Logic of the Ether


multimedia installation: wood, steel rods, artist printed textiles, video, audio, 3m x 3m x 3m (two parts)

Both religious and secular experiences led me to ponder upon the origin of the universe and encountered epiphanies: the geometric structure of the coffer ceiling in Buddhist caves and Indian temples are the visual configuration of the natural order of the world. The floral motifs do not serve the mere purpose of decoration, but they represent the elemental component that thrives within the cosmic structure. This is the logic and grammar of the universe.

With an attempt to represent this revelation, Logic of the Ether is a multimedia installation consisting of two wooden structures — one reminiscent of traditional Chinese timber structure and the other a reinterpretation of the Dunhuang Buddhist Mogao caves. During my field trip to Jaipur India in 2020, I collected wooden blocks used by local craftsmen, with which I used to handprint textiles hung in this work. Accompanied is video documentations of kites flying in the sky prior to the kite festival in India against an audio backdrop of the chanting of the Nāsadīya Sūkta, the Hymn of Creation in Rigveda, the most ancient Indian sacred text, in its original Sanskrit language. People from 4000 years ago were also looking up at the same sky with endless curiosities.

The installation hopes to reveal how the world was once fathomed and recreated by human hands and our imagination, how the ether still remains highly mysterious as it harbors poetry and evokes questions of both the known and the unknown.

Image: Installation view at Westbund Dome, Westbund Art&Design 2019, Shanghai

supported by Capsule Shanghai

Creation Hymn (still), 2021, single-channel video, sound, 2’55’’, looped

Logic of the Ether: Jaipur Kites (still), 2021, single-channel video, suond, 2’41’’, looped

Text: Hymn of Creation, Rigveda 10.129, Nāsadīya Sūkta, translation by Stephanie W. Jamison and Joel P. Brereton