Digital Matters

The Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art is located in Manchester in Thomas Street. Digital Matters, an exhibition at the centre, featured work by multiple artists that investigated how technology truly impacts our lives and how we view the world through our screens.


The first piece of work was a four-and-a-half-minute video installation by artist Lin Ke which was created in 2011. In a darkened room, a large screen fills up the entirety of one wall. On the screen is an image of a computer wallpaper which shows a rock perched in the middle of a large body of water. As the video plays so too does the sound of loud, crashing waves.

An app tile moves across the screen repeatedly and although the video was nearly five minutes long, that was the only thing that happened.

That being said, this minimalist work was quirky, but powerful. It showed that, sometimes, the only way we get close to nature is through our computers when we should be appreciating and exploring it in person.

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The next exhibit was a 2017 video by Ellen Paul called Dislocation which showed ‘photo images from southern china’ from 2002 until 2003.

The video displayed was shown on a small scale television that, nowadays, would be deemed tiny. The video showed monochrome shapes and shadows that didn’t look like anything at all in particular. What was noted as being photographs from Southern China were rendered and changed in such a way that it looked as if a regular Television had lost its signal and encountered an error.

Perhaps, this piece of work was to symbolise how technology can make things appear differently than what they really are.

Read more about the exhibition here

Following that was Cybernectic Organism #2 (Blood) by Dani Ploego. This 2015-2017 piece was made up of CPU, Copper wire and blood. A video shows a bleeding finger touching the CPU and over time shows the blood turn completely dry.

As well as being showed by video, the actual CPU (with blood) is displayed in a clear box which was really cool.

The final artwork I looked at was a 2014 piece by Yang Yongliang named The Night of Perpetual Day which was displayed across four screens. Unlike the other pieces of work this artwork was certainly not minimalist and was full of wonderful detail.

From afar, the image on the screens looked like a simple mountain landscape. However, upon closer inspection the ‘mountains’ are actually compiled of high buildings which are tightly crammed together.

The sinister undertone of this work combined with the fact that it was entirely black and white makes it look almost sci-fi. And despite the vast number of buildings, it also looked desolate and bleak.

This exhibition was really insightful and showed that with the evolution of technology our world is being neglected; as technology improves our planet, and people, suffers.

There was a real concept throughout this exhibition that actually made sense which is sometimes hard to come by and it was portrayed well even through minimalism. The work had a real voice and was something that everyone could interpret differently.




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