The Unbearable Light Rhythm in Life
Text／WU Chieh-hsiang 文╱吳介祥
The erroneous rhythm of food demand and supply
Inspired by life experiences and the pigs that she looks after everyday, Chang-jung Wu bases her theme on pigs, and successfully integrates the pigs that are actual food and those that are symbolic signs. The artist finds her inspiration from the heavy pressure of reality, but her work is exempt from the everyday dullness. When the financial crisis happened, her piece, “Documentary III—Slot Machine,” signaled at the successful rate of breeding on the one hand, and hinted at the fact that all industries were affected by the speculative financial games. None of them were free from the influence—not even the most fundamental food supply industry, feeds and breeding industries alike. When even living resources were caught up in the global financial games, any places and raw materials became parts of the capitalist cycles, and everyone had to bear unnecessary risks and consequences.
Wu’s inspiration arises from the absurdity of the global economy. In “Pig Five Flower” series, while demonstrating the accumulation of capital, fast reproduction and exponentially maximizing profits in capitalistic manipulation, she also reveals the opulence, ephemerality, blinded prosperity of capitalism by using kaleidoscopic iridescence, upbeat and cheerful music, and the metal clang of gambling machines.
Through her visual aesthetics, Wu creates a unique way of observing the macroscopic world with a microscopic point of view, and starts her very own “kaleidoscopic economics.”
Nature and its four seasons generously offer food to its inhabitants. However, the food demand and supply chain has lost its balanced rhythm. Wu’s art distances us from reality, and metamorphoses the large-scale problem and its absurdity that is way beyond our comprehension into otherworldly visual and audio artworks. The projection in the exhibition space is like the constant chanting in churches, encompassing the audience with the “submerging” aesthetics of the Romantic period. Her work expels the everyday dullness with the numbing joy of rave parties, allowing artistic creation and escapism to mutually embody and console each other.
The erroneous rhythm of the city
Wu documents the countless encounters between U-Bike riders and pedestrians in Taipei, and the awkward moments of them avoiding bumping into each other. Urban traffic not only represents a kind of mobility, it is also the city’s conveyor belt signaling the social network and the economic bloodline. It is the flow of life, connecting people near by and far away; it implies infinite moments of people passing each other as well as encounters by chance; it is uncanny repetition as well as familiarity without questions and answers. Urban encounters will never become senseless because of the regularity of traffic and massive repetitious experience. There are always surprises in the city, but the surprises always form a sense of rhythm, an urban rhythm that is sometimes off-key but always detectable in the boisterous traffic network day after day.
U-Bike is a facility for tourists and the locals, but it also creates many unexpected urban encounters. The artist removes the social and psychological aspects of these encounters, and focuses on documenting the accidental, unprepared encounters of the U-Bike riders and other common traffic. Removing the urban reality, Wu employs a sense of continuity and the rhythm of music to simulate the physical relations in urban mobility. She also uses the rhythm of the coming and going crowd to simulate the parallel and interweaving structure of music as well as its modulation in tone. However, this music is not constituted of smooth rhythm but a type of improvised rhythm similar to DJ’s scratching sound—an unpredictable rhythm and a regular chance encounter. The erroneous rhythm of the flowing traffic forms the “arrhythmia” of urban life and Wu’s visual music.
The erroneous rhythm of life
While audiences are submerged in Wu’s local escapist aesthetics, they would be disturbed by her erroneous rhythm. She creates rhythmic images that simultaneously resemble blood circulation and music scores, demonstrating a piece of “diagram of life” with the enclosure of musical work and the signification of visual work. From the dazzling, rich visual aesthetics of the kaleidoscope to the musical, mathematical, minimalistic aesthetics, the artist also embeds in her work a secret mark—the red cape of Superman, a symbol that is expected to trigger anonymous secret power that points to the pulsating aesthetics at the crucial turning point of life.
The most unbearable rhythm in life is when the body misses its usual rhythm and becomes ill with the wait for recovery as well as the autonomous, bodily rhythm. While accompanying her father during his illness in the hospital, Wu discovered the regular rhythm of machine administering medicine injections that seemed to prolong the wait into one infinite beat. Therefore, she creates an audio-visual work, called “Mechanical Bodily Process”, scoring music for the chaotic rhythm of life through the sharpness uncommon and undetected by ordinary senses under normal circumstances. As we count the beats and off beats that connect our lives, we are also waiting for the grand finale of the music with the humblest aesthetic wish. Being excellent in transforming the visual into the musical, Wu mirrors the images of life with the music of life, seemingly monotonous but constantly lingering, simultaneously feather-light but also unbearably heavy. Wu’s music alters the neutrality of the flowing of time, and bestows each moment of life with different rhythm and weight.
出自生活歷練體驗而以每日照顧的豬為主題，吳長蓉以豬為題材，成功地讓豬在「糧食實料」和「象徵符號」之間滑動。藝術家的靈感來自沉重的現實壓力，作品卻處理掉了日常的冗長雜質。在金融風暴之際，「Documentary III-Slot Machine」(吃角子老虎機)這件作品一方面指的是育種的成功率，一方面又暗示所有產業也都被捲入金融投機遊戲中，無一倖免，即使連最基本的生計供養產業，飼料和養殖，也都受到波及。當民生資源都被席捲在全球金融遊戲中，任何地點、任何原料都在資本相生的循環中，任何人也都可能承受了無端的風險和後果。