Shrinking Distances (2006)
Modern time brings convenience to our daily living. Or does it? We have developed highways, planes, and other means of transportation, reaching places afar in shorter and shorter time. But how much do we know about our immediate surroundings? How often do we talk to our neighbours living next door? How much do we get involved in our own communities?
The world seems to be shrinking. Every corner of the globe is now within our reach. How does this affect us? Will this grant us more freedom, or simply suck up all our time with transit? Will this help us appreciate what we have, or make us long for more?
Distance is relative. Comparing to people in the past, modern city dwellers have very different concept concerning what is “far”. We might not think much about flying thousands of miles for a vacation, but we frown at walking a few blocks within our inner city. We know it talks only a bus ride to visit our friends or relatives across town, but we now seldom take the trouble. Are we too busy pondering the possibilities, that we don’t bother to make the leap?
Shrinking Distances is an attempt to bring the city closer to us, right into our palms. Can we get closer? Or do we want to?
There are two series shown in this exhibition. The first one, Illumination, was started about three years ago. It began with my curiosity in how we interact with, and being influenced by man-made light sources and their coronas. The pieces shown here are mostly from the conclusion of this series. The second series, Shrinking Distances, is a continuation of my fascination with city living. I always wonder where the many progresses of our society will eventually lead us.
Since these two series are about city living, I subconsciously chose materials that somewhat reflect this theme. Cities are full of structures built with glass, concrete and steel; my works are mostly made of glass, clay and silver. The choices might not be intentional, but they seem to work out quite well. Several techniques in glass were used in making these pieces, including pâte de verre (玻璃粉脫臘鑄造), lamp work (燈工) and blown glass (吹製玻璃).
These pieces are what I called self-standing jewellery. They are small objects, can be put on your body, and will relate to your body when worn. At the same time, I also believe that these small objects can assert themselves when standing alone, thus forming another set of relationship with their surroundings. They don’t need to look like jewellery pieces. To me, they are small objects that happen to be wearable.