By Juan Xu
If you read a lot of fantasy novels, you will have an intuition that it is a fictional, illogical, and wildly imaginative place, but real life is completely real. After all, fiction is an invented world that flows from the imagination of writers, people who perfectly compile accidents, coincidences and other factors to according to their own will; and reality is messy. Together, reality and fiction compose two completely disjointed, but parallel worlds. One the place of dreams, the other of “real life”.
After entering the new century, there have been many global incidents that seem almost naive and absurd, even from the perspective of fantasy novelists. In fact, some of what has occurred, and is still occurring, are more outrageous, more peculiar, and more incredible than any fantasy novel, which calls into question the IQ of these supposedly fantastical writers. Indeed, the "reality" of 2020, which is about to end, is even more bizarre than fiction. It almost subverts our understanding of illusion and reality. After the emergence of the new coronavirus in Wuhan, China, it inexplicably spread from China to Europe, then to the United States and South America in early 2020, and finally formed the biggest global pandemic since the Spanish flu nearly a century ago.
The global spread of this new coronavirus pneumonia has plunged the already crisis-ridden world into unprecedented peril. The European Union was almost divided by the panic in the early stage of the epidemic. Then, the United States withdrew from the World Health Organization, tore up the Paris Environmental Protection Agreement, and plunged itself into a new cold war with China in the form of the Sino-US trade war. Meanwhile, domestically, the anti-police violence, "Black Lives Matter" movement, and the constitutional crisis facing the United States after the election are tearing the United States apart on their domestic front, and with it, the world.
In addition, with the economic crisis caused by the implementation of epidemic control measures, personal survival and psychological crises have also risen. Its direct manifestation is the spread of global populism: QAnon conspiracy theorists and so on. Currently, the world’s political culture is in unprecedented uncertainty, and the second wave of the epidemic is fiercely approaching.
We seem to be at a critical tipping point for all mankind-the economic crisis triggered by the epidemic is bleeding into all areas of our lives, including politics, culture, and society.
Artists are the main group affected by this crisis. The lockdowns prevent them from physically exhibiting their works, and their income and financial survival are also seriously threatened. With such an ever-worsening state of affairs, many artists fell into depression. Yet, many of them are trying to turn the helplessness and sadness caused by the crisis into a kind of motivation by transforming their emotions into a new artistic language, and through this language, express the individual views about the virus in the form of paintings, videos, and performances. This may constitute a comprehensive crisis between the microcosm of the emotional world and the metaphysical macrocosm of the outside world.
One way they are utilizing this is through the Internet, which has drastically changed our lives and also changed the landscape of artistic expression. In the era of the epidemic, when projects and exhibitions are cancelled, Facebook, Instagram, social media, and the online world have become important platforms for artists to express themselves. In addition, social media and the digital world have expanded our visual boundaries and experience.
The "Sharing Crisis" project invites artists from all over the world to participate, expressing the "common crisis" sweeping the world through the artist's own individual feelings. It is an experimental field for artistic democracy in the Internet age. Digital images make the problem of the new corona virus both concrete and abstract, with the beauty of distance and closeness, and at the same time directly pointing to various themes that plague the times. The artistic expression characteristics of "Sharing Crisis": globalization, networking, and democratization. It transcends the "reality" of any one nation and culture and is forming a new virtual art discourse in the digital age.
The "Sharing crisis" makes reality more bizarre than illusion, and makes fiction more powerful than reality.
Link: Sharing Crisis/Juan Xu 共享的危机