How to get the Mao experience through Internet….

How to get the Mao exerience through internet

Title: How to get the Mao experience through Internet….

Year of production: original 2014 (revision 2015)

Medium: Animated Gif / Network / Desktop Web Browser

:: Description ::

Artwork URL (2014 ver): (3.2 MB)

Artwork URL (2015 ver): (3.9 MB – site-specific for Internet network)

The project explores the materiality of network and the digital format of GIFs. The gif image runs and performs on a computer screen through an Internet web browser. Although one could set the frames’ interval time of a GIF, the temporality of the work is indeed overided by live networks’ traffic and interaction between code, network protocols, computer memory and amongst others. With its specific characteristics of grainy texture, continuous looping and cinematic sequences, how does this GIF digital format reconfigure the experience of a public space and public figure?

Inspired by Matthew Britton earlier work “How to get the Mona Lisa experience through flickr…“(2012), this work follows Britton’s method to place the image frame — here I use Mao images gather from the network — at the center for every image and to produce an animated gif which can only run in a browser screen.

This work takes images from wider platforms including Google image search, flickr image search and Baidu image search, which form a collaborative animation with more than 30 unknown / known internet “produsers” (Bruns, 2008). The work explores Mao experience through an Internet screen that comes with different spatial/temporal/social/political happenings, medium specificities, subjectivities, lens and network happenings.

*a tribute to the brave.

::How it works::

The animated gif is 3.2 MB, therefore users might experience certain delay or bizarre animated frame sequence before the smooth animated gif fully appear on the screen. (This is expected and add a bit randomness to the piece) You just click on the URL and see the image.

:: Review / Feedback / Press/ Publication::

- “The authoring power of memory is a notion that has been historically capitalised upon by various regimes. The systematic erasure of peoples, national archives and artefacts have been used to strengthen specific notions of national (or religious) identity. In the same vein,such powers as the Chinese People’s Party, Facebook and Google use erasure to obfuscate events that do not fit a certain political narrative or a set of private interests (Lim 2014; Travis 2013; Shaker 2006). Winnie Soon’s How to Get Mao Experience Through Internet… (2014–15) is a monumentalising loop of obfuscations (Figure 2). The repeating, centred portrait of Mao blinds us from the surrounding landscape changes, itself a reminder of the vision curated by search engines such as Google, Flickr and Baidu. Obfuscation through repetition.” by Audrey Samson 2017, p. 144

- How to [Manipulate] the Mao experience through Internet… – Manipulation/Platform, 2015

- “Equally whimsical yet trenchant is Winnie Soon’s “How to Get Mao Experience Through Internet” — a 10-second loop of tourist shots of Peking’s Forbidden Palace, with a huge hanging portrait of Mao as the steady central focus point as visitors flicker in and out of view” – The Seattle Times, 2015

- “Created by Winnie Soon, gif project How to get the Mao experience through Internet… runs on a computer screen through a browser. With its specific characteristics of grainy texture, continuous looping and cinematic sequences, the artwork questions how the digital format might reconfigure the experience of a public space and the public figure of Mao Zedong.” -  Taste & SIP Magazine, 2015

:: Exhibition Record(s)::

- Aug, 2015, Disruption, ISEA 2015, Canada.
- Apr, 2015, Change-Seed: Contemporary Art from Hong Kong and Beyond, Center on Contemporary Art, USA.
- Jun, 2014, Tomorrowsixtyfour, Web Based art exhibition/online Public Gallery, Hong Kong.

:: Technical & Production ::

  • -Requirement: Internet connection, a web browser

:: More ::

I have made a physical gif version based on the digital one -

* I have tried to contact all the collaborators but of course I am unable to find them all. But here I would like to say thanks to all the online collaborators. If you have found your image and would like me to take out from this piece of work, please email me –

Work by Winnie Soon

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