- How to pronounce your name?
E.O, like in E. O. Wilson.
- You write fictions sometimes but they always seem to be projections of the reality in some ways. Can you talk about disinformation in Minotown?
We now live in an age in which information is so ubiquitous and overwhelmingly available, where the primary input of people’s information are becoming exclusively reliant on cell phones and social media. The pattern of information acquisition changed, and so it has consequences. This is an age in which misinformation by systemic biases and disinformation by fraud are becoming an absurd new normal. With phone apps that remember your taste, and social media that track your reader data, information that fits in your reading history rise in its abundance and censors off information that doesn’t match your history. Since the pattern of information acquisition changed to more and more individualized, every individual makes a cocoon around themselves that puts that individual in a panopticon of information in which you don’t actually know whether the person in the next cocoon receives the same information as you do.
The QAnon movement and the Birds Aren’t Real movement exemplifies the mockery of disinformation, by treating with absolute seriousness something that is actually absurd. But if those mock movements are public performance art, then what happened for real during the early stage of COVID-19 in the U.S. was an absurd real-life testimony to disinformation. For the first month or two, almost all U.S. media, liberal or conservative, advocated the futility of facial masks in deterring virus spreading, which American people largely believed as a prioritized truth despite many other countries’ media that advocated the contrary. Then, during the later stages of the pandemic, the media of the U.S. changed attitude towards masks, asserting how useful they were, encouraging people to wear them, and before long, people completely forgot how devoted they were in their previous beliefs that masks were useless and fully bought this mask-embracing ideology. The swaying effect of information source and information subjects (Americans) tickles the itchy spot of reality – which is, if one individual’s worldviews and beliefs are built upon an information cocoon that is completely different from another’s and such difference is covert, then is disinformation interchangeable with truth? Are there many truths? Should people treat Birds Aren’t Real movement with the same level of seriousness as people treat the statement “birds are real”?
Most of the times, with inevitable data tracking technology and customized information flows, the direction of the cocoons that people build to self-contain arise from subconscious preferences and sometimes random clicks of the finger. Minotown subverts the binary concept of truth and disinformation (the original word used throughout was “rumor”) and disqualifies both terms. I am quite against binaries, especially binary of truth and lies, because I typically oppose all kinds of setups of right and wrong. The story aims to pose questions, just staged in an alternative reality like a parable.
- Why do you typically write nothing in the description of your artworks?
All my works convey messages, no matter conceptual, satirical, practical or philosophical. All elements in a work are intentional. But whether or not I include text description depends on the project. If I explain them explicitly, that’s like a director explaining the motifs of their film. There’s no fun, just limits to the viewer’s imagination. But when I do include this piece of information, it is a very emotive move. It can be implied that I intentionally want to communicate a full idea to the audience with an author-directed communication. In this case, interpretation isn’t mere interpretation, but communication.
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