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Savage winds, a land of stone, Forsaken intelligence, left alone

[07.10.23 – 11.11.23]


Miao Ying


13/F, Blue Box Factory Building, 25 Hing Wo Street, Aberdeen, Hong Kong 

(Related files)

Kiang Malingue is pleased to present “Savage winds, a land of stone, Forsaken intelligence, left alone,” an exhibition of Miao Ying’s latest simulations and paintings. This is the artist’s first exhibition with the gallery. The exhibition continues Miao Ying’s exploration of digital assets in the broader sense—visuals, sounds, special CG effects, gestures and data that have been radically owned, shared and misappropriated in the virtual world—identifying artificial intelligence as a type of digital asset par excellence, a modern alchemy that functions as a black box beyond its creator’s control.

Technomancy at Polarized Rift (2023) and Technomancy at Lava pit (2023) are two simulations that depict evolving landscapes, continuously conjuring from a stationary point of view an array of digital readymades: generic, pre-made assets such as epic landscapes, environmental objects and special effects used in many existing games. Spontaneously, audio is generated as poems written by GPT describing the rugged landscape features, fantasy political spells, and technomancy spells are being read by an AI trained in a British accent. The title of the exhibition derives from one such spell that appeared in Technomancy at Polarized Rift. Highlighted is the relationship between magic-ideological incantations and happenings on screen, grounding predestined causality in a randomised cacophony.

Battle for Glorious Magic (2023), on the other hand, is an interactive simulation playable on both computers and mobile devices. Assuming the form of a video game, Battle for Glorious Magic is a first-person experience of the realm of Walden XII—part of the long-term project “Pilgrimage into Walden XII” started in 2019 inspired by B. F. Skinner’s 1948 utopian story Walden Two—that is different in each play-through as the environments, encounters and events are procedurally generated. This algorithmically organised adventure is also voiced-over by an AI-generated voice that solemnly performs spell incantations, describing in-game encounters that allude to political situations in the real world. The voices across different simulation works may be considered a critique of the politically motivated agenda underlying gaming culture that is seemingly liberal, and of the impossible dungeon that is the world today: it takes bardic magic and fantasies to solve the world’s political and ecological problems.

The three recent paintings from “Training Landscapes” series also on view trace the complicated process of technomancy apprenticeship: Miao Ying feeds a host of generated images as references into another AI system, which in turn uses them to imagine and generate new visual content. After transferring the resulting images onto canvas by a painter trained in socialist realism, Miao Ying glazes the paintings individually. In “Savage winds, a land of stone, Forsaken intelligence, left alone,” Miao Ying considers the distribution, circulation, and evaporation of digital assets—which is at once free and costly, empowering and impoverishing—questioning the way in which authority, magic and capitalism function in relation to such precarious property.

(About Miao Ying)

Miao Ying is a Chinese born, New York based multi disciplinary artist. Her recent practice incorporates machine learning live simulation, painting and installation, exploring the intersection of alchemy in technology, and conflicting ideologies in digital assets.

She is among the first generation of Chinese contemporary artists who grew up with the internet, Chinese economic reform, one-child policy and studied abroad. She is known for her projects and writings that juxtaposes western technology and ideologies with contemporary China, and humorously coping with her Stockholm Syndrome in relation to superpowers.

Her solo exhibitions include “Savage winds, a land of stone, Forsaken intelligence, left alone”, Kiang Malingue, Hong Kong (2023); “Miao Ying: A Field Guide to Ideology”, Museum of UofT, Toronto (2022); “Pilgrimage into Walden XII”, Art Basel: Pioneers (2021);  “Hardcore Digital Detox”, M+, Hong Kong (2018); “Miao Ying: Chinternet Plus”, New Museum, New York (2016); “Holding a Kitchen Knife to Cut the Internet Cable”, Chinese Pavilion, Venice Biennale, Venice (2015). Her work has been featured in international groups shows at Hawaii Triennial, USA (2022); Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, Italy (2022); National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (2022), Castello di Rivoli, Turin (2020); Kunstverein Hannover, Hanover (2019); 12th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2018); MoMA PS1 and K11 Art Foundation (2017); UCCA, Beijing (2017); Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2016); amongst others. She is recipient of the Porsche Young Chinese Artist of the year (2018-2019), shortlisted nominee for Sigg Prize 2023.