Participatory Lighting Installation:
WALL OF PARADISE
This summer I went back China for a short break - after leaving China for almost two years. The impressions from the current China causes the concept of WALL OF PARADISE to emerge. There are two well-known walls in China. As early as the 3rd century BC, the Great Wall was built to protect the empires’ states and resist external aggression. In 2003, in China, there was one instrument called the Great Firewall built to control the flow of internet information. This firewall has been made “extended” and “fortified” by tracking what every individual does online. China is a country that its current economy is in the golden era while the censorship system weaves these radiant lights into a golden wall cage. Inside this cage, “wall” is “decorated” as both security and prosperity, and unity and autonomy. WALL OF PARADISE transfers “wall” from its historical and political context to an artwork in which “wall” is never just commented on border protection in a literal sense, and “wall” symbolizes state’s coercive power, also “the lack of feedback loops provided by democracy”. WALL OF PARADISE is about giving people experience and diverse feelings that being confront of the walls. In other words, “wall” “cut”s this artwork into pieces of space in which the audience indeed can stand, sit, walk and climb but there are unopposed blocks preventing him/her from passing/seeing through. Inside the walls, the designed searchlight will expose a person to sight anytime and anywhere. The audience is monitored and tracked by spotlights all the time. By participating in this artwork, the audience will develop illusions of being enveloped and watched, fears of never getting out of these walls, and anxiety of fleeing from these walls once it’s possible. All of these will give the appearance of an unobtrusive experience. WALL OF PARADISE is not an installation which can offer a pleasant or cheerful experience, while it is an installation embedded with the disamenity and this disamenity raises awareness of the state of oneself. By participating in this installation, the audience will strengthen the tension between her/himself, space, and artwork; redefine the role and position what he/she presents; and reshape the understanding of the surrounding reality. As a Chinese, while standing out of China’s scope, the thinking of how to bring the concept from its original Eastern context into a “readable” form/content for the viewers in the West leads critical thinking of how WALL OF PARADISE will look like in the end. More than just being related to political issue, WALL OF PARADISE is about the state of ordinary people in a worldwide version. In the Western context, wall might be interpreted as Berlin Wall, US-
Mexico border wall, or border controls against refugees from France, Germany, Austria and Sweden.
Currently WALL OF PARADISE is still on its conceptual stage.
Sketch overview of WALL OF PARADISE with the audience in its ideal set-up space.
Front view from the inside of the space.
Back view at night with the audience from the outside of the space.
Light reactions from the projectors influenced by audience's ongoing positions and movements.