After working with digital technology, in 2015 I started my Input and Output series, which proceeds from my insight of digitalisation. The ten paintings, named Lover, are just part of this series. It is no doubt that we have been living in a digital age. For each of us, no matter we accept or not, it is hard to keep ourselves from the digital world or not to be “digitalised”. There is no way we would back to the pre-digital age. Personally, I do appreciate digitalisation and what it has brought. I have been working with digital technology for around twenty years, which has broadened my knowledge of digital and artificial intelligence. The digital intellectual technology that we have been working with is a replica of human rationality. The replica here does not refer to a copy that is made to be the same as something. Instead, it shall be something that was born with a gene of independence and autonomy, which is, out of our expectation, rocketing at full speed. The speed of digitalised intellectual operation and reaction is four million times faster than human’s nerve. The world will be out of control sooner or later. What’s worse, no one can stop the forward of digitalisation. That is what I have feared after my years of digital practice. That’s it? Let it happen and do nothing about it? It is not that bad. There is something else we have besides rationality: instinct. It is the cure to restrict the increase of entropy. Only the factors of anti-entropy can stop or decrease the negative effects those are brought by digital technology. It is my motivation for starting Input and Out series. I had thought about it for two years, before I actually started in 2015. Now, it has been carried out for one year and a half.
This is how Input and Output works: I set the computer programmes and myself as the two opposites, which means all the works are created by both the programmes as well as myself. I input the image that I want to present into the computer programmes first (which I designed and wrote). And what is output later will become the source of my painting. In other words, I present the output of computer programmes by painting it. (And the practice, painting, does not simply mean to paint what I see. The process is a kind of re-creation, the initiative is kept in my own hands.) Afterwards, I input what I have painted into the computer programmes again, and it is the source of my next painting. It was to generate a forward way of visual prospectby integrating the anti-entropy from theinside body and the digitalised intellectual increase of entropy. After practising for one year and a half, I get more confident. Every time when I input and output, the two opposites –programmes and bodies transform the image from each other. That is where I find the “true innovation possibility”, which I actually did not expect at first.
Input and Output series is quite different from my other works considering the form. But the form here does not refer to the medium. For years, my artistic practice involves photography, video, installation, digital interactivity and internet etc., which make the works rather diverse visually. More than twenty years ago before I started my digitalisedcreation, I actually mainly did painting. Although I did not paint at all for the last two decades, the gene of painting has been deeply planted in my body and my mind, which has potentially affected my later creation. This series has re-staged this kind of gene in front of the audience. I don’t feel surprised or strange. The idea behind this series is consistent with my other works. If we put it as a metaphor (it might not be accurate though), digitalised creation is like driving left, while painting and other tradition medium is like driving right, then I am just adjusting my wheel for avoiding obstacles. But my direction is going straight, always.
Input and Output has been developing for one year and a half, including three series, dozens of works.Lover, more than twenty pieces so far, is one of those series. They have never been exhibited. Instead, they have been placed in my studio and only presented to few visitors. There are several reasons that I did not display them to the public. The main reason is that it requires much time and concentration for physical sensation (painting) and programme sensibility (operation). Quite a few exhibitions proposed to present Input and Output series, but I turned them down. Because I wasn’t sure.However, years of repeating input and output, I have reached a certain balance, and I think it is the right time to present some of them.
It is a long-term project. Generally and broadly, it is the direction of 21st century that individuals’sensational capability integrates with digital technology.Who is qualified to work with digital technology must be someone who masters traditional art technique, and at the same time, has got a deep insight of digitalisation. I think I can make this! And I believe it is all about to form an uncertain creative capabilitybybringing the innovative gene ofdigital technology to manual creation, and welding the aesthetic features of digital operation into traditional images. I have already found out the vitality of this series through my practice.