ERROAR!#1 the Insider

vinyl, webAR application

Installation view, TECHNO//MYSTICISM, Eastern Bloc, Montreal, 2022. Fig. 1 – 3 Photo by Vjosana Shkurti. Fig. 4 Left Photo by Maia Harris.

Installation view, The Lonely Spirit, Inside-Out Art Museum, Beijing, 2018.

In 2016, one of South Korea’s most high-profile Go players, Lee Sedol, was challenged by an AI player, fittingly named AlphaGo. In order to defeat one of the strongest players in the history of the strategy board game, AlphaGo was allegedly powered by 1920 CPUs and 280 GPUs. ERROAR!#1, a part of the ERROAR! series, simulates a hybrid (augmented-audiovisual) space that features 1920 images of CPUs and 280 images of GPUs to materialize AlphaGo’s hardware use, or its “brain capacity” on a 1-1 scale.

Deep Aware Triads

vivirvivirvivir

24” diameter each

giclée print triptych

installation view, ​ÉCRAN TOTAL, Centre de Design de l’UQAM à Montréal 2021. Photo by Michel Brunelle

Saudade

Saudade

48” diameter

archival giclée print lightbox

installation view, ​filling the Klein bottle (x) { (curated by Belinda Kwan), Varley Art Gallery of Markham, 2020. Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid

orishormonaspina

36” diameter each

giclée print triptych

Deep Aware Triads is a process or method, an attempt to translate various complex systems and phenomena into images through the lens of artificial intelligence. It involves a process for making digital collages that is based on the diagrams of artificial neural networks. For each subject matter, I make image databases that are accumulated with hundreds of images and diagrams from stock photograph archives and academic research papers. Utilizing these research materials as source, I misuse the content-aware fill function in image processing software to blend boundaries of digital images with machine calculated pixels. Images encroach on each other as digital bodies, creating unexpected and obscure brushes and textures. Resembling a microscopic view, the final work with intricate details appears to stimulate algorithmic pareidolia.

vivirvivirvivir (2020 – 2021) researches and foregrounds the agencies of viral systems as means and metaphor through the biological, the computational, and the linguistic. Saudade (2019 – 2020) is about the phenomena of Saudade, which “names the presence of absence and takes melancholy delight in what’s gone”, through researching the paradoxes and relationships between migration, tourism, and existentialism. As the first set of work employing this process, orishormonaspina (2019) explores how technology makes an impact on different systems inside the human body by attributing a chosen theme and associated keywords to each circle: Oral (oris), Hormonal (hormona), Spinal (spina).

(‘ve) said a mouthful

duration & dimension variable

2020 – 2021,v1, interactive poetry (app)

Permalink: https://app.pureapparat.us/mouthful

This work was a response to Shaheer Zazai’s project Is, but will be at Blackwood Gallery as part of the Reader-in-Residence program.

(‘ve) said a mouthful v1 is an interactive poem coded as a web application. A dataset of found English onomatopoeia words and one of default HTML color names are mapped onto a 10 x 10 grid and shuffled through clicking. When the mouse hovers over the individual grid, the browser’s text-to-speech feature would be triggered to read the word iterating through 47 different voices from different regions around the world. Reading English’s roman spelling from the mouths of 47 different languages generates new phonetic possibilities and (un)meanings.

Interactions: unmute to listen, click to shuffle, hover to voice, move to thread, stay to choir.

Telematic Allergies

installation views, stem to where we grew stuck, Hearth, 2020. Fig. 2 & 4 & 11 Photo by Philip Leonard Ocampo

duration & dimension variable

recycled e-waste (electronics of various sorts, speaker cones of various sorts, CD & DVD of various sorts), soldering station, electric wires and circuits, copper spirals, electromagnetism, single-channel video-app

duration & dimension variable

moss, golden pothos, burette, found bracelet, found shower head

received from recycled electronic wastes ~ (electromagnetic signals made audible) ~ received by recycled electronic wastes

What Lets Lethargy Dream Produces Lethargy’s Surplus Value

v1.1

two-channel HD video (12’24”, color, sound)

installation views, Allegorical Circuits for Human Software (curated by Laurie Cotton Pigeon), Place Publique, Darling Fonderie, 2020. Photo by Hugo St-Laurent

What Lets Lethargy Dream Produces Lethargy’s Surplus ValueMy body is connected to a system of interfaces and sensors that translate the brainwave signals collected from my sleep into visuals and sounds. The visuals that are responsive to the brainwave data transition between choreographed body movements, while the same set of bio-data modulates the song L’Internationale as a standard of the international communist movement.

The core of the work is a performance of “doing-nothing”. It is a visual and sonic anthem of fatigue and frustration, a useless polemic to the over-demand of productivity in a reality where acts of “doing-nothing” such as relaxation have been exploited to produce surplus value. The act of “doing nothing” in this work is an act of passive disengagement when lethargy becomes the productivity of useless labouring that is at the same time oversimplified and regulated by bio-cybernetic feedback loops.

All Tomorrow’s Oceans

2020, audio-visual performance at Send + Receive Sound Festival.

Thanks to the support of the Ontario Arts Council

duration & dimension variable

2019, audio-visual installation (AI-generated moving images, generative composition)

I scraped images that were found through searching keywords “ocean” in commercial stock photograph archives, and later the database of ocean images through an artificial intelligence algorithm. The machine-generated morphing pixels bear a visual resemblance to sea waters. It is the idea of “ocean” or the “oceanic desire” that is controlled by the representational power and cultural authority of the stock image ecosystem, while the bio-political control is compounded by the algorithmic economy. The final installation is sound reactive, featuring a generative composition which was later evolved into an improvised audio-visual performance where I mimic whale vocalization with my own voice and sequence the sounds in “recursive” rhythmic patterns that are common in humpback whale songs.

The contradictory connotation of the title lies in that the ocean is an idea beyond individual human experiences and spacetime. “All Tomorrow’s” expresses a timeless vision of symbiosis with nature, from the past to the present, and an ultimate nostalgia towards the ocean.

S.Q.U.I.R.R.E.L.S

S.Q.U.I.R.R.E.L.S.

duration & dimension variable

2020,score-app

Permalink: https://app.pureapparat.us/squirrels/

This work was commissioned by the Canadian Music Centre, in partnership with the Music Gallery in 2020. 

5’45”

2016,video score

performance views, Noiqouvdcseality, Array Space, Toronto, Canada 2016. Performed by Mickle lynn. Photo by Henry Chan.

S.Q.U.I.R.R.E.L.S.

S.Q.U.I.R.R.E.L.S. is a score and web app that pulls animated gifs from the GIPHY database using two sets of keywords: one set is based on animals, the other on distinct body languages. As an instructional visual score, S.Q.U.I.R.R.E.L.S. is open for musicians and dancers to interpret GIFs as the smallest units that compose variations and pulses. As a web-based application, S.Q.U.I.R.R.E.L.S. collages and considers GIFs as found moving images that are visual specimens of contemporary tropes and symbols, and our collective behavior patterns.

Predictable uncertain time is programmed in this score-app, querying an indexed database that is built in extracted events, memories and wants. It creates a synesthetic language that is dynamically generative and does not stop making new meanings. Originally based on an English idiom, this work attempts to address that to find is to locate a nut, to land on the signified. The truth or the only perfect mapping is indiscutable when a musician interprets a visual score, or when human associates gestures with movements of animals.

 

Universal Serial Bus

Limited edition of 25 Custom USB drives

Each USB features 15 tracks of field recordings (2012 – 2020), sculpture in clay, and a desktop application (macOS only).

Released by Squint Fucker Press in 2020.

Universal Serial Bus

desktop application (macOS only)

The Universal Serial Bus is an easy-listening trip to be heard but not listened to. The hours-long ambient sounds in the release are field recordings that are processed through X’s learnt listening patterns. Perceiving the surrounding spectrum in harmonics, X tunes the body as an interface to the recorded fields. At the nexus of noise and music, the USB is an extension to X’s long term project in the sonic banality of “useless music”, a counterproductive twist to muzak’s total design of background music.

“I would describe it as listening to great music in a room surrounded by very little music. When you feel it, USB sounded the best. From warped machine sounds, to the triumphant electromagnetic-samples, to the mysterious windy signal jam, USB gives me the sense of an ordinary person going about his life.”

“…a similar sound fingerprint for ‘households’, ‘streets and ‘birds’ had already been found, but offered no further details as to the sound sources. IKEA also included various USBs for their showrooms, including its kitchens, living rooms and other interior spaces. Some of the combinations of these natural-sounding sounds could be an alternative to listening to it in the room itself, especially in quiet environments”

“In this sense, it is something passive; its accompaniment by sound is intended to be a marginal piece of sound, a discreet vehicle that might be better understood as an editorial device than as a potential repository of music.”

The Spectacles Before Us Were Indeed Sublime

Coda

Coda 2018

dimension variable

two-channel 4K video (b/w, sound, loop), dye sublimation print on flag, light of warm shades, galvanized plano-concave structure / wooden Penrose staircases

Fig.2 installation view, The Stories That Tell Stories, Trinity Square Video, 2018. Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid

Fig.3 installation view, ​filling the Klein bottle (x) { (curated by Belinda Kwan), Varley Art Gallery of Markham, 2020. Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid

LENTICULAR PRINT ⤻

Coda, the passage that brings a movement to an end, marks the beginning of the series.

The first video channel shows the front deck and its ship flag announcing the various possible destinations — shuffling through words with connotations related to maritime travel. The second channel is the rear view of a moving ship. It depicts undulating water wakes, boundless ocean and the horizon.

The four staircases in the installation are a fragmented version of the Penrose stairs, a spatial model that violates the rules of Euclidean geometry. The illusion of ascending and descending on Penrose stairs is similar to the built-in staircases on cruise ships which appear identical and intentionally generate a sense of disorientation and confinement. As in a shopping mall, these architectural decisions are meant to be labyrinthine, encouraging the ongoing search for entertainment and consumable goods. Taking apart the Penrose stairs demystifies the incomprehensible geometry and symbolically disrupts the profit-driven design intentions of cruise ships.

In the background, hung in the air is a flag printed with a computer-generated image of the horizon. Warm shades shine through the horizon and the glistening surface of the fabric or the ocean, creating an illusionary puzzle— the sun in this simulated sky could be considered real or fake, rising or setting, and or in between.

Navigating the uncharted waters simulated by virtual time-space, the ship constitutes a perpetual attempt to leave the past behind. and move towards an uncertain future.

Every Body is Every Atom is Every Net is Every Wave 2019

Through an active webcam, this interactive installation mirrors an ever-changing metaverse that interweaves undulating cartographic grids with dissolving contours of somatic movement from its audience and surrounding architectural space. The present and the past collapse when the moving images are projected onto free hanging mirror film scrolls. Physical reflections of bodily data fill the space with transient lights and shadows — the biodigital imagery invoking the networked world, colonized by computation on a planetary-scale, and also the liquid impermanence of consciousness and self.

duration & dimension variable

kinetic interactive installation (webcam/Kinect, custom software system, mirror film scrolls)

Fig.5 installation view, All Hours (curated by Bojana Stancic), The Henry Moore Sculpture Centre, Art Gallery of Ontario, 2019.

Fig.6 & 7 & 8, installation view, filling the Klein bottle (y) { (curated by Belinda Kwan), InterAccess, 2020. Fig. 6 & 7 photo by Natalie Logan

Belly of the Whale 2019 – 2020

duration & dimension variable

virtual reality experience (VR headset and controller, in collaboration with Jonathan Carroll), real-time EEG sonification  (brainwave sensing headset, surround sound, custom software system), salt

This project is supported by Toronto Arts Council. EEG headset is sponsored by MUSE thanks to Brendan Lehman.

Fig.13 installation view, ​filling the Klein bottle (x) { (curated by Belinda Kwan), Varley Art Gallery of Markham, 2020. Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid

Fig.14 & Fig.17 installation view, filling the Klein bottle (y) {​ (curated by Belinda Kwan), InterAccess, 2020. Photo by Natalie Logan

Belly of the Whale takes the first chapter as a point of departure for a first-person view virtual reality experience of cruising. On the ship, passengers’ geo-locations are tracked and stored as data streams. Traces of their navigational paths are visualized as ghostly specters, dynamically laid over time, visible in the next user’s VR experience. The micro-pathways of audience movements reflect the macro migration patterns and systemic structures of surveillance capitalism. An impossible staircase appears, using a generative algorithm to create new steps each time the user goes up or down, trapping them in a navigational loophole.

Fig.15 & Fig.16 diagrams for brainwave biofeedback

While the user experiences the VR scenes, the brainwave headband worn by themselves or their surrounding peers feeds a custom software with the ebb and flow of their brain wave signals. The brain wave data is then translated into ocean-like waves of pink noise, sweeping viewers and listeners into the proverbial ocean.

Overture 2019 – 2020

duration & dimension variable

data visualization of VR user paths (in collaboration with Jonathan Carroll)

Fig.19 screencap, filling the Klein bottle(z) { }}} (curated by Belinda Kwan), online game developed by Jonathan Carroll. featured exhibition of CONTACT Photography Festival, presented by Bunker 2 Contemporary Art Container, in partnership with Trinity Square Video, 2020.

The Spectacles Before Us Were Indeed Sublime depicts a fictional voyage on a cruise ship named E. Bending spacetime in a first-person view, Spectacles uses cruise imagery as a speculative vantage point for re-imagining the colonial past in the shared present, and gestures towards the cultural implications of maritime voyage as not only the starting point of modern global colonialism, but of segregated diaspora and migration more broadly. On the metaphysical level, Spectacles researches the ocean as an archetype of the unconscious that is in constant transmutation and translates the oceanic as tangible experiences channeling the planetary sensorium from a perspective that is towards an ontology of wave.

Related exhibition/text: filling the Klein bottle

The Oral Logic

installation view, solo exhibition at Pari Nadimi Gallery, Toronto, Canada, 2019.

Garrulous Guts 2019

dimension variable

two-channel animation, subwoofers, clear gelatin capsules, anti-biotics, anti-estrogen hormone, air ducts, generative algorithmic composition (in collaboration with Jason Doell)

Cmd & Ctrl Chewing Gum 2019

2.5”x 2.5”, limited edition of 30

natural chicle gum base, sugar, dextrose, cane syrup, wafer paper, edible ink

PURCHASE OVER ⤻

Qi 2019

dimension variable

single-channel video(2’52”)

ERROAR!4

ERROAR!#4 2019

dimension variable

single-channel video(3’25”), interactive web-based application, laser-engraved mirror, 3D prints, generative poetry on paper scroll, algorithmic composition (in collaboration with Jason Doell)

WORK DETAILS ⤻

orishormonaspina

Deep Aware Triads – orishormonaspina 2019

36” diameter each

giclée print (triptych)

WORK DETAILS ⤻

The exhibition is an assemblage of four multimedia installations that expand The Oral Logic thread out of Ye’s extensive research on the poetics and politics of human-machine coupling.

Turning the gaze inward on bodily systems, the installations are conceptualized using the cannibalistic metaphor of “eating and being eaten” to contemplate on our dialectic relationships with technology. We as bio-cultural-technological amalgams have always merged our mental activities with the operations of technologies in a broader sense. For example, writing is a technology we use to make sense of ourselves and the world as it reconfigures our consciousness. Having entered the electronic landscape, we, both consumer and feeder devour and chew, digest and absorb electronic culture in all domains. From eating to speaking, from the molecular to the epistemological, our body and psyche are subject to the cybogian economy where massive networks show affective and cognitive agencies and planetary computation is mobilized by the entangled power of political ideologies, economic imbalance, and cultural disparities. It is in such a context where The Oral Logic attempts to question “to what extent would this symbiosis evolve?”

The four installations interweave the The Oral Logic as if our minds already operate as silicon-carbon intelligence hybrids. At the centre of the space located pumping low-frequency sounds, which activate the sculptural diagrams on the wall and animated digestive system mapped with malleable texts. Machine learning algorithms are employed to produce text, sound and image during artist’s process of collaborating with digital bodies.

The metaphor of cannibalism in Brazilian literature and translation theory offers ways to rethink cultural assimilation in colonial and post-colonial conditions. Borrowing the same idea to think about technological incorporation, Ye blends e-wastes with living organisms and proposes “vomit as a method” to redefine and reclaim human agencies in the hyper-control societies.