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Resonance

Type:  Art Installation 

Material:  Projector, Plaster, Metal, iPhone11

Timeline:  Jan - May 2020

“Resonance” is a personal art project to reflect on how communication over a long-distance has influenced my relationship with my mother, who lives thousands of miles away in China. The piece reflects on the lack of emotional resonance and alienation produced by digital communication, as well as my yearning to connect more deeply with my mother through long periods of separation. The installation is composed of sculptures and projections with a soundtrack,  my mother's images play on plaster casts of my face plus my hand holding a phone to signal that long-distance communication.

Sculpturally, I represent myself in four different moods: neutral, happy, anxious, and sad. These moods become the screens on which my mother’s face videos are projected. The content for the projections comes from my video chats in recent months. I replay the video chat and identify the moments when I ignored my mother and times when her face presented a strong emotion, which I ignored during the actual conversation.

The video projections emphasize my mother’s feelings that were neither noticed nor addressed in real-time. I focus on her detailed, realistic reactions, the wrinkles around the eyes, the furrowed brow, and when she inadvertently avoids my eye contact. These details project onto my static, cold stone-faced sculptures and are complemented with a staticky audio file. The experience is meant to create both a sense of the mother and daughter bond and its alienation via digital communication.

 

 This piece questions how digital communication is shaping our modern relationships and represents a feeling of loss in screen-based communication. I use my own story to indicate how the social network is redefining human connection and ask why we feel more disconnected with all these instant, convenient, online applications.  

 

As an international student, I feel empty when I'm here and that all communication with those I love is mediated through a digital screen. Screens represent authentic emotions in a very shallow way, I cannot feel an authentic presence through video. I hope to point out that this emptiness might come from the media formats themselves. My goal is to create empathy and inspire viewers to consider communication technology, critically reflecting on how much of human expression and meaning we miss when trying to connect through screens.

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© Copyright Nuomeng Zhang 2020