Mooore Mall 1.0
Performance: May 10th - 11th, 6:30pm-8:30pm
Artist: Nandan Sam He, Haoran Chang, Xin Ni
Address: 246 E 4th Street, New York, NY, 10009
Chameleon Gallery is pleased to present the new VR Performance Project, Mooore Mall 1.0. Mooore Mall 1.0 is a site specific VR performance which speculates the surreality of virtual economics by creating a quasi-futuristic commercial store both on site and in VRChat. The trio of installation artist, performer, and VR artist work together to create an installation selling nonfunctional products based on the format of stores in e-commerce site, Taobao. The virtual and physical stores will coexist in installation and VRChat, overlapping fact and fiction. By alienating the familiarity of e-commerce stores in everyday life and donning asian quasi-futuristic aesthetics, Mooore Mall 1.0 asks critical questions about labor, capital, and the technology of Sinofuturism. Exploring the concept of Sinofuturism based on the online economic system in China, Mooore Mall 1.0 reflects the disappearance of truthfulness in society, as the proliferation of commercial culture, and the trending gamification of everything in the virtual space, rises to dominance.
This collaborative exhibition features performance artist, Xin Ni, installation artist, Nandan Sam He, and VR artist, Haoran Chang. In the center of this “store”, Ni performs on the stage with improvised, unpolished, and slightly exaggerated movements. Her unprofessional movements subvert the familiarity, revealing the uncanniness of everyday life experience. Uncanny fashion plays a significant part in Ni’s work. In her pieces, she usually wears colorful handmade outfits with a sense of Japanese Manga style, which is reflected in the design of her Avatar in the VRchat. Ni also wears a VR headset and trackers while she performs on the central stage. Her movements will be captured by the base sensors and simulated in virtual space. All the simulation data will be reflected in an avatar in VRChat. The performance on the stage in physical space is completely re-contextualized in the game, so that audiences and players look at different versions of the same person: the real Ni versus the avatar Ni. However, these two contexts and appearances converge together at the moment of the performance. She is the performer in the physical space and she is the player in the game. With the mediation of VR, Ni’s very performance becomes a game.
This is a store, yet, this is also a game.
The objects in the physical space are constructed by He. In her previous works, He uses cardboard to re-create objects from her daily life, incorporating a sense of the nonsensical with some nihilistic fantasy. In this performance, He will use cardboard to create a series of pedestals mimicking the futuristic VR store. The cheaply made objects, in contrast to the concept of futuristic store, create a space that keeps away from the glossiness of the futurism but warns audiences of its superficiality.
In the virtual space, Chang will build a 3D low-poly quasi-futuristic store, published on VRChat. As in his previous works that utilize technology in virtualizing physical objects, Chang makes the lower resolution version of the store and performance stage for the VR platform. This VR environment is artificial and computer-generated, which is completely different from the physical installation which is tactile and handmade from familiar materials.
Mooore Mall 1.0 is an exhibition full of contradictions, the high versus the low, the future versus the past, the game versus fine art, and the functionality of the store versus the nonsensicality of products sold in this space. Combining all the dialectical elements in this one space, questions are asked about labour, technology, and capital. Instead of giving a clear answer to these questions, this exhibition uses the aesthetics of a Chinese online commercial culture and subverts them to speculate the awkwardness and surreality of its possible outcome. Mooore Mall 1.0 questions what we see and our imagined future. It is not just about China; the issues which emerge from this exhibition are universal in the worldwide neoliberal economics system.
We are/will be in a shopping game.
Mooore Mall 1.0 is the first iteration of this quasi-futuristic commercial store project. More coming in near future.