Xuan Ye: It Takes Spirals to Feed the Spiral
MOCA Toronto, Canada
May 25 – July 31, 2022
Blurring the physical and the virtual, Toronto-based Chinese artist Xuan Ye presents a new multimedia installation, It Takes Spirals to Feed the Spiral (2021–2022). Through ongoing research into spirals as an archetype, Ye reimagines conceptions of space and time. The exhibition looks at how spirals repeat themselves in the smallest components of life and the largest forces in our universe; in their practice Ye refers to nanoscopic imagery that reveals the double helix structure in DNA, and telescopes that make visible the spiral formations of galaxies.
Ye intentionally turns forms and concepts inside out. In this space, the immersive vinyl wallpaper constitutes a meta-textual diagram featuring a 3D model of the human cochlea, visually expanding this organ beyond the bounds of the human body. Mapped on an exaggerated scale, the canal of the inner ear mimics the appearance of a cosmic phenomenon, such as a wormhole. Viewers can participate in Ye’s research by scanning the imagery with their smartphones to reveal a layer of augmented reality. This extension of the work taps into various fields and cultures ranging from mathematics to biology and astronomy, and from ancient civilizations to post-colonial cultural movements.
Suspended from the ceiling, is a video essay consisting of generative animations, and sequences that are driven by artificial intelligence algorithms. The moving image presents a journey into a seemingly infinite spiraling realm that is accompanied by an original sound work that blends algorithmic composition produced by Jason Doell with improvised ritualistic sounds and vocalizations performed by the artist. The public programming scheduled in conjunction with this installation involves working with Array Space to present a live sound performance titled The Spire Choir, and an artist talk at MOCA; dates to be confirmed. Xuan Ye 叶轩 makes publications, installations, and performances through a myriad of technologies, often involving improvisation and computation. They work with more-than-human networks such as the Internet, machine intelligence, electronic circuits, and living matters to experiment with multi-sensory world-building. Xuan Ye also received support from The Canada Council for the Arts to help realize this project.