- ong xiao yun
Unstate of #04 series process
Updated: Feb 6, 2021
In this post, I am going to focus on the 'Dissection of breath' on the mind map. Breath is part of the air element. The Dissection of breath was inspired from two personal experiences in 2019.
Last year September 2019, i had an opportunity to go on a pilgrim trip with friends to a high attitude mountain area which was a challenge to the physical body and every step of the way we had to do activities in a slow manner to conserve our energy and breath to cope with thin oxygen in the environment. Another experience was having spent a year with an elderly friend whom had COPD and had to use a ventilator 24 hours to cope with breathing issues and mobility. Conversations with him often lead to discussions of feelings of isolation, dependency and disconnectedness with the world outside of his home. Memories become the anchor for him to relate the past and the present. And the future is a free flow of imaginations and scientific breakthroughs.
These two experiences lead to further contemplate about the complexities between the physical body and the environment. It is from a kind of distancing, when the experiences had ceased, that I was trying to understand.
In an article by Kate Bracht on the art of social distancing with Hannah Arendt, She writes that,
Solitude is different from both isolation and loneliness in that it requires being physically alone, but, in solitude, the self is not existentially alone. The self keeps company with itself, in dialogue with itself. While both loneliness and isolation are marked by disconnection and desertion, in solitude the individual remains connected to herself and the world. In the dialogue of self with self, the solitary individual represents the world to herself. Conversely, the two conversing selves of solitude converge through reconnection with another human being who affirms the solitary individual’s unique, unexchangeable identity. 
This is an initial sketch of the art work(Unstate #04 series). The initial sculptures(cone shaped sculptures, titled 'Unstate #04-02, Four Peaks') later evolved into the set of four photograph collages. The words on the photographs are "art, philosophy, love, and friendship." inspired from Hannah Arendt “life-giving resources” — wherein one could sustain oneself and learn to breathe and act again: art, philosophy, love, and friendship.
This is the first time I am incorporating my own photographs into my mixed media art work. The process of art works which involves using photographs, was such that I would go to the internet to source for creative commons photographs taken around a subject matter. One of the reason for doing so, was that I was interested to incorporate views taken by other people.
These images of the landscapes taken were related to the pilgrim trip. There is an enduring and alluring quality to images of landscape. It depicts a horizon that is vast, seemed infinite, limitless due to the vanishing point. It remains powerful in the imaginary. The experience can be immersive.
There are these multiple frames created by the cardboards that functions like windows opening up into a ‘world’ of its own. Can a sense of free associations with the text be possible? Can a sense of free associations with the images be possible? I did not want to create mental images. Rather an interconnectedness that is grounded with the body and the environment.
The Art of Social Distancing According to Hannah Arendt, https://www.fairobserver.com/culture/coronavirus-social-distancing-self-isolation-solitude-hannah-arendt-totalitarianism-news-16651/, Kate Bracht
 Hannah Arendt On the Oasis of Friendship, https://link.medium.com/DMfWMQX6Y9 Dr. John Douglas Macready