In the ‘90s, Kodak's film-era slogan was, "Let the memories begin." When I began my journey into photography in the late '90s, film was the sole medium through which I preserved visual memories. I firmly believed that the most compelling evidence in history had to be visually presented, and those moments captured on films felt sacred and powerful in my heart.
Nearly three decades later, I've become accustomed to using digital cameras and smartphones to capture images, freely editing, adjusting, and even embellishing my photographs. The original promise of photography, the eternal freezing of reality, now seems somewhat elusive. The fidelity of photographic records is no longer taken for granted. As an art form, photography is no longer as pure. However, our motivations and methods of photography remain unchanged. We still transform the multi-narrative world into personal memories through framing. The purpose of photography remains to seek visual resonance between reality and memory, awakening those fading recollections. What has changed is the world we face, as described by Gilles Lipovetsky as the “Global Screen” — a world surrounded by screens, projecting the digitized virtual world onto our retinas.
In 2022, while staying home for an extended period due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a historic event, whether called a war or an invasion, unfolded before my eyes through a plethora of news images. Every image made me involuntarily question its authenticity or fiction, whether it was free dissemination or subjected to media or platform scrutiny. This world presented through two-dimensional screens no longer has geographical boundaries but is divided by timelines. Most importantly, it is no longer trustworthy.
Amidst the dual symptoms of "political malaise" and "information depression," I embarked on an artistic experiment: a form of "photography in the virtual world." However, this time, I chose daily news images as the world I would enter. By framing and magnifying within the (doubt-filled) series of historical event images presented on the screen, I let history, meaning, and perspective disappear, leaving behind fragmented personal memories or merely a sense of emptiness, much like what one might experience in the real world. This artistic experiment aims to predict the future of photography: the fate of photographers (as visual artists) may well become that of double agents in the virtual world.