How to get the Mao experience through Internet…

Title: How to get the Mao experience through Internet…

Year of production: original 2014 (latest revision: 2020)

Medium: Animated Gif / Network / Desktop Web Browser

:: Description ::

Artwork (2020 ver) (13.7 MB – site-specific for Internet network)

Recalibrating the focus of its imagery, transitioning from representation to the material dimensions of the image, the work draws attention to the live performance of a thing in itself. The con-temporality of the work is emphasized by live network traffic and interactions between code, network protocols, computer memory, amongst others, producing unpredictable looping sequences and delayed intervals, as well as the dynamic reconstruction of grainy frames and montage as an animated gif. The work questions how the (live) GIF digital format reconfigures the experience of a public space and public figure such as Mao.

In overall terms, the work explores Mao experience through an Internet screen that comes with different spatial-temporal and social-political happenings, networked events, medium specificities, as well as the lens of human and nonhuman entanglements.

*a tribute to the brave.

:: Description (2020b) ::

7 channels video projection –

Recalibrating the focus of its imagery, transitioning from representation to the material dimensions of the image, the work draws attention to the live performance of a thing in itself via (de)construction. The work examines the notion of operative images, that is part of a changing and executing operation beyond static forms of representation. Such operation is emphasized by live network traffic and interactions between code, network protocols, computer memory, amongst others, producing unpredictable looping sequences, delayed intervals, as well as the dynamic reconstruction of montage images. The work questions how the liveness of digital operations reconfigures the experience of a public space and public figure such as Mao.

In overall terms, the work explores Mao experience through an Internet screen that comes with different spatial-temporal and social-political happenings, networked events, medium specificities, as well as the lens of human and nonhuman entanglements.

:: 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) ::

  • 2020(forthcoming), DA Z Festival, Switzerland
  • 2020 (forthcoming), The Image Looks Back/PHOTO festival, RMIT Gallery, Australia
  • Sep-Oct, 2017 Falmouth Art Publishing Fair 2017, Falmouth, United Kingdom
  • Jun, 2017, ARoS Art Museum, Aarhus, Denmark
  • 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 ::

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 wider geopolitical platforms including Google/Bing/DuckDuckGo/Baido image search and the flickr platform — at the center for every image and to produce a collective (heavy) animated gif which can only run in a browser screen. By refreshing the screen through a lightweight script, a new image is generated upon every refresh time to avoid the same image cache. As such, each repetitive refresh is regarded as a new fetcher and new image reproduction and presentation through data transmission and processing.

Requirement: Internet connection, a web browser full screen mode without the URL bar, recommended screen: 37” Plasma LCD (HD is not required but the 4:3 aspect ratio is needed)

Image resolution size: 1280×960 px, produced with GIMP and ImageMagick library.

For the version 2020b- video channel projections:

  • main gif: 1440x1080px, and the cycling image grid:1920×1080 px

:: Acknowledgement ::

* I have tried to contact the photo contributors but of course I am unable to find them all. But here I would like to say thanks to all the online contributors especially Jim, Adiong, Peggy, 新辰陳 and Roger. If you have found your image and would like me to take out from this piece of work, please email me. (This piece of artwork is not for sale).

Thanks to Nynne Lucca who helps working on 2020b together, and Anders Visti for advices.

:: More ::

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