Lingxiang Wu is a visual artist currently living and working in Toronto. He studied Photography and Film/ Video Production at SUNY - Buffalo where he received his Bachelor degree in Arts. He is now pursuing an MFA in the Interdisciplinary Master’s of Art, Media, and Design Program at OCAD University. Wu is interested in topics such as post-production, the aesthetics of rough/smooth, and boredom.
My works originate from the realization that regardless of where I physically reside, I am haunted by feelings of boredom. Even one minute away from my phone seems unbearable. Why do I mindlessly scroll through Instagram?Why must I play digital games that only require me to collect rewards? Is this an insatiable desire to consume. Inspiredby German-Korean philosopher Byung-Chul Han’s theory on the “Aesthetic of the Smooth” and German artist Hito Steyerl’s discussion of “poor images” and post-production, my works explores the impact both urban space and digital space has on our everyday lives and the reasons behind our desire to consume smooth visual content.
Digital visual content often reflects the characteristic of modularity. Rows of pixels make up an image, and layers of images create a composition. Each module can be modified and adjusted to produce a different visual outcome, giving it excellent potential for creative production. Within contemporary capitalist production, poor images are no longer blurred due to low resolution; they are smooth from the rational elimination of excess information — looking becomes consuming.
If smoothness is post-produced, then the works explore the possibility of reversing that process, roughening the communication between the sayable and the visible through post-production, disrupting the algorithmic automation in Adobe Photoshop, Premiere, and After Effects. Through Google Alert, Instagram, and YouTube, these newly generated smooth images based on simple keywords such as “red,” “millennial,” or “apple,” are preserved as screenshots becoming the artworks’ primary material. Smooth images are progressively roughened to generate collages, objects, rotoscoped video, and stop-motion animation, keeping viewers at a distance but inviting them to linger, contemplating what they see. Viewers are lured in by a work’s seemingly minimalistic form – its smoothness. Once there, disorganized visual information disrupts the contextual reading and demands – with its roughness – that viewers contemplate it critically.