Dino Tsai’s Solo Exhibition:Bar-Code Language—Ripple Effect

With the advent of fiber-optic technology in the Digital Age, human life has been facing an unprecedented change, so has been our way of thinking. It is undeniable that digitization brings us greater comfort and convenience; however, there lies the crisis that humanity might be worn down in the digitizing world. The truth is that the more dependent we are on digitization, the more slavish we become to the QR codes, as known as the two-dimensional bar codes. While the QR codes get dominant everywhere, from supermarkets to bookstores, they are marked even on personal files and necessaries of life. Consequently, humanity is hardly remained in our daily lives. In other words, humanity is gradually weakened and replaced by codes and systematization. In that circumstance, denomination of a man, a thing, or an object is no longer valued, nor is their substance. In such simplification with numbers and signs, humanity is therefore nibbled off and will soon disappear.


Artist Dino Tsai has been concerned with the evolution of the above-mentioned materialism and worried that humanity might soon vanish. Such concern and worry lead him to devote himself to humanism resurgence movement. Sensitive to modern art and social changes, Tsai employs “bar codes” as his subject matter in his creation. He uses series of recognizable bar codes and sets of blurred numbers to symbolize order and discipline that modern people confront in this changeable technology era. In Tsai’s work, each series of bar codes is used to represent a bolt while a number is seen as a lock. Using such association, Tsai gives us an image that we are locked in a world full of signs and codes, which suffocate us so much that we can hardly think or express our feeling. In his creation, the artist also raises two fundamental questions: “What is the order that settles human being and the world?” and “Does that order promise us a utopia, or a hell?”


Digitizing and picturizing have been two main elements in Tsai’s creation, both of which characterize symbols and signs. In a time when the functions of operation and storage are rapidly progressing, symbols and signs are now seen almost everywhere. The innovations in computer age are far more than this. There are microchips that accelerate data processing in a quadratic form, lasers that prompt data to be read without delay, and optical fibers that speed up the data transmission from one processor to another. These inventions manifest a revolution of operation, accessing and communication, causing fundamental influence on bio-organisms who live in this up-to-date but capricious technology epoch. Therefore, it is urgent we recognize and further accept signs and digitization that surround us. In Tsai’s coming exhibition, he continues to use “bar codes” as his subject matter. In his investigation and exploration beforehand, Tsai manipulates one characteristic of art—symbolic sign, selects principles of beauty appreciation to be the medium, and then displays human emotion through his artwork loaded with symbolic forms. Tsai’s work is no doubt one of the best representations in twenty-first-century aesthetics as well as modern art, not to mention the artist’s unique insight into contemporary social movement.



Bar-Code Language—Ripple Effect


One has been labeled various codes and numbers since he or she was born. These codes and numbers, be they given by human being themselves intentionally or generated randomly by computers, are arranged in order, as shown in bar codes--formal and informal, ID, chips, and disks. They serve as marks of human passage within certain time and space. Accordingly, manifold information is woven uniform, while a complicated world gets institutionalized and systematized through digitizing. Living in a modern world rife with bar codes, Artist Dino Tsai confronts the reality that his experiences are rearranged and reconstructed constantly. Instead of being flooded by the overpowering trend, he chooses to brave it by trying to reveal the human lessons hidden behind each bar code. In such an attempt, he intentionally creates sets of codes to reorganize one’s life, environment, and relationship. In Tsai’s creation, bar codes are used in an artistic form to mold an entire biosystem. At the same time, they encode all artworks. In other words, Tsai employs bar codes in his work to portray an event, a relationship, and an action. At first glance of Tsai’s works, it seems that human individuality is nonexistent among massive numbers and symbols. On the contrary, the artist’s abundant life experiences are chronicled in the combination of images, numbers, and bar codes in his works. Besides, as Tsai focuses efforts on recording every occurring yet transient image in his work, the artist’s desire and secret inner world are accidentally revealed.


“Bar Code Language—Ripple Effect” is Dino Tsai’s recent creation. Facing a new age of high technology, regularization and merchandising, Tsai uses simple colors and concise structures, while employing bar codes to record every event, to unfold human being’s struggle of emotion. When Tsai’s series of works are exhibited, combinations of lines and numbers in various bar codes not only shape some rational atmosphere congested with coldness and silence but also create aesthetics of reason. Behind the black lines with different degree of thickness, frequency of rhythm appears indistinctly, which is the swing of reason as well as the fluctuation of life. As for numbers barely visible in bar codes, it is the artist’s intentional strategy to display them carelessly in order to create some effect. In other words, Tsai employs these inconspicuous numbers to imply that they cannot be interpreted without electronic devices such as barcode readers. By applying bar codes in his creation, Tsai voices his complaint that the technology becomes more and more dominant in our daily life. Also, confusion arises while people fail to distinguish from codes to codes and from signs to signs due to their similarity. Such a strict challenge is unprecedented while human being has to rely on digital technology, not their own senses anymore, to identify differences between codes. Hence, more and more people get lost in the jungle of digitizing. Still, Tsai believes that there remains hope when humanity is recalled to vividness. As seen in Tsai’s creation, simple bar codes are used as a medium to summon humanity, as well as a banner warning us that digital world might not be a promised land. In sum, the artist assumes that his creation on “bar codes” might help viewers to rethink their ultimate values and to review the relationship between them themselves and the evolutionary civilization.


The German philosopher Theodore W. Adorno once said, “Art has a dual nature. On one hand, art is independent, transcending reality and all mundane experiences. On the other hand, it is inseparable from the real world and relative to all trifles occurring in the society. That is to say, art is dualistic, which is aesthetic as well as social.” As a modern artist, Tsai feels compelled to uncover the reality and rediscover essential cultural values. Lying behind the seemingly trifling bar codes is the artist’s concerns on the society, so is the artist’s mysterious private world. At the time when most of us are besieged with crowds of people and things, it is inevitable that we expose ourselves to hundreds of millions of messages, symbols and signs in our daily lives. In such a circumstance, connection between reality and art turns extraordinarily important. Furthermore, a bar code is like a joint that links one’s inner world to the society and connects one individual with the world. As we will see in Tsai’s forthcoming exhibition on “bar codes,” the artist subtly twines his inner self into codes. Eventually, codes and signs are in perfect order, faithfully representing Tsai’s concerns on humanity and his unique perspective on aesthetics.


Dino Tsai’s exhibition, “Bar code Language—Ripple Effect” will make its debut from June 9 to July 5, 2009, hosted by Angel Art Gallery. Tsai, who has been specializing on bar codes creation for years, is an artist with profound concerns on humanity. Welcome to Angel Art Gallery to investigate the artist’s inner world through bar codes and discover the surge lying behind the seemingly calm black-and-white lines.

时间:2010/2/27 2:28:00     [关闭窗口]