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{Assimilator}is a solo exhibition by CHENG Hsien-Yu, recipient of the 2nd Tung Chung Art Award, which looks into the fabric of technology to explore how our globalized, internet connected world affects our lives. As technology gradually controls what people eat and wear and where they live and go, lifestyles, habits, and thinking have changed. If people give up authority over their lives to technology, do they still possess abilities to “think independently” and “imagine” during the process of their assimilation? Starting from observations of emotions and actions that are interlinked with technology, this exhibition reveals ideas that are ill-defined by contemporary technology, arts or humanism; and attempts to present alternative commentaries and new interpretations on the emotional contradictions and moral conflict between machines, gadgets and humanity.

The Internet was initially used for military and political communications. It is now the main platform for public dissemination of information. From transmission of messages, its functions have expanded to include social networking, entertainment, services, and transactions. Within this context, chemical changes has occurred to how people acquire knowledge and communicate and interact, leading to structural changes in the reception of information. The most obvious example is how “memory” extracts information. Search engines provide rapid access to information, and the “fast-food style of knowledge acquisition” reflects the way our brains work: Remember the keywords, and use search engines to search the keywords for information. Due to the convenience of input and reliance on the Internet, inaccurate memories emerge during the processing of information by the brain.

In this era of rapid expansion of and access to information, CHENG uses the term “assimilator” to symbolize the positive and negative relationships in the process of absorption of messages, learning, and obtaining of information. People will soon enter the age of “zero latency” Internet, where continued evolution of computer hardware and software, will inevitably bring our life and the Internet closer together. The so-called Internet becomes a type of Intranet (early internal network not available to the public) and communication and exchange between people and between people and the environment enter an all-new state. While the convenience of technology is enjoyable, it also triggers anxiety and feelings of uncertainty. In his new work, Hijacker: {,}, CHENG reveals society’s “specification assimilation” due to the “standardization” by endowing machines with imagination. Dreamers share their dreams. Through third party description and imagination of other people’s dreams, subjective exchanges and changes that take place during the transmission of messages are discussed. Moreover, imagination may become key to unique abilities. Invitation and What’s in the Middle discuss the impacts of negative Internet use and applications, such as hacking of personal information, spam messages, cybercrime, and viruses. Discharge What You Charged forces visitors to face their emotions upon losing access to their cell phones without warning. Moreover, it reflects on passive lifestyles under the domination of machines and derived life experiences.

★Read more:  ASSIMILATOR_Guide

Sponsor: Hong Chien, Ching-Hui
Organizers: Hong’s Foundation for Education & Culture、Project Seek、Taiwan Contemporary Culture LabEquipment
Sponsor: Panasonic