SEETIES Born in Beijing and now based in Chicago, two metropolises that constantly inspire her work. She is Yuge Zhou, visual artist and curator at 150 Media Stream. Through video collages and sculptural video installations she portrays ‘urban dispositions’ and explores the complex interactions between humans and their environment. She uses her camera to document ritualistic moments of urban life and rearrange-assemble these images into a metaphorical and dynamic city portrait. Here is “Underground Circuit“:
Sound design by Stephen Farrell; Documentation by Andrew Thoreson.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
At the age of five, Yuge Zhou 周雨歌 became a household name in China as the singer for ‘Little Dragon Boy (小龙人)‘, one of the most popular children’s series in Chinese TV history. Yuge studied drawing under Chinese contemporary painter Kaixi Cui 崔开玺 and eventually moved into Video Art after earning her Master of Fine Art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Yuge currently lives and practices in Chicago, IL, creating video collages and sculptural video installation that portray ‘urban dispositions’ and explore the complex interactions between humans and their environment. She also directs and curates the 3300-square foot 150 Media Stream, the largest new media and video art installation in Chicago. In addition to her MFA, Yuge holds a masters degree in Computer Engineering from Syracuse University.
Zhou has exhibited her work nationally and internationally including the Grand Rapids Art Museum; Elmhurst Art Museum; York Art Gallery in UK; Chicago Cultural Center; SIGGRAPH Asia in Japan; Chicago Design Museum; Athens Institute for Contemporary Art (GA); Czong Institute for Contemporary Art museum in South Korea; New York State Museum; ISEA 2016 in Hong Kong; Santa Fe New Media Festival; West Bund Art Fair in Shanghai China; and Mexican Digital Culture Centre among many others. Zhou’s work has also been featured in the New York Magazine; The Huffington Post, WGN-TV News, Art of the Times and Aesthetica Magazine.
My work originates from a simple desire to make people aware of their surroundings—both the physical and the psychological world they live in. I am deeply intrigued by the history and distinctive characteristics of American urban cities, and the collective idealism, attitude, and pace of the lives of their inhabitants. I use my camera to document ritualistic moments of urban life and rearrange and assemble these documentations into a metaphorical city collage. This process helps me to distill and understand these spaces, which, as a native of Beijing, I find both familiar and mysterious.
The stationary shots of structural film, as well as the progression of time and space in traditional Chinese scroll painting have both inspired my work. The massive reconfiguration of the Beijing landscape throughout my young adulthood is also a lens through which the work develops. Most of all, the work comes out of the scenes that play out by chance in front of my camera. When these scenes aggregate, a rhythm emerges, an essential rhythm that in some way defines a place.
The installation itself uses techniques like wall relief and projection mapping to enhance these framed glimpses as well as emphasize the physicality of digital video. This approach is inspired by the concept of architectural relief (a technique where the sculpted elements remain attached but raised above the background plane). Audiences experience a gradual shift in the appearance and depth of the installation from a flat image to a three-dimensional view with protruding geometric shapes.