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, single-channel video-app

duration & dimension variable

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

Telematic Allergies 01_ tethering.wav 2’50” 02_ taming.wav 2’30” 03_ transcending.wav 2’30”  

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 electrophysiological data (EEG brainwave signals) from my sleep into visuals and sounds in real time. The visuals transition between choreographed body movements, while the sound modulates l’internationale as a human-centric anarchist ideal. This work is a performance of “doing-nothing” that has been exploited to produce surplus value. It is a visual and sonic anthem of fatigue and frustration, a useless polemic to the over-demand of productivity in a reality that is continuously involuted into what it inherits. The act of “doing nothing” is passive disengagement, when lethargy becomes the productivity of useless labouring that is at the same time oversimplified and regulated by bio-cybernetic feedback loops.


“What Lets Lethargy Dream Produces Lethargy’s Surplus Value is a performance that simulates a synesthetic experience by translating bio-data into visuals and sounds. The artist relies on a retroactive system, using an electroencephalogram (EEG) and sensors, to pick up bioelectric signals from her body while in a sleep state. Meanwhile, the artist listens to the generated sounds, creating a feedback reflex to her dream state. Various data is then processed through a computer program that generates an artificial universe, revealing the extent of these involuntary reflex actions. These are calculated by the computer in the form of binary codes, which are then associated with synaesthetic images and sounds. Presented as a hymn to chronic fatigue, What lets lethargy dream produces lethargy’s surplus value extends onto the reflections of the performance series, Allegorical Circuits for Human Software, and invites us to review the relationship we have with our bodies, as digital speed amplifies both the acceleration of the world and our emotional exhaustion.”  — Laurie Cotton Pigeon

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 a generative adversarial network (GAN). 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.

Deep Aware Triads

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.

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).

xi xi

the solo LP xi xi 息息 is a compilation of live and studio improvisations recorded between 2016 and 2019. Although the online description refers to it as Ye’s debut LP, the recording nonetheless marks the end of her current approach to music; she’ll be taking a break from the kind of improvising that has formed the foundation of her current practice, and xi xi 息息 is her sonic summary of that work.

The B side of the album is one live set from 2016 that is cut into five different pieces. The A side features four discrete tracks, each using a different setup. Electronic sounds figure heavily on both sides, either as haunting backdrops or built into blooming transitions that force the music forwards or sideways. But while many of the techniques on the album could plausibly fall in the electroacoustic music genre, electronic effects aren’t something Ye is concerned with. On the first track, below beyond green 绿, she sampled three octaves of her vocal range and fed them into a Max patch on her computer. Rather than trying to change the sounding qualities of her voice, though, Ye simply used the patch to randomize the note sequences; in the final track, the samples themselves remain totally unprocessed…..

On the first three tracks of xi xi 息息, Ye uses an electronic module for real-time biofeedback called MIDI Sprout, which, when touched, translates electrolytes present in the body into MIDI. Others have used the module primarily as a way of sonifying plants. ‘Plants never say that they want to be heard,’ Ye says—and, after a pause., ‘but I use my own body.’

Listening to those tracks, you can sense the audible connections between the voice, instruments, and electronics…..”

from Xuan Ye: Plurality & Dissonance by Sara Constant on Musicworks (Issue. 136) 2020

xi xi 息息 is Xuan Ye’s debut LP. Compiled from solo improvisations across a three year span, the recordings comprise a fascinating document of X’s foundational ideas: free improvisation, computational randomness, noise of the field, hybrid chaos of gestures and mediated bio-electrical currents.

xi xi 息息 is out on November 29th on Halocline Trance (LP, WAV). All songs by Xuan Ye. Mastered by David Psutka. A Side (2019) & bonus track (2016) recorded by Jason Doell; B side (improvisation live set Nov. 16, 2016) recorded by Aaron Dawson. This album features artwork by Véronique Sunatori + Sara Maston, with calligraphy by Xuan Ye. Distributed by SRD and available to purchase via fine music retailers worldwide.

xi xi

Photo by Mary Chen, 2019

 

 

ERROAR!#4

dimension variable

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

ERROAR!#4 contemplates on the phenomenon of “cannibalism” as a metaphor for cultural and technological assimilation, especially in the process of human-artificial-intelligence coupling. Entirely composed of stock videos, the single-channel video essay is derived from an online anecdote about the first case of “virtual cannibalism” conducted by AI agents during DARPA’s early experiments. The piece of generative poetry titled “Past Said Lore” on the paper scroll is co-authored with a recurrent neural network to write in the style of John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Through a webcam and a mirror, the networked software “misrecognizes” human faces as “objects”, due to incorrect and incomplete training and learning. Being objectified by an object in error creates an infinite feedback loop between the mirror and the camera, performing a metaphorical autophagy, just like the closed loop of human skeleton eating tailbone.


The Erroar! Series speaks to the errant and noise that emerge from experiments of intelligence agents for understanding human’s cognitive functions through artificial neural networks, and how these technological errors open up new creative potentials that in return reconfigure our perceptions, affect and imaginations. Most visual-textual-sonic materials involved are generated from the process in which artist use open data in various formats to train prevalent machine learning algorithms.