The Reflection of Sensory Slippage – A Test Drive of Flow Theory
I am still don’t know how to define my test drive work, what I know is that it’s been really different from what I was proposed, and I would never imagine it will like this at this point. I thought it’s an installation at first, which now might be more about a performance. Through this work, rather than making a completed work, it is kind of loosen the authority or the creation of the work. and I would really like to create the relationship between the audience and artwork in that specific time and space, when and where they are prepared to engage in an artistic movement that can be reflecting back aspects of the interactors. As David Rokeby said and I kept looking this words in these few days “Mirrors, and in a more abstract way, automata, are ways of representing ourselves.” “A technology is interactive to the degree that it reflects the consequences of our actions or decisions back to us. It follows that an interactive technology is a medium through which we communicate with ourselves… a mirror. The medium not only reflects back, but also refracts what it is given; what is returned is ourselves, transformed and processed. To the degree that the technology reflects ourselves back recognizably, it provides us with a self-image, a sense of self. To the degree that the technology transforms our image in the act of reflection, it provides us with a sense of the relation between this self and the experienced world. This is analogous to our relationship with the universe. Newton’s First Law, stating that ‘For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction,’ implies that everything is a mirror. We discover our ‘selves’ in the mirror of the universe.”
—in Gao Yujie (read more)
Yujie Gao is a Chinese new media artist who is also a teaching assistant at the University of Regina. At an early age, she started drawing and painting which was heavily influenced by her father. Initially, she wanted to follow her passion for painting so she applied for a university course in Traditional Chinese painting. Soon after that program was shut down. That didn’t stop her passion for art. Her love of technology lead her to the world of Game Design. From there she was able to translate her passion for both painting and technology into new media art. Once she finished her undergraduate degree she pursued a master’s degree well also being a professor’s research assistant for Low Tech Art Lab. During her time there she was able to enhance her professional skills in a variety of ways. Interactive design, graphic design, videography, and project management were all crucial skills she was able to learn. These allowed her to learn how to use interactive software and a variety of different hardware. Initially, she struggled to figure out what path to follow. Once she was able to find her passion through new media art, she set her mind to creating art which was nationally showcased all over China.
After several switches in her career path, she was able to focus in on new media art. Her work primarily focuses’ on several different mediums. Through the use of hardware such as propellers, motors, LED’s, and Arduinos, and software like TouchDesinger; Gao is able to create compelling works of new media art. In 2016 she worked with a team of people from the Low Tech Art Lab to create a work entitled “The Unfettered Language of Machines.” It was an installation that used over 8000 LED’s. With the use of TouchDesigner, she was able to learn how to control each addressable LED to create an interactive art piece. Through her time working with the team, she was able to hone and craft the necessary skills to work on her own artwork. Once she was able to figure out how to create new media artwork; she began to “create site-specific installations and interactive sculptures that deal with space, light, and movement, by playing with existing and new relationships between nature, technology, and mankind.” (Gao)
One such piece “Sensory Overload” plays with all of those relationships. By combining LED’s, motors, and propellers with water she is able to create a compelling and interactive piece of art. Based on the reactions of the audience Gao uses software to manipulate the visuals of the LEDs and speed of the propellers. Even though it’s not a physical connection between the viewer and the artwork; she wants the viewer to consider the way the elements react with each other. The way the light and wind act as participants sending information to the water, the way the water acts as an interface which receives the information from the technology. With this she is creating a connection with the viewer. “The hope is that they are able to reconsider their relationship with their state of living, how to face that there are more and more environmental elements that can have an impact on an individual.” (Gao) She states that the inspiration behind the artwork comes from when she was on a vacation. She saw reflections through a window hitting ceramic tiles. From there she was able to see the design and inspiration for her new art project. This idea of integrating your previous experience is something that Gao states are a consistent idea in her working process.