the simplest manual methods and movies, and about the reflections of light and shadow.

Sun Xun’s work The Republic of Jing Bang is solidified in time and space; as a static concept, it echoes to human action and human beings become the scale of time and space in his work. For him, his work can be regarded as a coordinate of space and time. The pamphlet lying horizontally in the space lets people understand the world of whale state, a paradise locating in high seas. Suspended flags indicate its legality, as well as the tradition of secular world and aesthetics; this triptych and quiet space, gets along harmonically with Yves’ diamond-shaped pattern, and Pat’s flat film.

Next to Angela’s work, and upon Lu Yang’s is Ed Fornieles’ Der Geist: Flesh Feast, a small fox as an avatar of artists, network images, animations, and compiled stories, all these are telling about the contemporary anxiety, both spiritually and physically. This work connects Lu Yang’s spirituality and physical senses; and it also connects with a clue to the online community works. Being consistent with Angela’s work, it explores the topics ranging from gender-sensitivity to self-anxiety of being asexual.

Walking in either direction, you cannot miss the Yves Netzhammer and Bernd Schurer’s Cemetery of Clouds, and they finally converge on the last corner of the exhibition. Like a valance of animation, Liu Yi’s work A Crow has been Calling for a Whole Day quietly waiting for the audience to walk through or just around it. It is consistent with that of Aaajiao’s in form, but the ingenuity in its content and structure is closer to the work of Hu Weiyi. In addition, the simplicity of working approach echoes Pat’s work, so the site creation constitutes some kind of integrated works.

At the absence of the road, there is a small ladder upwards, which is not open for the public. This place is a storehouse attached to the space. Mr. Jeffrey Shaw and I chose here to present Pure Land AR co-created by himself and Sarah Kenderdine, which is an extension of the No.220 Dunhuang cave: through like Star Gate, a space represented by a cave image, people can come to another space. The spatial implications and images need to be identified by iPAD, and it continues the exploration of the understanding of Non-places. In this mixed space, the narrowness of the storehouse, and the illusion of the virtual space constitute a cohesive whole. The storehouse of OCAT Creative Park is also connected to the time tunnel of Dunhuang.

The light perception of this space is led by the color blue, and the blue cone builds up a huge cave. The proper disposition of the screens reminds the audience of a hidden landscape garden, in which people need to pitch so as to appreciate the scenery. The animation image and the material of which the work is made become a cognitive medium and natural obstacle. On one side, it is quiet; on the other, lively. From a bird’s view, the work in the center is a rhombic diamond, which is like the eyes embedded in space. From the main hall to the storehouse; from the main exhibition hall back to the entrance, the audience needs to understand the screen, rockery, the exquisite zigzag journey of the traditional cloisters, and the intangible beauty of all above.

Time based, non-places is an experience that is accomplished through the physical somatosensory and the extension of thinking, which must be put into practice in the exhibition hall: to perceive the clues of artists’ creation extended by their works, and to construct the space-time experience by the movements of physical body and the shifts of viewpoint.

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