Jawshing Arthur Liou / CROSSING |n the past 5 years, my video has taken on an increasingly painterly quality. While I was dealing with the photographic material, I also tried to incorporate the texture and a degree of abstraction I found attractive in painting. In the 2006 Elements, an oil painting was stop-motion animated to simulate a lush, organic tissue like surface. It became a pre-cursor to this project today. During a series of close exchange with the renowned painter, Barry Gealt, in 2008, my attention was centered on how the paint mixed and migrated on the panel. I saw moments of living environment that I can immerse myself in; such as navigating the turbulent waves in a storm, or looking at the boundless water after sunset, feeling small and desolate. The slowly moving waves in MaelstromandCrossing become a mindscape for me to reflect on my personal experience with life’s tragedy. I think I share the same idea with Barry that our landscapes are not merely rendering of spaces. They are a reservoir of our emotions.
Also in my mind while working on this project was the Buddhist concept of space and time. The number of sands at the bottom of the Ganges River is often used to express the immeasurable number of universes and their distance from us. In a way, they also suggest the relative dimension by which we can find thousands of universes and eternity within a single grain of sand and a split of a moment. The ambiguous blend between the cosmos and the underwater inCurrent stem from the thoughts about this relativity. In the video, thousands of particles follow an orbit that traverses deep into space. The invisible current changes their elastic surface, reminiscent of the appearance of a jellyfish. The distinction between the living organism and the stars becomes trivial. According to the Buddhist teaching, the Pure Land, an ideal world occupied by those who practice compassion and attain enlightenment, is filled with treasures, flowers, and spectacular buildings. In my mind, these attractions are metaphors for an advanced existence instead of rewards for approaching Buddhahood. A more abstract form of grandeur seems proper for spirits who seek transcendence beyond the worldly pleasure. The Pure Land series aims to express such sacred quality in a fluid form that it is both elusive and magical.
About Jawshing Arthur Liou