Tiffany Sum: Platonic Tectonics

  • ©, Tiffany Sum



    Platonic Tectonics



Artist Statement:

    Before scientific inquiry revealed how earthquakes happen, there were many traditional explanations. In ancient Japan, it was believed that earthquakes were caused by a giant mischievous catfish flipping around in the center of the earth. In Mongolia, it was a frog, which carried the earth around and twitched now and then. The Gabrielino Indians of southern California believed that three turtles carried the earth, and when they argued and went their separate ways, the land shivered.
    Platonic Tectonics reinterprets the discovery of geologic transitions and composes a contemporary earthquake myth that may awake the lonely planet. It is a live interactive video installation that explores the allegory of human connections. Through a simulated earthquake scenario in an immersive and participatory environment, the audience examines the poetry of spatial relations in a physically near and enclosed, yet visually mediated, reunion.
    The simulated earthquake studies and reinterprets the aesthetics of machine movement and the design of natural-disaster prevention systems.
    Tiffany Sum was born an interdisciplinary art monkey in Hong Kong. Her work explores questions of intimacy between body and technology. Toasting bread with your palms, a finger-gun that tracks your movements, compressing your body with movable pins to form temporal sculpture, distorting your peeping experience in scale–she challenges the audience to elevate participative viewing by engaging their bodies with the artwork. Sometimes palpable or at other times intangible, her work tends to put the audience in a situation where they can interchange their roles within these experimental fictional realities that derive from films, paintings, cultural gestures, current affairs, and/or natural phenomena.
    She obtained her BA in creative media from the City University of Hong Kong and her MFA from Carnegie Mellon University. Her works have been shown in the United States, Europe, Japan, and China. She was awarded the Best Interactive Work at RE/ACT festival in Germany (2006) and was finalist for the 13th Hong Kong iFVA Festival (2008). Her works were selected for ISIMD in Istanbul, ISEA and ZeroOne San Jose: A Global Festival of Art, and the 1st Shanghai eArts Festival. She was awarded residency at the Skowhegan School of Sculpture and Painting in 2007 and the Art Omi International Artist Residency in 2008. She currently teaches at California State University, Long Beach.

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