INFINITY / 糸 MI
NEW MEDIA INSTALLATION, GENERATING ALGORITHM, NATURE MATERIAL DISPLAYER
SUZHOU. CHINA 2021
The character "糸" resembles half of the Chinese character "絲" in terms of shape and signifies fine filaments. These simple basic elements can be woven into infinitely complex possibilities by following different rules. The work under discussion, titled "糸-Infinity," was created using digital generation techniques to affirm the concept of the exhibition. The origin of computer programming can be traced back to textile machinery, which was used to control the jacquard punched paper card. The concept of "silk" symbolizes a connection between ancient civilizations and new directions, while digital generative art is reminiscent of the weaving process. The team involved in the creation of the artwork utilized programming to establish rules for the basic elements and to sketch nature.
The starting point for the creation of this artwork was the number 3, which holds a magical significance according to Lao Tzu's philosophy, "Life is two, two give birth to three, three give birth to everything." Numerous natural phenomena exhibit infinite variability when reduced to their fundamental components, with the silkworm serving as a pertinent example. At the start of their spinning process, silkworms must find three fulcrums, as two points only form a two-dimensional plane, while three points can establish a three-dimensional space. They then proceed to weave a three-dimensional space around themselves to complete the process of cocooning, pupating, breaking out of the cocoon, and laying eggs. If the spinning path of the silkworms is observed closely, it becomes apparent that the path gradually winds inward in a distinct "S" or "♾" shape because they do not overlap with other silkworms' space.
Similarly, "糸-Infinity" started at 3, with its generation logic restricted to a limited space that set three groups of lines growing simultaneously. The lines were allowed to grow freely, like gluttonous snakes, but were prohibited from making contact with each other. As a result, they divided the limited picture frame into three areas that appear blended but are distinctly different. The use of asymmetric numbers, mutual invasion, and avoidance actions generates dynamic imbalances and re-balances that subvert stereotypical visual images of computer graphics. Upon observing these figures, it is evident that they grow in trajectories similar to those of silkworms as they spin silk, not due to any deliberate design but rather as an inevitable outcome of the same "operation" method.
The culminating display of the artwork is bifurcated into three parts: The initial segment showcases three sets of dots that proliferate dynamically and in a chaotic manner, akin to cells frenziedly swimming in disarray under a microscope. The second phase of the exhibition witnesses a shift in perspective to a higher dimension, wherein these mobile points coalesce to form lucid lines and readily recognizable tracks. Though the velocity of the dots as fundamental components remains constant, the pace of the entire picture seems markedly slower. The third and final section depicts a satellite cloud image viewpoint. The rate of the dot remains unchanged, and the image seems almost static, yet alterations are still perceptible if one waits a moment.
While the artwork's "nature" does not entirely align with Zhang Zao's proclamation, "nature outside, in the heart of nature," there is still a certain degree of analogous sentiment. Perhaps this artwork could impart more insight into the realm of new media or future computer-based creations, going beyond intricate computations and formulas. Is there room for deeper understanding and creation that link with the natural world and collaborate with the heavens and the earth?
Upon completion of the artwork, the workshop that transpired during the Shanghai Improv Art Festival was an expanded iteration of the concept behind this artwork. Each individual is placed into a blank time as a "silkworm," following the logic of silk generation, attempting to generate a "natural sketch" of humankind. Diverging from the exhibition artwork, human performance art as a more autonomous individual, is inherently inclined towards breakthrough and liberation, integrated into the final presentation of the artwork.