John Wong: RuShi

  • ©, John Wong, RuShi
  • ©, John Wong, RuShi

Title:


    RuShi

Artist(s):


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Medium:


    Projection (x2)

Size:


    6×3 m. each

Artist Statement:


    This work is about big data and prediction, fate and superstition, questioning what we really need or want in the age of big data and AI.
    RuShi (如是)) means “As Is”: nothing more or less, but the true colors of something. Every Buddhist scripture starts with these two words to show the scripture has no interpretation by anyone else and totally comes from Buddha.
    RuShi is a piece of algorithmic interactive installation art that uses the ancient Chinese fortune-telling algorithm “BaZi” (八字). In English, BaZi means “eight words.” BaZi is an application that uses eight words to analyze a person’s destiny. Every person’s date of birth can be used as data and converted into eight words and the eight words are all translated into five elements (metal/ wood/water/fire/earth). The interrelationship of the five elements can predict one’s character and happenings throughout his or her whole life, and it has become widely used since China’s Song Dynasty.
    What if big data and AI are the new superstitions? What if a fortune-teller or data scientist is only a storyteller? We allow ourselves to believe in something that we don’t understand, as if we are seeing a fortune-teller and hoping the mysterious algorithm can show us our future and tell us what we should do. Indeed, all of the questions we want to ask the fortune-teller are unconsciously built on fear.
    In RuShi, I’m using the ancient data analysis application yet taking out all the extra cultural signs and materialistic interpretations, there remains only the “As Is,” i.e. the five elements. It goes back to the basic. We can see no prediction of life from this machine, but only time, changes of color and the beauty of different people’s balance of life. Photo: RuShi


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