A story about a virtual avatar, Wenjun II, generated from Wenjun's data in the world of the Internet and technology, reflecting on his identity as a newcomer from China and navigating a new analog and digital world. The memories of Wenjun become a dream of Wenjun II.
Wenjun ChenKey Cast
Project Type:Animation, Experimental, Short, Student, Web / New Media
Runtime:12 minutes 33 seconds
Completion Date:April 30, 2023
Country of Origin:United States
Country of Filming:United States
Language:English, Mandarin Chinese, Yue Chinese (Cantonese)
Student Project:Yes - The City College of New York
Design in Flux, West Harlem Art Fund, New Media ExhibitionNew York
May 6, 2023
Wenjun Chen is an interdisciplinary artist with a current focus on new media, the internet, and technology. Born in China in 1985, his early work explored themes of urbanization and self-identity through the medium of photography. He is currently based in New York City.
His works were selected as finalists for the Dummy Award Kassel 2016 and the 8th Three Shadow Photography Award 2016. He was also a recipient of the Taipei Photo Emerging Photographers' Award 2016, the XITEK EOS New Talent Award 2015, and the Xu Xiaobing Photography Exhibition Outstanding Works of Art 2010.
His works have been exhibited in China, the United States, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, the UK, France, and Germany, among others. His works are collected by the China Port Museum, China; the Chengdu Contemporary Image Museum, China; the Alexander Tutsek-Stiftung, Germany; and individual collectors in China and Germany.
Taipei Photo Emerging Photographers' Award, Taiwan, 2016
Dummy Award Kassel, Shortlist, Germany, 2016
Three Shadows Photography Award, Finalist, China, 2016
XITEK EOS New Talent Award, China, 2015
Xu Xiaobing Photography Exhibition Outstanding Works of Art, China, 2010
Works are collected by the China Port Museum, China; the Chengdu Contemporary Image Museum, China; the Alexander Tutsek-Stiftung, Germany; and individual collectors in China and Germany.
*Me and Me, Ray Art Center, Shanghai, China, 2016
*Me and Me, Voutu Space, Guangzhou, China, 2014
Wenjun II, Design in Flux, West Harlem Art Fund, New York, United States, 2023
En Ning, Rooms Within China, Tofu Collective, Copenhagen, Danmark, 2021
Me and Me, The Family of No Man, Arles Cosmos 2018, Arles, France, 2018
Me and Me, 17th DongGang International Photo Festival, DongGang, Korea, 2018
Me and Me, Photography Handmade Book, Lishui Photography Festival, Lishui, China, 2017
Wandering Through Guangzhou After 2000 years, The Port and the Image Project: Documenting China’s Harbor Cities, China Port Museum, Ningbo, China, 2017
Me and Me, 2nd Ningbo International Photography Week, Ningbo, China, 2017
Me and Me, Lianzhou Foto Festival, Lianzhou, China, 2016
Me and Me, Taipei Photo, Taipei, Taiwan, 2016
Me and Me, Xitek New Talent Award, PHOTOFAIRS Shanghai, China, 2016
Me and Me, 8. Fotobookfestival Kassel, Germany / Beijing, China; Fotoleggendo, Rome, Italy; PhotoIreland, Dublin, Ireland; Fotogalleriet, Oslo, Norway; Organ Vida Festival, Zagreb, Croatia; Month of Photography Festival, Bratislava, Slovakia; Encontros da Imagem, Braga, Portugal; Photobook Week, Aarhus, Denmark; Format Festival, Derby, UK, 2016
Me and Me, Three Shadows Photography Award, Beijing, Xiamen, China, 2016
Me and Me, Xitek New Talent Award, Shanghai, China, 2016
En Ning, The Fence, Volume: Birmingham’s Art, Book, & Print Fair, Birmingham, UK, 2013
En Ning, The Fence, From Print to Publishing: The Changing Role of the Book in China and the UK, Chinese Arts Center, Manchester, UK, 2013
En Ning, The Fence, Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, Japan, 2012
People and the City, People in the City, Xu Xiaobing Photography Exhibition, China, 2010
As a photographer, I have always utilized the medium as a means of exploring and connecting with my identity in relation to others and my surroundings. My early works were focused on the subject of rapid urbanization in China, drawing upon my personal memories of childhood. Later, I turned my lens towards examining the intimate relationship and self-discovery within the context of marriage within Chinese culture, in collaboration with my partner. Now, my focus has shifted towards interdisciplinary new media art practices as I continue to delve into the theme of self-identity in the ever-evolving landscape of the internet and technology, reflecting on my identity as a newcomer from China and navigating a new analog and digital world. My current area of study, Technoself Studies, encompasses a range of topics such as avatars, digital
identity and virtual life, privacy and surveillance, personalized robots, and the social integration of artificial creatures, with a further specific focus on personal data.
This is a project that delves into the intricacies of self-identity in the ever-evolving landscape of the internet and technology. At present, I am constructing a virtual avatar as well as my alter ego, who exists solely within the digital realm. Through the use of a GitHub webpage (https://wenjunii.github.io/Lifeography/), I am transmitting my personal data, such as my facial features, memories, voice, and physical movements, to him. In turn, he is utilizing this information to build his own identity, utilizing images sourced from search engines to visualize memories, learning to speak and move from my own, and even creating a face that is based on my own. In this way, I am not only creating a version of him, but he is also creating a version of myself. This process is documented on the webpage mentioned above, which serves as his "lifeography," and includes keyword statistics and advertisements that reflect the surveilled and commoditized nature of the internet world in which he exists. The webpage is also presented in the forms of narrative video, VR, and physical image collages with AR presentations. Through this work, I aim to explore the sharing and exploitation of information in the virtual world, trace memories and explore identity through virtual data, and explore the mutual relationship between the physical and the virtual, the tangible and the intangible, the material and the immaterial, things and non-things.