“Mutual Generation, Mutual Restraint”

Interactive video installation (Real-time), including field recording, 3D scanning, data-generated images, and audio-visual interactions

Exploring the frontier between collective and private memory based on the intersection of digital culture and the physical realm. Muxingye Chen has drawn inspiration from Taoist philosophy as a metaphor for “self-production” (zìshēng) and “self-transformation” (zìhuà). Everything is self-generated, they are connected, grow, rely on or exclude each other. The installation sensor invites audiences to interact, where uncertainty auto-generates images and sounds through the data stream at each varying touch.

The infinity and randomness are inherent in information flow dynamics, it formed through field recording and data-generated images in Rotterdam (Maas Tunnel) and Chengdu (People's Park). Muxingye tries to keep distance from his roots, from anything that makes up his personality. In a detached form, the work queries the shaping of identity recognition by time and circumstances. He no longer adheres to traditional collective identity in discussing a digital nomadic identity. This notion is also reflected in this work—screens will adapt their dimensions over spatial and temporal changes. In each live performance, the audience will be immersed in an audiovisual narrative that the artist takes them through time, space, and images.

The "Mutual Generation, Mutual Restraint" project consisted of a two-month visual research and concluded with an exhibition, screening, and presentation at Neck of the Woods (during Art Week Rotterdam and afterward), and Worm (part of the IFFR program) in Rotterdam. During the visual research, I investigated a series of methods to organize fragmented self-identity information within the context of digital nomadism and the Western post-colonial sphere to find specific value systems for self-validation.

I explored the body of information involving field recording, 3D scanning, and CGI techniques experimentation in Rotterdam's Maas Tunnel and Citizen's Park in Chengdu, researching it as the metaphorical meaning of fragmented historical archives of rootlessness and diaspora, as well as the paradoxical and ambiguous within. Meanwhile, the process of constructing those embodied-disembodied information follows the principle of Mutual Generation, Mutual Restraint, introduced by Zhuangzi's "Qi Wu Lun," grounded in specific Taoist philosophy, as well as the methodology from N. Katherine Hayles'.

The presentation of this project was divided into video installation and audio-visual performance. The body of the installation provides an interactive experience by bridging electrical components with images and sound. I used two pressure sensors on 3D-printed objects to evoke the construction-deconstruction of images and sounds with high sensitivity projected on three rectangular surfaces. The sensor on the left side presents the sounds-images information from my fragmented memories of Chengdu (my hometown), while on the right side presents information from the Maas Tunnel. Audiences are invited to participate in my algorithm, pressing it with different forces and ways, and the way images-sounds are generated constantly transforms, seeming uncertain but within a cognitive dynamic in a system.

Additionally, I collaborated with my sound group to present an audiovisual performance at Neck of the Woods. The visual part consisted of CGI images, 3D scans of Maas Tunnel landscapes that I collected during the day, as well as the mobility data that I reconstructed through online open data sources. These different images, constantly rearranged and combined through the real-time feedback of improvised sound and audiovisual narrative in space, form a sort of temporal and perceptual vibration, which is about memory, the past, mobility, and cultural identity.