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Friday, July 29, 2016, 00:13

Into the wide unknown

By Chitralekha Basu

Into the wide unknown
The Bird People , Gong Xu.

Do you see what I see?

Feng Chen made a 6-minute video film, Pirate, primarily for a friend who is blind in one eye and therefore unable to enjoy 3D films, a technology accessible only by those with binocular vision. Feng used a camera that could take two pictures at the same time. A motor-controlled tripod was used to regulate the rhythm. “It seems the camera is moving between the viewer’s two eyes, creating a fake 3D effect,” says Feng.

Befittingly, the film is about a one-eyed pirate who is as far from the likes of a swashbuckling Captain Jack Sparrow as he could get. He’s a bit pathetic, if not pitiable, fellow, smothered by his own snot as he speaks, lamenting how he cannot maintain hand-eye coordination during a sword fight because of his bad eye.

“I think the idea here is to challenge the notions of 3D held by people with normal binocular vision,” says Feng, whose attempt to replicate 3D effect by using a different technology is at once driven by a sense of sympathy and satire. It’s a tribute to and as well as mimicry of the 3D effect on viewers, who willingly submit their sense of rationale to experience sensations more enhanced and magnified than they would be in real life.

Feng’s other exhibit, a small square patch of paper, with a heavy, ornate wooden frame, similarly teases the audience’s sense of expectations about paintings. The image, cryptically titled C, changes color – going from shades of grey to a vivid scarlet as the thermal ink responds to the fluctuations in temperature.

“I’m much interested in the appearance and disappearance of the images that may have an impact on people’s sensation and perception,” says Feng. The work is, in fact, a collection of images in a single frame, each located in a fraction of a moment. Feng says it’s his way of responding to moving images and the ability of the human senses to register these minuscule moments of change. His work, as indeed that of the others on show,  are a reminder that having eyesight is not necessarily the same as being able to see.

Into the wide unknown
Lab of Metamorphosis , Zhu Xi.

Into the wide unknown
Like Something that Never Happened , Shao Wenhuan.

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