Cheng Ran: Always I Distrust: In Partnership with VIVE Arts
In the UK premiere of Always I Distrust, multifaceted Hangzhou-based artist Cheng Ran brings his distinct ability to orchestrate profound environments to Gazelli Art House. Candidly immersive, this exhibition is composed of tripartite elements, VR, video, and sculpture, whose interrelating narratives explore inner-city seclusion.
Playing out in a fictional setting, Always I Distrust thrusts the viewer into a virtual reality (VR) whereby liquid spaces and interconnected portals are traversed in a nine-minute fantasy experience. As sequel to 2014’s Always I Trust, this 2020 work continues Cheng’s explorations into the emotional isolation of city life from a new perspective. The earlier work was inspired by a computer-generated spam email sent from an unknown woman to the artist, whereas Always I Distrust assumes the perspective of an abandoned hacked email account, auto-generating incomprehensible missives to hundreds of recipients.
Seemingly referencing an aftermath, the indiscriminate list of recipients reverberates across a cybernetic city network. The capricious emotional states of people in the current world are embodied by acclaimed actor, Carina Lau, who morphs between characters. Pandemic regulations dictated Lau and Ran collaborate remotely for Always I Distrust, an experience which Lau terms “new and special” hoping to “use modern technology, as well as my personal experience and feelings, to produce a work that resonates with the audience.”
Always I Distrust is commissioned by K11 Art Foundation and VIVE Arts, and presented in partnership with, VIVE Arts, a global arts initiative that empowers artists to experiment with immersive technologies to create ground-breaking digital art.