Nisza Zine Issue 02 with the new media artist Mengxuan Sun (孙梦璇) from China who currently lives in Berlin. Check the interview below.
What are the essential or main ideas in your work?
Mengxuan Sun: #Symbiosis #BodySwing #SpiritualBelief #Cybernetics #NonSense
How would you describe your work, in your own words?
It is a visual journey, present and future mixed.
I am telling a story which is without text.
It is occurring to me, not what I created.
But please don’t trust me.
Cause I can’t even describe myself.
Where does your inspiration come from and how are you able to take from inspiration and make it your own?
MS: Part of my inspiration comes from its own cultural background. I grew up in China. Asian culture is what I see and hear everyday. Ancient Chinese mythology（e.g. 《Journey to the West》,《The Classic of Mountains and Seas》）and Japanese animation（e.g. “ Ghost in the Shell”) are inspiring me a lot. This invisible part exists in my consciousness over more than 20 years. Another part comes from the Internet. In particular, I have experienced the biggest and fastest change of the Internet in China. Like everyone, we are all online users. We all live in the post-internet era. I get lots of information from the Internet everyday. Then convert the information or phenomenons, which are born on the Internet, into my visual conformity and visual language. What I did was reorganization and reproduction in a humorous way. My “kernel” is crazy, but my “graphic card“ shows normal. Artistic creation is a self output to the world. I love fantasy, dreaming and I always have some weird ideas in my mind. At the same time I also have infinite expectations for the future. The elements of the vision are naturally combined. It’s like something has already happened in my mind. I feel familiar when I build my scenes because I believe that I have met these in a certain time and space.
Whats your process of of your work/creativity?
MS: Big motivation. First of all, artists should be excited about their work and ideas. Listen to different kinds of music during work process. Sometimes I even sing along. Actually the process is very trivial, because it must be interspersed in life. I like to observe and capture the details of life. From those details I start my own thinking and later do some research about that. I can't always work. I need time to relax and have fun, so that I can have energy again. Some inspiration comes from chats with friends or an animation that I just watched. I’ll write down a short description or just some keywords of the images in my mind on the notebook. But to be honest, the deadline is the biggest motivation to complete a project.
How did you get started in this creative environment?
MS: I took part in a workshop during my first semester at the Berlin University of Arts (UDK). At that workshop my classmates did 3D scans of us and imported the 3D scanned model into a game interface. At that time, I realized that: „oh, game engines could be also an interesting way to create artworks.“ Half a year later, I started studying Unity in a university lecture. I got lots of fun using Unity. So I keep working with that software. In addition to that, I was addicted to playing the mobile game ”PUBG” and was fascinated by updating my game characters costumes and equipment. I feel like game characters have become a kind of extended attribute selection. Selectively to show yourself to the world who you are. So I attempt to use me as a 3D character in my work. I was wondering what if I created a virtual me in the virtual world controlled by the real me in the real world.
What are you working on right now?
MS: At the moment I am working with a musical collaborator for future versions of my latest piece “Ding!”. It’s a Live AV Performance released this July. I would like to show it again at different festivals. I am studying at UDK and going to do a new work for my masters degree. This piece is different from the work I have done before. But I still focus on the internet and the internet society. It is called “ Tiān Yá Gòng Cǐ Shí ”, which is a sentence from a Chinese ancient poetry. This sentence is mainly reflected in the concept of sharing and empathy. I think this sentence also applies to the situation on how the internet is working. This time it is more related to social media. It’s not only using my own experience, but also a new immersive experience and real-time participation of users online. I will publish more details to this project once I release this piece. It’s also a big challenge for me to achieve. I‘ll mainly focus on this work this year. Another recent task is to finish my personal website as soon as possible.
What are you looking forward to in the near future with your work?
MS: Currently I’m using game engines as my main creative platform. I quite enjoy doing live performances and will continue to make more audiovisual performances. I’d like to try new things and do more cooperations with people who come from different creative fields (like musicians, fashion stylists, architecture, theater, dancers). Make music videos, album cover designs, generative art, fashion, pop-up shops and light shows. Anyway, long sentence short: Do interesting things with interesting people.
Who are your favorite artists at this moment?
Do you have any passions besides graphic design?
MS: Yes, sure! Graphic design is just my hobby and I do have passion to do that. Actually I study new media art. My work mainly consists of live AV performances, experimental videos and video installations. I am also very interested in virtual reality, generative design and kinetic design.
MS: I am waiting for you in the future.
Kinetic Coopeartion: Jin Lee
The growing visual language of digital technology and the Internet in the physical world has created an endless landscape. In addition to the landscape, the relationship changed by the network provide people a shared utopian vision. Everything can be shared and consumed. Nowadays human beings have adapted to the world which symbiosis with human race and intelligent machines. The human body becomes an interface that connects reality and virtuality. Human beings are no longer considered to be natural objects that God has made with clay. Humans make machines and parasitic on ma- chines. The machine becomes an exten- sion of the human body.
So how do our actions in the virtual world reflect back to our physical space? Technological advances and the development of the Internet have changed the way people live, act, and behave. Nowadays payment in China has changed a lot. Almost everyone has Mobile wallet, and just scan the QR code on the phone, you can pay everything. Even the slogan called “scan scan, easy to pay”. QR code appears in every corner in our society: in front of the squat, on the seat of the sharing bicycle, the door of the church, before the incense of the temple.
Internet allows each user to accept and generate a new identity when interacting with others. So is our identity flowing? The question is : Who are we? user? sporsor? producer? Or just a product? People are willing to put their personal data on social media. The Social media company sells data of users as merchandise. If so, does everyone have an invisible code?
Everything can be a QR code or a barcode? In what way does the code coexist with our body? I bring these questions to try to build a beautiful vision of my future. And this vision is based on the physical space we exist. Just like the future is happening to us, not what we created.
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X Emir Timur Tokedemir
China's first foray into global cyberspace was an email sent on 20 September 1987 to Karl- sruhe Institute of Technology. It said "Across the Great Wall, we can reach every corner in the world" (simplified Chinese: 越过长城，走向世界; traditional Chinese: 越過長城，走向世界; ) Howev- er, many years later, the Chinese government, as a “game maker” and “cyber controller”, built a Great Firewall in its own internet. Makes us ---- “User” have a unique web experience on this side of the Great Wall. So I design a ridiculous item in the virtual world: VPN glass, which was born in the internet, is a product that represents the future vision. with a playful slogan“You are the only myth in the internet”. Through the vision of symbolic VPN glasses, cross the Great Wall again to gain access to the hollow information space of the network and it is filled with speculative, distorted and ridiculous content. Artist through the second body in vitual ,elements born from the internet and Metaphorical reality to discuss a "belief" in the internet, blur the boundaries between reality and virtual, the now and the future. The identity of the user and the game maker flows with each other. Build a ridiculous internet myth.