Artists: Arnont Nongyao, Be Takerng Pattanopas, Stephanie Powell,
and Eiji Sumi with Hiroshi Miyata
Curator: Vuth Lyno
Friday, May 13, 2016
Artist and Curator Panel Discussion: 5:00–6:30 p.m.
Opening Reception: 6:45–8:30 p.m.
Oscillation considers a state of actively moving back and forth between multiple reference points and ideas, during which meanings are produced and reproduced. The exhibition proposes a state of non-fixity as a generative mode, through which our understandings are continuously challenged and reshaped. It embraces a journey of becoming and unbecoming, and resists stability and conformity in order to allow for contingencies and possibilities.
The exhibition presents new works specially produced for the show by five artists from Thailand, Japan and the United States, whose diverse artistic practices explore various complexities of our fluctuating contemporary societies, while attentive to the tensions caused by the continual shifting of conditions, perceptions, and states of being. The audience is invited to explore and oscillate among parallel worlds in question put forward by the artists.
Merz Maze 2 (drag on) is an ambitious experiment by Be Takerng Pattanopas, which energetically explores the collision between optical perception and bodily experience. The work marks a new risk-taking step in the artist’s practice, in particular from being usually highly controlled and well tested to being open to chance and chaos. Merz Maze 2 (drag on) presents an inner space as simultaneously accessible yet unattainable, further pushing the artist’s longstanding investigation in the inaccessibility of the inner.
Informed by the architecture of periscopes and Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s Scala Regia staircase that serves as a part of the entrance to the Vatican, Takerng’ large-scale tunnel invites the audience to navigate through what appears to be a very long, single, escalating passage of mesmerising confusion. The seductive interior installation is complexly layered and textured using familiar materials popular in both daily mass consumption and ritual practice. In Merz Maze 2 (drag on), the physical journey and perceptual vision conflate, while excitement and disappointment collide, questioning the promise of our senses and of the material world.
Eiji Sumi’s Quark IV takes us into a realm of fascination, one that makes us feel so close to the smallest matter yet also suggestive of the larger world beyond—the cosmos. As the title suggests, the work references to the smallest, elementary particle of atom, called a “quark”: a fundamental constituent of all things in the physical world. Through a meticulous coordination of lighting, aeromechanics, and reflective pigments, the artist orchestrates swirling, flickering fine particles like light dust.
Inspired by the intersection of art and science, Sumi’s mechanical work produces an experience of wonder. The installation of Quark IV is complemented by sound work by collaborator Hiroshi Miyata, which heightens the sense of other worldliness. Fascinating and hypnotic, the suspended spectacle only lasts until the mechanism restarts itself, signaling to the underlying cycle of forces that make matter possible.
Stephanie Powell presents a two-channel video titled After the Smoke Clears and the Dust Settles, which explores the politics of hybridised culture, notions of time, and the unsettling structures that sustain them. In one of the video channels, a frail female body is surrounded by rolling tumbleweeds. Tumbleweed, a kind of dry plant that rolls in the wind carrying and dispersing seeds and is categorised in botany as a diaspore, is a potent metaphor for diasporic communities. Here in Powell’s work, the tumbleweeds are coated with black lacquer, a kitschy aesthetic in American popular culture that is derived from references to “Asian” products.
The burden of cultural coating is amplified by the second channel, which depicts a group of masked women playing a Statues game, a process that ends up leaving a body vulnerable. The game also references cultural theorist Paul Virilio’s concept of the “Aesthetics of Disappearance.” According to Virilio, we value and pursue speed, while at the same time, paradoxically are desperate not to miss a moment. Powell’s work hints at the distorted realities we live in our increasingly fast-paced automated societies.
Social and political development, like audio and visual technology, strives for clarity and “stability” as a favoured vision of advancement. Arnont Nongyao’s interest is the opposite; his interactive video and sound work defies such aspirations. Playful and witty, UnStoberry (this is not stoberry) presents and disrupts a live transmission and projection of a video portrait of the audience, making the image shaky, blurry, and transmuted.
At the same time, a live radio broadcast allures visitors, but only to be interrupted at the moment of any audience interaction. Arnont’s UnStoberry discloses other possibilities that aspirations of “stability” effectively exclude. The work functions as a “destabiliser” to allow for unwanted “defects” or multiple versions of possible selves. What is stable is an uncontrollable excess and a refusal to be captured and portrayed.
About the artists:
Hiroshi Miyata (b. 1967, Japan) has a background in music and his practice centers on computer-generated sound. He has been working as a composer, sound designer, and freelance teacher. He currently creates sound for international televisions and Japanese public enterprises, while also engages in commissioned sound projects in Thailand. Miyata graduated from the University of Washington, Seattle.
Arnont Nongyao (b. 1979, Thailand) works with various media including sound, video, and installation, often in site-specific and public spaces. His practice with sound centers on exploring modes of listening and hearing as a social situation and an exercise of control. Arnont is Co-Director of Chiang Mai Collective (CMC), an open network of innovative sound artists and practitioners in Chiang Mai. Arnont holds a BFA from Chiang Mai University.
Be Takerng Pattanopas’ (b. 1965, Thailand) artistic practice addresses the notions of space, light, human body, and relationships among them. His media spans from drawing, painting, sculpture, installation to sound, video, and light, while he also tends to blur the distinction among them. He is the Director of CommDe, the international program in communication design of Chulalongkorn University. Takerng received an MA from University of Wales, Cardiff and a PhD from Cheltenham & Gloucester CHE, the UK.
Stephanie Powell (b. 1972, Japan) was born on an American navy base in Japan then relocated to the U.S. She works with different media including photograph, video, sculpture, light and installation. The problematic of cultural construction and consumption in relation to the Asian American communities informs the core concept of her work. Powell is currently a Professor at Pratt Institute, NYC. She holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Eiji Sumi (b. 1970, Japan) moved to New York in 1993 where he pursued his career in art and design. His work primarily consists of light, sculpture, and installation, usually pushing for an immersive experience achieved through the merging of art and science. He currently resides in Bangkok and is a lecturer at CommDe, the international program in communication design of Chulalongkorn University. Sumi holds a degree in Industrial Relation from Rikkyo University, Tokyo.
Vuth Lyno (b. 1982,Cambodia) is an artist, curator and artistic director of Sa Sa Art Projects, based in Phnom Penh.
Be Takerng Pattanopas, Merz Maze 2 (drag-on) detail, 2016
Recycled wood, cardboard, fabric and plastic
Eiji Sumi with Hiroshi Miyata, Quark IV detail, 2016
Stephanie Powell, After the Smoke Clears and the Dust Settles, 2016
Two-channel video with sound
Arnont Nongyao, UnStoberry (this is not stoberry) installation sketch, 2016
Video and sound installation
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