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亲爱的观众,

Dear audience,

 

欢迎进入王梓全的个人项目“空气动物”(Creatures of the Air),整场展览是艺术家创作的一件携带时间轴的装置。在他过往的艺术实践中,CG影像是自己操作软件的过程记录,行为本身具有虚构的叙事,绑定在渲染的图像、3D建模的空间与时间轴上。CG通过电脑动画建造场景、实时生成并存储图像、自由切换视角的工作方法,同样适用于其他媒介的思考和创作。持续进行的“控制界面”系列整合了发挥元语言功能的CG图像编辑效果与激光雕刻技术营造的古典雕塑感。艺术家借助3D建模软件截取上百帧来自不同游戏动画的经典动作,骨骼绑定在同一个虚拟人物。雕塑身体被离奇地拆解、重组、拉平,在时间轴上来回运动,直到完美的数字形象出现并由物质性的处理手法定格为标记时间的浮雕。

 

Welcome to Wang Ziquan's solo project “Creatures of the Air”, presenting an installation that carries a time axis. In Wang’s past practice, computer-generated (CG) imagery has been a record of himself operating the software, the act of which has a fictional narrative and is bound to the spatial and temporal axes of rendered images and 3D modeling. The working methods of CG, including building scenes through computer animation, generating and storing images in real time, as well as the shifting of perspectives, are equally applicable to the thinking of and creating with other mediums. Wang’s ongoing "Control Interface" series integrates the effects of CG image editing, functioning as meta-language, with a touch of classical sculpture brought by laser engraving techniques. The artist uses 3D modeling software to capture hundreds of frames of classic movements from different game animations, skeletally binded to the same avatar. The body of the sculpture is bizarrely disassembled, reassembled and flattened, moving back and forth on the time axis until the perfect digital figure emerges and is framed by material treatment as a relief that bears the marks of time.

 

如何在虚拟与现实的交汇处生成观看物理世界不可见部分的路径,完成掀开雕塑底座动作,是艺术家推进本次展览的出发点。如果说“空气动物”是王梓全以不同媒介为角色编写的剧本,场域特定的体验则是他动态捕捉观众注意力的界面。悬停在展厅上方的金属管道所围合的半封闭雕塑空间,是项目发生的前提、无人机竞速与侦查的轨道、人类与机器存在的共同基础、触发一场无限游戏的机制。穿越机(FPV first-person-view Drone)第一视角的观看与永不止息的运行,持续生产、更新数据。三屏录像实况转播穿越机在管道内部采集的画面,合成观众的外置器官。两位表演者受限而本能的反应同海量难以溯源或分类的物质混合,犹如被填充、叠加、切割、丢失的图层。声音的出现进一步混淆观众的视听。手动操控穿越机的飞手在后台贡献的劳动、专业与热情,是不断改写这场拉力赛规则的技术支持。“空气动物”尝试建立一个全新的访问系统,信息的积累与消散实时塑造流动的状态。

 

How to generate a path to view the invisible parts of the physical world at the intersection of the virtual and the real, and to complete the act of lifting the base of the sculpture, is the starting point for the artist to develop this exhibition. If "Creatures of the Air" is a script written by Wang Ziquan with different mediums as characters, the site-specific experience is his interface to dynamically capture the audience's attention. The semi-closed sculptural space enclosed by metal pipelines hovering above the exhibition hall is the premise for the project, the track for drone racing and scouting, the common ground for human and machine existence, as well as the mechanism for triggering an infinite game. The viewing in the first-person perspective of the FPV drone and its never-ending operation continue to produce and update data. The images captured by the drones inside the pipelines are broadcast live on three channels, synthesizing into the external organs of the audience. The restricted yet instinctive responses of the two performers are mixed with a vast amount of materials that are difficult to trace or classify, as if they were filled, overlaid, cut, and lost in layers. The presence of sound further confuses the audience. The labor, professionalism and enthusiasm of the pilots who manually operate the drones in the back stage are the technical support that keeps rewriting the rules of the rally. "Creatures of the Air" attempts to create a new access system, where the accumulation and dissipation of information form a flowing state in real time.

 

 

不稳定的状态时刻宣告着展览是事件,不能依据Cinema 4D方案效果图预见项目实现的极致情境。什么可以包括在内-什么应该排除在外的创作选择需要交付现场判断。类似地,置身操作间的飞手和寄居管道内的表演者依靠经验与直觉,联合履行一项虚构的使命。一般来讲,遥控或遵从预设程序的无人机能够执行军事、工业勘探、商业航拍、科研等任务。投递者与接收者之间的信息不对称是智能监控设备针对个人隐私实施的暴力。形同空气动物的穿越机占据至高无上的观测位置,不间断的飞行传输川流不息的图像,搜寻生命迹象;裸体蜷缩在管道中的表演者成为约等于人类的动物以及易受攻击的目标,他们暴露在确认的位置经受穿越机无预警的洗礼,通过即兴的对话与动作呼唤被遗弃的同类或躲避盘旋逼近的天敌。艺术家捡拾遗留在建筑工地、河边街道的垃圾,搅拌材料列表中事物的秩序。丧失自主性的表演者貌似周遭的物体,个人与社会的物质记忆均被当作数据存储于管道。混为一体的废弃物拒绝被观众全面探视,沙砾的现实质地说明它曾在附近出没,来自无法再度访问的过去,可以被摧毁。王梓全制造出不适宜居住的隔绝环境——充斥污垢和废料、毫无安全保障或行动自由——这里既不是战场也不是舞台。

 

The instability of the exhibition constantly declares it as an event. Judging from the renderings of the Cinema 4D scheme, one cannot predict the ultimate situation of the project when realized. It is up to on-site judgment what should be included and what excluded. Similarly, the pilots in the control room and the performers in the pipelines rely on their experience and intuition to jointly fulfil a fictional mission. Generally speaking, drones that are remotely controlled or follow pre-set programs can perform tasks including military operation, industrial prospection, commercial aerial photography, and scientific research. The information asymmetry between the sender and the receiver is the violence imposed by intelligent monitoring equipment against personal privacy. The drones, resembling creatures of the air, occupy a supreme spot of observation and their non-stop flying transmits an endless stream of images while searching for signs of life; the performers, curling up naked in the pipelines, become human-like animals and vulnerable targets stationed at pre-confirmed locations, exposed to the assault of the drones without early warning. Meanwhile, the performers call out to their abandoned fellows and dodge their predators circling nearby by means of impromptu dialogues and actions. The artist picks up rubbish left on construction sites and riverside streets and then reshuffles the order of things in the material list. The performers who have lost their autonomy resemble the objects around them while the material memories of individuals and society are all stored as data inside the pipelines. The mixture of waste refuses to be unreservedly looked at by the audience; the realistic texture of gravel suggests that it once appeared nearby, it comes from a past that cannot be revisited, and that it can be destroyed. Wang Ziquan thus creates an inhospitable, isolated environment full of dirt and waste, without security or freedom of movement, that is neither a battlefield nor a ballroom.

 

“空气动物”究竟是一次末日演习还是一款仿真游戏?艺术家构想的近未来场景是一片无人机栖息地,机器代替人类完成灌溉、物流、广播等一系列工作,在此铺设空中轨道模拟地下城市基础设施与竞技赛道。穿越机的运行路径由三层环形管道总体规划,实际飞行路线取决于飞手的技术与心态以及现场的偶发因素,而非自动巡航模式。从工作室前期准备到作品进场、演员彩排,艺术生产与展览制作的各个环节由不计其数的可行性测试构成。几乎无叙事的关卡要求飞手遥控第一人称视角无人机通过作品设置的障碍。管道有限的直径、幽暗的光线、被发泡胶包裹在内壁蔓延的杂物,可能引起气流不稳、尘土飞扬、视觉盲区、方位辨别困难、桨叶损坏等意外发生,导致“炸机”。王梓全作为竞速游戏的开发者与随机出场的观众分布在幕后的控制室和前端的展示区,成为协调事项的旁观者或干预飞手表现的未知数。不可控的感受杂糅着愉悦、惧怕、痛苦、避免煽情的悲伤、模棱两可。交互的不确定性推迟了完美的抵达,我们在此时此地借助义肢(显示器、穿越机)将视觉与活动范围延伸至神秘的别处。

 

Is "Creatures of the Air" a rehearsal of doomsday or a game of simulation? The near-future conceived by the artist is a habitat of drones, where machines replace humans in completing a series of tasks such as irrigation, logistics, broadcasting, etc. Pipelines are constructed and suspended in the air to simulate underground urban infrastructure and competition tracks. The trajectory of the drones is generally circumscribed by the three-layered annular structure of the pipelines, while their actual flight path depends on the pilot's skills and mentality as well as on accidental factors on site – they are not on an auto-pilot mode. From preliminary studio preparations to set-up and rehearsal at the gallery, every aspect of art-making and exhibition-making rests on countless feasibility tests. The presence of nearly narrative-free hurdles set up by the installation requires the pilots to remotely control the FPV drones and navigate them through. The limited diameter of the pipelines, inadequate lighting, and the debris spread on the inner wall wrapped by styrofoam may all cause unexpected accidents, such as unstable airflow, clouds of dust flying up, blind spots, difficulties in orientation, and damage to the blades, possibly resulting in an “air crash”. As the developer of the racing game, Wang Ziquan stations himself along with random viewers in the back-stage control room and the front-end display area, acting as a coordinating bystander or an unknown factor interfering with the pilots’ performance. Uncontrollable sensations are mixed with pleasure, fear, pain, grief avoiding sensationalism, and ambiguity. The uncertainty of interaction delays the arrival of perfection. Right here and now, with the help of prosthetics (monitors and drones), we extend our scope of sight and movement to a mysterious elsewhere.

 

如果无人机回传到电视屏幕的图像再现了大规模监控对个人隐私的侵扰,飞行器仍旧是逃离现实的装置吗?无人机本身是受法律管控的对象,电子围栏与云系统对其运行数据进行实时监测。例如,大疆研发的地理围栏系统将无人机管制在安全区域飞行。与之相反,自行组装的竞速无人机选择不加装GPS,由此躲避限飞区信号探测,建立一个超越现有治理技术的自治社群。Oddity RC将模块化生产视为穿越机的终极消费形态,标准化产品是相互独立、任凭用户拆解改装的模块而非出厂规则不可改写的整机。定制的零件重新定义机器的功能:暴露电子元件的飞行控制板与舍弃外壳的电池是“空气动物”的专属设计,以最少的保护装备追求最快的移动速度。事实上,更为激进的花飞(Freestyle,更具观赏性的自由飞行)模式注重穿越机的极限操作体验,挑战飞手完成自定义动作的速度、精准性、视觉冲击力。艺术家则需要和技术创业团队长期磨合,寻找飞行速度与稳定性的平衡点。自己动手改造的穿越机相应地生产了替代性图像。相较于暗中获取公众信息的监控录像,现场实时传输的影像赋予观众原本仅限机器可见的视角以及查看监控视频的立场。后者包含嵌入肉身和观看的权力关系中不可预测的、尚未言说的话语。

 

If the images sent back by the drones to the TV screen reproduce the intrusion of mass surveillance on individual privacy, are the drones still a device for escape from reality? The drone itself is regulated by law as the electronic fencing and cloud systems monitor its operational data in real time. For example, the geofencing system developed by DJI restricts drones to flying in safe areas. In contrast, by opting out of GPS installation, self-assembled racing drones can avoid signal detection in restricted flight areas, thereby establishing an autonomous community beyond existing governance technologies. Oddity RC regards modular production as the ultimate consumption form of FPV drones: standardized products should be made up of independent modules that can be disassembled and modified by users, instead of complete built units whose default rules cannot be rewritten. It is the custom-made parts of a machine that redefine its functionality: the flight control panels that expose the electronics and the batteries without casings are exclusive designs for "Creatures of the Air". Together they seek maximum speed with minimal protective gear. In fact, the more radical Freestyle flying focuses on the extreme experience of operating an FPV drone and challenges the pilot to achieve the speed, accuracy, and visual impact of user-defined stunts. The artist, in turn, needs to work with the entrepreneurial tech team over a long period of time in order to find a balance between flight speed and stability. Accordingly, self-remodeled FPV drones produce alternative images. Compared with surveillance videos that stealthily obtain public information, the video transmitted in real time offers the audience a perspective that is originally visible only to machines as well as a position to watch the surveillance. The latter contains an unpredictable, unspoken discourse embedded in the power relations of the physical body and the act of watching.

 

王梓全试图在多个平行的区间与来自不同专业背景的实践者合作,全方位地调度观众的感官。他首次将创作媒介从雕塑、影像拓展到现场表演、声音,通过其他形式的思考走向不可知的领域。艺术家式的调研由他如何接近理想状态而非提出明确诉求的实验驱动。换言之,合作者基于开放的命题工作:如何达成人类与非人类之间的跨物种交流?如何在怪诞的内部空间克制地表演并向外传递微妙的能量?如何设计模糊音色源头的声音,像光晕四处游荡、穿透物质?如何让介于运动员和工作人员之间的飞手看上去属于某个配合默契的团队?“空气动物”的美学创立在持久、密切、乐于分享、共同承担试错风险的交往,以去中心化的方式搭建信仰系统。自我组织的信仰系统令人迷恋的恰恰是集体形成或解散的临时性,不与特定利益或意识形态绑定的自由意志。我们始终对个体持有信念。

 

Wang Ziquan tries to cooperate with practitioners with different professional backgrounds in multiple parallel fields, thus engaging the viewer’s senses in an all-round way. For the first time, he expands his choice of medium from sculpture and video to live performance and sound, and strides into the unknowable through alternative ways of thinking. His artistic investigations are driven by experiments in approaching his ideals rather than voicing explicit demands. In other words, collaborators work on the basis of an open proposition: How to achieve interspecies communication between humans and non-humans? How to perform with restraint in a grotesque interior space while transmitting subtle energy outwards? How to devise a sound that has its source blurred, that wanders about like a halo and penetrates matter? How to make the pilots, half-athlete and half-staff, look as if they belong to a concerted team? The aesthetics of "Creatures of the Air" is founded upon long-lasting close relationships, in which each party is willing to share and jointly take the risk of trial and error. Hence decentralization is built into its belief system. What is intriguing about self-organized belief systems is precisely the temporary nature of the formation or dissolution of a collective, as well as the free will unbound to any particular interests or ideology. We always have faith in the individual.

下次见 See you next game…

 

 

 

文 / 缪子衿

Text / MIAO Zijin