The change of comics is still on-going today. As social media appears, the “ecosystem” of comics has gradually emerged, allowing comics to connect to culture, craft, industry, economy, and even be viewed as an aesthetic or art. In this aspect, the “comic ecosystem germinated from the internet” can be surveyed and analyzed through the method of “continuous mapping” used in topology. This enables us to extract the coordinates of the comic ecosystem and map out its dimensions, with the horizontal axis being “the structural dimension” and the vertical axis “the historical dimension.”
In the “structural dimension,” various phenomena have become visible after the anime/comic culture arose with the internet and social media. This shows that comics has moved beyond the authorial framework, creating the possibility for the “encounter” between comic works and their readers. Such encounter brings to mind the “relational aesthetics” proposed by Nicolas Bourriaud. Comic works have therefore started separating from authors and engaging readers or audiences in “recreation,” which includes various types of translation, co-creation or derivative creation. Through online communities, the anime/comic culture begins to permeate and penetrate the dimension wall. It is, however, impossible to include and discuss comprehensively the massive comic ecosystem from one perspective in this internet era. The approach adopted in the exhibition is sampling, which allows us to consider how individual, the other and the multitude are connected through the lens of relational aesthetics. Therefore, the exhibition is further divided into three topics: “Classics by Individual Artists (Individual),” “Forces from Connected Groups (Other)” and “Reversion of Social Culture (Multitude).” Here, the individual, the other and the multitude are not only motives for comic creation but also means to connect externally; they even represent the degree of impact triggered by the creation of the comic ecosystem.
As for the “historical dimension,” the above-mentioned dimension includes the past and the present, and another possible aspect is the future. Therefore, a fourth topic, “Envisioning the Future of Comics,” is added, which incorporates interdisciplinary collaborations of technology art and new media to experiment on the future of comics for the next generation. Based on individual, the other and the multitude, this topic is further divided into three sub-topics: “A Quest of Individual Perception,” “Reshaping the Memory of Other” and “Politics of the Multitude and Its Practice,” which are responded respectively by different combinations of comic artists and new media artist. This topic also features AR technology that reinvents comics and brings it into the audience’s life via the use of smartphone.
This exhibition features samples extracted from the Taiwanese and Japanese ecosystems of animation and comics to reflect on the Taiwanese and Japanese anime/comic culture through analyzing the phenomena of post-internet comics and online communities. This allows us to rethink their present intersection and form a comparison, one that enables us to examine both Taiwan and Japan, before moving onto the nativization and development of Taiwanese comics while envisioning its future and all the possibilities it can bring. “Dimension wall” is an internet term that denotes the barrier preventing human beings inhabiting the third dimension from entering the two-dimensional world. The anime/comic culture placed within the context of relational aesthetics, in this regard, perhaps shows us a way to enter the “thinking space,” a way to construct relations, and a method to permeate the two-dimensional space, potentially producing connections between comics, reality and society.
Helin Luo graduated with a master’s degree from Graduate School of Arts and Technology, Taipei National University of the Arts and a doctoral degree from Graduate Institute of Networking and Multimedia, National Taiwan University. He specializes in creating interdisciplinary works using art and technology. For his creations, he draws from his personal experience of being extremely addicted to online games during middle and upper school to explore “the power of virtual worlds”, “the thrill of speed”, and other variations during this era of technology. Furthermore, his works are centered around the concept of “immigrant illness” amidst this generation of digital immigrants. His works have been recognized at many electronic and contemporary art festivals both domestically and internationally. These include the Digital Arts Award Taipei (2008, 2010, 2011, 2015), FILE - Electronic Language International Festival (2009, 2010, 2013), and other competitions. He has also participated in many major international exhibitions, such as SIGGRAPH, SIGGRAPH ASIA, FILERIO, PIXILERATIONS〔v.8〕, Asian Students and Young Artists Art Festival (ASYAAF), ACM Multimedia Art Exhibition, Ars Electronica Festival (2014, 2017), Click Festival in Denmark, and other exhibitions, as well as biennales, such as 2015 WRO Media Art Biennale, 2017 Asian Art Biennial, and more. Luo is the first Taiwanese artist to create works using a four-axis drone. His works have won first prize for the performance award at Digital Art Festival Taipei. He was also specially invited to Ars Electronica Festival to present his inter-disciplinary works made through drones.
For a long term period, he studied Internet culture and digital technology, specifically in regards to daily life, the environment, the city, and other topics. In the area of inter-disciplinary curating, he launched the method of presenting “installation files”. His curating experiences include: “GAME‧NOT OVER ‧ YET Special Video Game Exhibition”, “From Hatsune - Special Exhibition on Contemporary Art and Idol Culture", " When Manga Intervenes in Society", and more. On contemporary art topics, he began a long-term observation of the relationship between the city and bordering areas during his residency at Treasure Hill. He has planned and curated exhibitions, such as “Micro-Resonance - Undecided Post-Settlement”, “ Ruins X City X Ghost Stories”, “Format Daily”, “Urban Parasites”, “Urban Mach Band”, “Nostalgia Manufacturing Machine”, and more. He was selected to serve as curator for the anniversary of Taiwan Art Gallery Association (2012), Association of the Visual Arts in Taiwan (2013), Taipei Art District Festival (2015 and 2016), as well as for the 20th anniversary of SLY Art Space (2017).