I- Beijing White Box Art Center 2011
Mizhuang: Individual entertainment experiences have replaced philosophies of life to become the explanations of the world. Anxiety comes from the loss of a sense of security, from the uncertainty of existence. Your work …I... is more of a performance piece than an installation. You used corrective tape to cover up every word in books except the word “I”, leaving a bunch of “I’s” scattered randomly around the pages. Why books?
Lin: People always use persistent things to elaborate on transient things. Stones are erected over tombs to bear witness to the occurrence of fragile life. Printed materials are objects that give people material definition by establishing contact and exchange across time and space. Printed material is a testament to the imperative and desire for exchange, while erasure is a simple and rapid method for wiping out information. What printing transmits is a construct, a cultural bridge that establishes contact. It provides standards for judgment. Erasure and the covering of words are also the erasure of standards, the prevention of evaluation, inference and choices about the world, the erasure of the extension of time. It ignores and threatens, destroying trust and understanding, destroying the traces of existence that are decoded through experience, erasing the vigilance of life. It is like old incantations and sorcery accepted in exchange, which silently awaits the always soon-to-arrive prophecy. In this endless waiting, the world becomes an unimaginable thing outside of “I”.
Mizhuang: In these books, the only time is the independence of “I”. The impossibility of connecting between “I” and the world is the source of the sense of panic this work gives me.
Lin: Cutting the connections with the past and the world give us a sense that we no longer exist. Erasing the past leads us to doubt who we are. By turning the environment around us silent, the sounds of distant motors, even the shadows cast by lights in the night become suspicious. The world is silent, and that silence is tight and silent. It makes the endless series of“I’s” that remain appear so sudden, so tangible, solid, heartless, unfamiliar. It binds existence and destruction tightly together, making “I” incomprehensible, even intolerable. But who is it that is intolerable? It is the self that we have never recognized, the information of others that is exposed on ourselves. The term existence does not explain any meaning, but existence is an infinite concept. After erasure it is a lost infinity, a dangerous defense, an insecure security.
Mizhuang: It makes everything appear more impossible. It proposes the most primal questions: who am I? Where am I? Where am I going?
Lin: The quest for survival is instinctual, while confirming the meaning of existence is also an instinct. Our existence is a reason for reaching and entering the future. As we arduously struggle against the ruthless monopoly of disappearance over time, we are also moving into a state of anxious estrangement with the world, of accepting the fear of lost security, of accepting disappearance before it happens, accepting death before it happens, and all of the torment and hardship we have faced become absurd, just like existence.
Mizhuang: In your printed reader, those leftover punctuation marks are reminders, reminders of time that once took place, of time that once passed.
Lin: Right. It reminds us of our inextricable entanglement and instantaneous break with the world, reminds us that after the break, everything is cast out without direction.
If it is a shared history, the break comes from the serendipity of history. If it is a private story, what breaks is the meaning of existence, and within it, much frenzy, anxiety, distraction, bewilderment, emptiness, rage and hysteria as well as sequence, planning, order, unreasonableness, coldness, numbness, brutality and indifference.
Just as flying comes from the fear of falling and climbing comes from the fear of loneliness. We sleep with our bodies curled up in the darkness, unknowingly casting out our embrace in weakness and helplessness.
“I” am silent in the darkness, begging for an explanation in solitude. The erased world, because of the undeniable “I” left behind, is full of a sense of presence. The voice in the void sends out a resounding question, its attitude ambiguous and firm.
It burns in the hesitation, stands solid within the absurdity.
I- Chile Chile National Art Museum 2011
I- Chile Chile National Art Museum 2011
I- New York Residency Unlimited 2018
「……I……」is an interactive site specific performance where a group of performers read out loud and in cadence excerpts from speeches delivered by Donald Trump during his presidency where all the text has been removed except for the pronoun “I” and emphatic words such as “great” and “huge”. The rhythm of the performance is controlled by a metronome activated by the artist.
「……I……」brings to the surface emerging conflicts and confusions that rise against the backdrop of current political and cultural situations. Together with the artist, performers will interact through simple and poetic body movements and vocal performance with the audience and their surroundings.
「……I……」is the fourth iteration of a socially-engaged art project presented by Lin Jingjing in Beijing (Chinese version, Whitebox Art Center, 2011), Santiago (Spanish version, Chilean National Museum of Fine Arts, 2011) and Cologne (German version, Neues Kunstforum, 2012). The English version of this project is conducted during the artists’s residency at RU in New York in June 2018.
「……I……」 project exhibited @
White Box Art Museum, Beijing,China
Chile National Art museum plaza Vespucio, Santiago,Chile
Neues Kunstforum , Cologue , Germany
Residency Unlimited,New York,USA