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My Ice Cream Installation As An Alternated Universe Reflecting Reality
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My Ice Cream Installation As An Alternated Universe Reflecting Reality

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During the times of post-pandemic, from 2020 to 2021, I created the multi-sensory installation “Ice Cream Discourse”. The installation emerges as a mesmerizing blend of video, scent, and augmented reality.

The Pandemic crisis limited the activities from physical spaces in real life. During the times of stay-at-home quarantine, online meetups became the alternative to in-person and on-site social interaction. We are set apart from the encountering of sensory experiences from outside. Inspired by these, I started to explore the potential of virtual spaces in constructing alternate realities that can provoke thoughts about our own lives, and I constructed an alternate realities by making video. In 2021, I made an experimental video piece, “The First United Ice Cream Assembly Closes Today”. Crafted as fabricated funny news during the pre-pandemic, the news presents an organization “United Ice Cream” that “addresses its first assembly to declare its mission of maintaining peace”. I spent 8 months in crafting the news with live action found footages, motion effects and 3D rendered footages.

More info: vimeo.com | Instagram

Ice Cream Discourse, Woman Made Gallery, 2023, Chicago, US

Photos by Ji Yang
Real news source: The News You Missed in 2020, From Every Country in The World, by Wendover Productions

Ice Cream Discourse, Woman Made Gallery, 2023, Chicago, US

Photos by Ji Yang
Real news source: The News You Missed in 2020, From Every Country in The World, by Wendover Productions

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In 2021, as COVID policies started to loosen and galleries gradually opened for visit, I decided to develop an on-site installation based on “The First United Ice Cream Assembly Closes Today”. Authentic news is displayed together with the fabricated news, slightly in distinct settings regarding the exhibiting site. When the installation was first shown in the SAIC gallery at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2021), authentic live news online was streamed in the gallery. Same in Chicago, In Woman Made Gallery in 2023, “The First United Ice Cream Assembly Closes Today” and real news from 2020 was put together and presented as a two-channel video. Based on the context built by the video components from the installation, an AR filter of the Ice Cream Headquarter was designed to be viewed on the audience’s phone. A clock without numbers is set above the monitor(s), implying the lapse of time as the news plays. Ten hand-made artificial ice cream cones are attached to the microphone stands, responding to the chaotic controversies and filtered media representation with their own kind of absurdity. “sense” is an important motif for me to explore. Sugary, ice-cream-like fragrances were also infused into the exhibiting space as an additional layer of the meaning and experience of the installation. 

Ice Cream Discourse, Woman Made Gallery, 2023, Chicago, US

Photos by Ji Yang
Real news source: The News You Missed in 2020, From Every Country in The World, by Wendover Productions

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Ice Cream Discourse, Woman Made Gallery, 2023, Chicago, US

Photos by Ji Yang
Real news source: The News You Missed in 2020, From Every Country in The World, by Wendover Productions

The installation aims to explore the distance between real life and media representations, and our insecurity and loss of control during the pandemic crisis and social-political unrest. Through the multi-sensory approach, I wanted to invite viewers to ponder the complex relationship between reality, representation, and the emotional landscape. The virtual, fictional landscape built from the installation not only stimulates the sense but also stimulates a deeper understanding of the world around us from the viewer.

The first United Ice Cream Assembly closes today , 2020, HD Video, 02:57

The first United Ice Cream Assembly closes today , 2020, HD Video, 02:57

Ice Cream Discourse, Woman Made Gallery, 2023, Chicago, US

Photos by Ji Yang

Ice Cream Discourse (AR filter), Woman Made Gallery, 2023, Chicago, US

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Photos by Ji Yang

The first United Ice Cream Assembly closes today , 2020, HD Video, 02:57

Ice Cream Discourse, SAIC Gallery, 2021, Chicago, US

Photos by Jiaqi Li

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