End of Semester Review – Statement

December 2019

Me as an artistic practitioner

My practice and research concentrate on interactive media art that employs creative technologies to produce an artistic environment that emphasises audience participation and experience. By playing with light, space, sound, and movement, I create interactive installations, kinetic sculptures, and most recently site-specific performances. My work explores multisensory integration; I am specifically interested in the moment of sensory slippage. I want to use my work to create meaningful perceptual experiences, and raise awareness of both internal and external relationships. In my previous works[1], I address natural elements like water, wind, light, and fog. I am in the fourth semester of a “Research in the Arts[2]” Ph.D. program. Having almost finished course requirements, I am now at a turning point moving towards the research and experiments for my final exhibition. Taking this group studio course has been a chance for me to think through, and make a clear direction for the next period of the program.

Semester work

This semester I focused on research and experimentation. Instead of asking the question of HOW to make artwork, this semester has pushed me to think more about WHY I make my artwork. I did a series of deep research on artists that inspire me, finding important connections with the works of Olafur Eliasson, James Turrell, and Scott Snibbe[3]. I also took a series of Awareness Through Movement dance classes led by dance artist Johanna Bundon. These are allowing me to conceive of new ways to be physically present in my work. I also took an online course called Generative Art and Computational Creativity taught by a professor from SFU, in which I developed a series of generative graphic sketches[4] using the visual programming software called TouchDesigner. In this course, I learned both technical and conceptual ideas that are helpful to me in imagining my final exhibition works. I also took a two-day performance art workshop focused on ‘Time’ with the highly respected artist, Marilyn Arsem, which brought “a missing piece” into my practice that I have been seeking for years[5]. All the events I attended, and the small exercises I did are fragments. By browsing around and learning new things in other disciplines, at the end of the semester I have a stronger and clearer vision in an unexpected path to bring together performance and generative art in my works to come.

Next Year – DO and Going Out!

In the past year, I have participated in exhibitions, workshops, and residencies, and I see these experiences as an excellent way for me to produce new work, gain experience, and build connections with other artists in my field. For the upcoming year, I have several projects, exhibitions, and art residencies, all of which flow from my research activities of the past year. In January 2020, I will participate in the Venice International Performance Art Week led by Marilyn Arsem, where I will continue to develop my practice in performance art. I am applying for a 10-day experimental artist residency in Greece that will happen in May 2020. I also received an exhibition invitation from Lisbon for July 2020 where I will present my site-specific performance Unsettling Light[6] which I developed in the past year. I am starting to explore another element important to my interdisciplinary practice: sound. I will have a directed study on sound in art with Professor Helen Pridmore from Music/Creative Technology department in the Winter of 2020.

Plan for My Final Exhibition at the moment

I am working towards two bodies of work, to be shown in Wuhan (China) and Regina, that will use interactive visual art/digital art and performance, exploring the theme of sensory perception. Additional creative documentations will also be developed along with the exhibition, including an art book, a self-shot documentary film for each work, and a well-archived and designed website.

[1]  See gaoyujie.me

[2] “Research in the Arts: Multi-modal research based in course and practice-based applied research. A written thesis is not required although other means of critical reflection must be agreed upon with the supervisory committee and in evidence.” Interdisciplinary Studies in Media, Art, and Performance Graduate Handbook 2019-2020, page 14.

[3] The study map I have made through out this research will be shown at my review.

[4] Sketches will be shown at my review.

[5] Considering Time in Performance – Reflection of Workshop with Marilyn Arsem

[6] Yujie Gao, Site-specific Performance, Unsettling Light, 2019