The exhibition showcases an ongoing project by Fu which creates complex topographies through which liminal spaces are explored. Karst extends Fu’s exploration of the idea of the techno sublime, reflecting on the way technological change has altered the way humans live, communicate, create, and understand the world.
Karst’s digitally rendered topographies are interactive multi-level virtual reality visual and sound experiences which draw the visitor into worlds where abstract and real, physical and virtual meet. Fu plans to develop three topographies as part of Karst, each of which connects the personal, the political, the chemical, the spatial and the metaphysical. Each phase references a physical place in the world where the traces of technological development can be seen and their impact inferred.
The first phase, now mostly complete, references mountain caves visited by the artist as a child in South West China. These caves, formed over millennia by chemical and seismic interactions, have within the past few years been lit by artificial decorative lights by the local tourist board and chosen to house big-data hardware storing masses of personal data. Struck by the drastic changes in the mountains near her childhood home over a short time, the artist referenced the caves in phase 1 of Karst, using fluid simulation software to create brightly coloured virtual rock formations.
The second phase of Karst is in development and focuses on a glacier in Canada visited by the artist in 2018. The virtual topography created in the second phase is located inside a labyrinthine glacial structure which, like its Canadian referent, is slowly disappearing. As in phase 1, surroundings in the glacier are brightly and artificially lit.
To create Karst, Fu worked with support from Arne Muraoka and Ming Rang Bai; sound is by Daniel Brookman.
Karst is presented from 7-29 March 2019 at Chazan Family Hall, Alex & Ani Hall, 600 Mt. Pleasant Avenue, Providence, Rhode Island 02908