Victoria Fu uses film and video to create textured and color-filled installations that expand the narrowness of contemporary vision into physical space. Though she uses video, a fleeting and time sensitive form, the seaming objectlessness of her craft is uphanded by her use of layered screens and projections.
I'm Victoria Fu, I'm a visual artist based in San Diego, California and one of the five artists in Brave New Worlds curated by Mara Gladstone. I work mostly with moving image, installations with video 16 millimeter film. And my work is about screens in general, the prevalence of them in our daily lives and also what that could potentially mean for how we interact with images, thinking about cinema and how it's reconfigured itself.
One of the central themes is the idea of a screen. And I think a lot about how our haptic relationship with the screen has evolved. Back when we were still watching movies in the theater, it was, you know, there was much more of a physical buffer between us and say the narrative space that we imagine ourselves in when we watch. And now, now that we're constantly interacting with screens and there's kind of a level of manipulability and control that's implied. And that's, that's something that's sort of changing the whole fabric of how we think about our relationship with images. So, um, all that to say when you enter the space, I want to think about the screen as something that's much more tangible or material.
So you see a screen printed out as a curtain and it's very obvious cause it looks like a desktop and it's in the same proportions as a screen. It's 16/9. You'll also see in the corner it's a wood object that's nestled into the corner that has a photographic surface that is also somewhat screen like although it's square. So just thinking about um, maybe images as objects. And then there's also a video in the back that mimics a desktop because it has imagery that's related to a touch screen. Um, you can see the stacked windows of a desktop and various cinematic actions that happen.
The last element is video that plays behind the curtain that I call a shadow video. And it's playing around with the idea of also an image as an object or being or some sort of presence. So it's sort of this poetic take on it, like an image, like what kind of shadow does an image cast, what does the backside of an image look like? So really just thinking about the physicality of an image in a way that you might not otherwise think about. I work a lot with original digital video that I shoot myself, but I also source and steal things from the Internet, mostly stock footage and stock sounds. And I also do a lot of my own 16 millimeter film processing. Really just try to play up the textures that that involves. 16 millimeter also helps with my palette.
So I'm playing around with colors, I shoot natural colors like the sky, but I also then um, do funny exposures with the 16 millimeter that helps me make new colors in sort of an accidental way. So all of these things, these different ways of getting images, um, they all get collage together so to speak, in the editing program, but they get put together in a way that makes sort of spatial sense. So like it creates a new space within the screen. That's something that's somewhat inhabitable, right? Like you can imagine your body kind of like entering the space. So I think about for shortening and perspective and um, if the camera's sort of mimicking a movement, then you know, I might, um, blur out one of the top layers so it looks like it's changing focus to something further away versus closer. So all that layering and stacking, um, I really think about how to flush out the space so it could be viable. Um, but also at times it sort of falls apart and becomes very flattened.
That sort of push and pull is what I, um, what I'm looking to do for the viewer as they never quite get super comfortable watching. I want them to think about themselves watching the video. All the elements in the exhibition are related to each other in the way that they all get generated from sort of a single origin or a single set of images that I've collected or made together. And then they sort of, they're incarnated in these different objects and you can see every variation of thinking about them slightly differently as objects or as physical presences.
LISTEN TO THE CURATOR'S NOTE:
Victoria Fu’s installations explore the expanded nature of vision in a world where human experience is increasingly digitized. Moments of touch between skin and screen are more central in everyday life, shifting us from passive viewers to active users of media. Fu emphasizes this tactile relationship between screens and bodies by collaging together lyrical images from the detritus of digital experience and fragments of 16mm film.
The edges of computer program windows beget graphic abstractions. Magnified pixels and cinematic grain create floating textures, while keyboard and mice clicks are sonic punctuations in the gallery space. Commercial stock images and silhouettes of the artist’s hands become crucial compositional elements, denoting human presence. Note how the hanging curtain animates the video, or how offset projections move in unexpected ways off screen and upon the wall.
As you move through the space, consider the ways you interact with light, whether through your cell phone, with your shadow, or in the moments when projected images reach out and touch you.