About PATHS TO THE PAST
If our memory of a certain thing does not exclusively consist of the intrinsic attributes of that thing but the feelings arising from the act of recalling in distinct contexts, and if the sense of home is but the sentiment of settling/stability that strikes us when crossing the borders, then are we not employing some sort of algorithms to define the acts of recalling under distinct contexts as memories and the crossing of borders as departing/arriving home. Hence, how is the memory in the age of algorithms to be represented?
Concept Museum of Art Vol. 2 invites Wang Hsin-Jen to exhibit PATHS TO THE PAST (VR version). The VR space of this work is rendered accordingly to the dimension of the exhibition space to create a customized vision of space for the viewer, which makes it site-specific yet personal. As with Shengang, the artist’s hometown, being where his memory rests and remembrance called to, we who enter the PATHS TO THE PAST will collect our own spatial memory of being in Shengang. Can such images, experience, and memory as presented in the exhibition be construed as real, and be preserved?
Ｗhat defines home? Is it about the geographic coordinate in space, the place of residence on the household registration record, or where the family members have lived for more than ten years? Or perhaps, the meaning of home only surfaces when one is displaced from home, left nowhere to go. PATHS TO THE PAST is a work that delves into memories and home. The artist uses such methods as aerial photography and 3D Immersive Virtual Reality (3D IVR) to create a one-of-the-kind experience. Programmed by algorithms, the visual of the work is morphed real-time, as are the scenes in the VR, juxtaposed and interlaced, and the default landscape takes on an unexpected, fluid new appearance. Accompanied by the audio of field recording and granular synthesis soundscape, this work evokes a strong sense of unutterable nostalgia.
PATHS TO THE PAST (VR version) is different from the dual-channel version in the automatic scheduling algorithm. This version allows the viewer to intervene in the fluid and derivative state of the work. The viewer can choose the viewing perspective freely. Every displacement of the viewer’s body is to be recorded during the process and turned into triggers; thus, the viewing experiences will be distinct for the viewers, and each is unduplicable. As with the “observer effect,” when measured (or observed), the work takes on an unpredictable reality, which reflects the ever-changing relationship the artist has with his home. (text by Wang Hsin-Jen)