[Labs] Zhang Wenxin: The Secret Ritual of Digital Life

Executive Editor | Pocono Zhao Yu

Translator | Zhou Lin

The mainstream media is currently shifting from paper to screen, and “photography” as the well-known medium is also stepping from the analog age into the digital age.


Zurkhan3h 2020
HD color animation with sound 6m25s

According to the artist Zhang Wenxin, this has brought the following two changes:             

 On one hand, just like the hemoperfusion technology, the world of inorganic matter (silicon-based substance, pixel, PBR function value, optical parameter, etc.) has heavily absorbed people’s lives (memory, desire, sociality and attention, etc.);

On the other hand, the inorganic matter has reinstated its consciousness of life through simulation, which is even more vivid, lively, and sagacious. It seems like some sort of extraordinary divinity has been mass-produced in the world of inorganic matter.

To the artist, a “secret ritual of inorganic matter” is like an ancient but novel myth that is always in a recurrent process of hallucination, phenomenology, or a psychic-like action of “traversing the living organism.”

In her new work Echoes of Perfusion (2020), these recurrent processes have been magnified in capitalism and the ruling system of geopolitics, yet life, the life system of blood, virus, and gene has also been replaced by a feedback loop model of digital traversing.

A kind of bodily geopolitics is based on digital technology, as a result, it initiates the contemplation that goes beyond dimensions and a new secret ritual between the body and the screen.

Audio Interview


What motivated you to switch from working with photography and imagery to working with cross-disciplinary approaches?


Could you briefly talk about your personal interpretation of the fluxity and poetics in your work?


How do you see the symbiosis of humans and viruses during the pandemic that could last long-term?

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Related Person

Wenxin Zhang

Project UNArt 2020 #1:Agape from Viruses 2020.07.22-10.22
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