What did you create?
Video installation: HD Video projection (33’02”), rotating QR code object (styrofoam, acrylic glass plant, mirror ball motor), smart phone, 3D video sequence (30”, loop)
Why did you make it?
In today’s China, the daily life in a city consists of permanently switching between digital and physical worlds. This was made possible by a multi-functional app – WeChat – and its abundant use of QR codes: QR codes generated by WeChat are displayed throughout different public spaces. These can be scanned and linked to appropriate WeChat accounts – private persons, media platforms or even government institutions. In the world of WeChat, QR code has become a visual symbol of the digital identities of each individual. Also, the act of code scanning has turned into a social ritual, where interactions between people are increasingly dominated by superficial, online communications. As an Chinese artist based in Vienna, I frequently travel between Asia and Europe in order to pursue working activities. Due to the ongoing state of being ‘in-between’, along with efforts to be involved in both social communities, I began to observe the impacts of various social media platforms on my personal and social spheres. In this project, I was trying to overcome the distinction between the real and virtual, China and Austria by the use of WeChat and my personal QR code. A fantasy, which was only possible accomplish in my artistic practice.
How did you make it?
In absence of my physical body, I asked friends in China to “carry” the QR Code of my personal WeChat account throughout their daily routine. The code was printed as visiting cards or saved as digital image on their smart phones. Along with a short video, in which I primly introduce myself, they were asked to share it with people they met – friends, colleagues or people who they got to know by coincidence. After the bizarre introduction between my QR code and my new WeChat friends, we started communicating with each other. Besides sending text messages via WeChat, we especially made appointments to “meet up” virtually: we searched for similar locations/environments (bar, discotheque, café and shop) respectively in our cities to engage shared activities while communicating in a live video-chat. An attempt of “being together” in a shared “reality” consists of simultaneous interactions and immense geographical, social distinctions. This whole process was documented as initial material for a 30 minutes semi-documentary. In conjunction with the video, my WeChat QR code was constructed as a large-scale, three-dimensional structure and as 3D video sequence displayed at a smart phone – the embodiment of my virtual identity in both digital and physical space.
Your entry’s specification
The video installation consists of: 1) Projection of a semi-documentary (33’22”, with stereo sound, HD video | 1080p, loop). Size of the projection area should not be smaller than ca. 267 x 150 cm. 2) QR code structure consists of laser cut styrofoam in dark gray color, acrylic glass plate (thickness: ca. 8mm) and mirror ball motor. Size of the structure is 200 x 200 x 40 cm (W x H x D). This should be hanged on a mirror ball motor which slowly rotates the structure in the exhibition space. 3) 3D video sequence (30”, HD video | upright format 1080 x 1920, loop) in which a 3D model of QR code rotates slowly. This sequence should be displayed at the screen of a smart phone of any model which is able to play a HD video. The smart phone should be hanged on a wall in the exhibition space. *For details, please see attached photos and this short documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67th78RfFxk&t=32s