Project: IN THE DARK
Time: 2007, still going
Dimension and quantity: 120cm x 96cm 6pcs
Dimension and quantity: 120cm x 180cm 20pcs
Dimension and quantity: 300cm x 200cm 1pc
Waking up in the middle of the night, I went downstairs with the light off in case of waking my wife. I tried to figure out the things in my house so that I could avoid them on my way to the bathroom. Standing alone in the dark, I got a bizarre experience. Things were nearly colorless and their contours were blurred. When trying to catch a specific detail, I lost others. Even at the focused point, the images were also morphing, melting and consuming each other. All the lines were crawling and unwilling to be captured.
Where am I? Is this my house?
I struggled to identify every line and every surface. When I got an exact detail, I anchored it in my brain and turned my sight to capture the next detail immediately. Gradually, I got an image patched by both vision and memory: my living room.
With the vision seemingly getting clear, this bizarre glimmering living room made me wonder: Is it I actually saw the living room or is it I made myself see the living room?
Vision is one of the most remarkable sensations for us to explore the world. Objects reflect the light to the retina then series of neurochemistry processes are activated. Through this purely scientific process, we are able to see the shape of things. Therefore, we seem to be able to describe the world by numerous objective shapes. Not only vision, hearing, touch, smell, tastes…etc are all the same. We got various objective descriptions by various scientific processes and they form the world made of various sensations. All the sensations interlaced with each other turning into a "membrane". This membrane surrounds us tightly without any chink. By touching it, we thought we touched the world. When it changes, we thought the world was running.
However, does the membrane base on "true world" as obvious as it looks? Only when the light disappears and the eyes barely work, we could take a peep at the obscure foundation of the visual membrane. When facing an ambiguous shape, questions such as "who is that?" "what is that?" "where is this"…etc emerge. Only when we try to answer those questions, we are able to notice that everything we see is probably related to ourselves, even made by ourselves. Thinking, guessing, recalling…all the mental activities affects our tendency to find or identify the unknown shape. And the patched answer is exactly the tendency of our mind. It is the vision of our own mind.
This mental vision never stops from the struggle in the dark to the commonplace in the light. It separates us from the truth by the form of "membrane" without any glitch. We cannot prove if the membrane, precisely, the mental vision, could represent the truth. We are not even capable to notice it. Yet we never doubt anything from it. Therefore, the exploration to the truth is left behind on the contrary. Maybe the world is just an illusion shining on the membrane of mental vision, and there is nothing more beyond it. If so, our existence is just another illusion floating in the void. Maybe.
The works of IN THE DARK try to emphasize the position of mind in vision. The light captured by the camera means the objective truth. Yet the truth has different projection in audiences' minds. Every image is like fumbling in the dark for the audience. Who? Where? What? Is that so? All these questions could only be answered by the audience himself. Every answer is a footnote explaining the membrane, the mental vision and the discontinuousness between us and the truth.
In the dark, we finally see when we can't see.