Feng Chen creates videos, sculptures and hypnotic installations that investigate the synchronization between visuals and audio, inserting a wedge between different signals and leading us to question which of our senses we should ultimately trust. In his work, perception and reality interact with each other in labyrinthine ways reclaiming that experience is the most essential and authentic part of existence and the ultimate nature of reality.
His ongoing project The Darker Side of Light has been presented in multiple iterations, each time constructing automated systems that dissect our perception of body and space and new reflections on the relationship between man and machine.
—in Capsule Shanghai (read more)
The darker side of light: shadow
光的背面: 影 2018
This new body of works aims to investigate and interactively challenge how the audience experiences exhibitions in public venues. Feng Chen invites the public to enter a disorienting space and to abandon conventional ways of sharing our encounter with an artwork. The project is based on the premise that, when confronting a multimedia work, ordinary cameras might be unable to fuel the same emotional response to it as the human eye does, and mostly fail to emulate the on-site perception. The installation encourages us to be in the space and connect to the work, feeling how subtle changes of light, color and shadow affect our cognitive visual experience.
The artist has divided the main hall of the office building into two separate rooms. A bright light captures our attention from far and leads us to the first room: a narrow aisle with two symmetrical rows of LED lights and a monitor hanging at the far end. The monitor is facing us and it shows at first glance the same scene that our eyes are seeing. After a puzzling walk into the space, viewers realize that they are being recorded real-time by a camera. Our sense of privacy feels challenged as if a monitoring system is tracking our whereabouts. Feng Chen creates a further layer of illusion by manipulating the transmission of frequencies between the camera and the lights: We are in a space where white LED lights shine brightly in the hallway, but we see ourselves recorded on the screen in a space that alternate from bright to dim. The artist uses technology to trick the human eye and raise the question: is seeing really believing?
The darker side of light, performance
Feng Chen official website (read more)