WITHOUT INTERRUPTING THE SYSTEM
A BODY OF WORK ASKING WHY AND HOW WE KNOW WHAT WE KNOW
News, and its various outlets–television, paper, blog, website and social media–have always come under some scrutiny. Why? The reason in part is the outlets themselves. With multiple channels and mediums to distribute information, the likelihood of finding differences or contradictions from one reporting to the next is great. To distinguish itself from itself and the various forms it can take, news must constantly evolve and transform, satisfying what it is and isn’t, and consequently, interpreted as: an illusion. At such extent, under such guise, it’s easy to see how we can develop a general mistrust of what is news, what is newsworthy, and what is credible and true.
Tune Out to Tune In
So how do we trust perception again, our perception? How do we decide what we know and why? The exhibit, Without Interrupting the System, looks to understanding these questions: by demonstrating transformation across sculptural paper illusions including inconsistencies and variations pervasive in current news media, affecting perception and perception of the truth.
Conceived in 2018, the exhibition consists of various sculptural works made using my process-based technique. From large sheets of handmade Japanese gampi paper, I cut, fold, unfold, paint, refold, and assemble hundreds to thousands of individual pieces together by hand to form the abstract and geometric designs that initially, seem symmetrical and consistent. However, in each artwork there exists a deviation, modification, or “interruption” made identically to its overall structure creating its illusion. A slight change in shape, contrast, scale, or asymmetry that tests our first perception of what we thought was being conveyed and what is being conveyed, much like the reporting and presentation of news in mainstream media. By making my illusions with paper–slowly, over many weeks and months for a single work–I am commenting on the rampant distribution of discrepancies made possible by technology and the Internet (as quick as a click of a button) that might be preventable if people came to information as they do to a work of art: carefully, and without expectation.
The art of Op Art
To prepare for the exhibit, I researched the two artists I felt contributed greatly to the idea of illusion and perception in the history of art: M.C. Escher (1898–1972) and Victor Vasarely (1906–1997). Their use of scale, symmetry, gradation, contrast, geometry, and exchange of space and picture planes to represent the three-dimensional, two-dimensionally, (Escher named “Impossible Objects”; Vasarely, “Tridium,”) inspired the approach to my work. Through their contribution, I learned how perception can influence our decisions, and our beliefs to be thought as facts than opinions, and in the extreme, impossibilities too.
Andrew Ooi would like to acknowledge funding support from the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.