Being trained in a scientific way during my undergraduate years and stepping into the art world after that, I have been thinking the equilibrium point between them all the time. Back history, the convergence of science and art emerged hand by hand with the conception of objectivity during 18th century. Scientists behold artists as their hands without mind to draw some idealizing pictures as illustration for scientific atlas. With the coming of industrial age, scientists were trying to dispense their dependence on artists and achieving mechanical objectivity by one emerging technology – photography. During 20th century, scientific tools and theories have become a new arena where artists could embed their conception. However, just as C. P. Snow said in his 1959 lecture “The two cultures and the scientific revolution”, this is not the right way that science could do any good to art. Science has to be assimilated along with, and as part and parcel of, the whole of our mental experience. And it should be used as naturally as the rest. Not just borrowed exotica. That is the initial point of my practice.

 

The fundamental problem bothering scientists for hundreds of years is the way of observing and documenting. To me, the foundation stone of my practice is the approach of seeing I choose. Rather than being a participant, I would like to be a spectator keeping certain distance from my subject. It doesn’t mean I choose to be objective. After all, the will to be willessness is ultimately a subjective intention. By saying to be a spectator, I incline to compare my creation process with scientific experiments process. Scientific experiments process requires a series of precise operations within rigidly structured environments: depositing particles on silicon slice, gathering signal reflection from sample’s surface, and analyzing data through computer program. As a scientist, one needs to gather every group of information in order to draw a proper conclusion. As an artist, I choose to document every detail so as to unfold the panorama. On this level, I become a spectator as both scientist and artist.

 

In most cases, science is based on collecting images or data from experiments and uses them to conclude or demonstrate theory, which means a process from concrete to abstract. In the realm of art, photography is concerned as the most realistic way to capture concrete views. But consider the way it cuts out a fragment from real life, eliminates all other information from environments, that is a way of abstracting. They both devote themselves to reveal the real entities of an unintelligible world, behind phenomena. When I am using a camera to see the world, it is always like the way a scientist uses microscope observes his samples. Quoting Nabokov’s words, “by minifying the huge and magnifying the tiny, we get to the equilibrium point between knowledge and imagination. And that is where art lives.” Photography gives me this ability to dissect what appears in front of my eyes and reconstruct the connections under my own understanding. It is not a looking at or a looking through but a looking with.

 

在经过本科的科学研究训练之后踏入艺术领域,我一直在尝试寻找它们之间的平衡点。回头追溯历史,科学与艺术的交汇与客观性的概念同时出现在18世纪。那时,科学家借由艺术家的手为科学书籍绘制插图。随着机械时代的到来,科学家试图摆脱对于艺术家的依赖,通过新兴的技术手段——摄影来达到“机械客观”。而自20世纪以来,两者之间的关系开始倒转,科学工具和科学理论逐渐成为艺术家进行创作的技术手段和灵感来源。C. P. Snow在他1959年的演讲《两种文化及科学革命》中曾说,这并不是艺术可以得益于科学的方式。科学应当在被完全理解并且吸收之后,成为我们自身精神体验的一部分,这样才能像使用其他熟悉的事物一样自然的应用科学,而不是仅仅作为一种异域舶来品。这是我创作的出发点。

 

困扰科学家数百年的问题一直在于如何观察与纪录。对我来说,创作的根本同样是我所选择的观察方式。相较于作为一个参与者,我更愿意做一个保持距离的旁观者。这并不意味着我选择了“客观”,我认为实际上想要达到“无意识”的“意识”本身就是一种完全的主观意愿。所谓作为一个旁观者,我想将我的创作过程和科学实验做一个比较。科学实验总是要求在严格控制的环境中进行每一步精确地操作:在硅片上沉积粒子,收集从样品反射出的信号,使用软件分析数据。作为一个科学家需要收集所有的数据来进行合理的推论,而作为一个艺术家,我选作展现每一个细节来呈现这幅全景图。在这样的过程中,科学家和艺术家的身份融合在了一起。

 

在多数情况下,科学是基于收集图像和数据并在此基础上得出结论或者论证命题,这也是一个从具象到抽象的过程。在艺术领域中,摄影通常被认为是具有复制现实能力的手段。不过考虑摄影截取时间的片段,去除所有环境的信息,这也是抽象的过程。它们同样致力于揭示现实背后所隐藏的本质。当我使用相机观察世界时,总像是科学家在显微镜下观察他们实验样品的方式。纳博科夫曾说:“在世界的大小比例之中,似乎在想象和知识之间有着某个微妙的汇合点,这一个汇合点是通过缩小大的事物和放大小的达到的,这在本质上具有艺术性。”通过摄影我可以剖析眼前的现实,然后以我自己的方式重新建构。摄影不是观看的物体或者观看的手段,而更像是观看的方式。