October 5, 2020 / By Xochitl Rojas-Rocha
This fall, join the Qualcomm Institute’s gallery@calit2 for a special, online-only exhibition from New York-based visual artist Jen Liu. “Gold Loop (Triad)” is a reflection on e-waste, political resistance and disappearances, presented in three parts. The first installment streams live on October 15 at 5 p.m., followed by two pieces released November 5 and 26.
“In Gold Loop (Triad), 2020, the industrial process of e-waste recovery of gold is used to reconsider concepts of economic liquidity and circularity. The video, shot in both Shanghai and Birmingham, UK, looks at e-waste's material flow of nitric, hydrochloric, and cyanide acids, as a shadow circulatory system underlying the myth of circular economic design, seeping into the environment and the bodies of the workers—and passing on to following generations in the form of genetic mutations.
“These acids dissolve plastic and base metals, so that gold may be extracted. Meanwhile, in the same regions, Chinese labor activists are ‘disappeared.’ These are parallel disappearances without clear causality. Gold Loop (Triad) proposes a poetic-speculative connection based on collective disappearance, an historic anti-colonial method of political resistance: dissolution in the form of mass departure.
“Can disappearing be the solution to disappearing? Can recycling alleviate toxicity by creating toxicity? The biopolitical loop closes, and tightens.”
Liu works in video, choreographic performance, biomaterial and painting to explore topics of national identity, gendered economies, neoliberal industrial labor and the re-motivating of archival artifacts. Problem-solving methods are applied to complex social issues, then permitted to progress to their logical conclusions, create speculative narratives seemingly beyond reason—but these narratives are composed almost entirely of everyday administrative documents, industrial catalogs, and firsthand accounts of workers, the real world's minor texts.
Liu will join Associate Professor Ricardo Dominguez of the UC San Diego Visual Arts Department and Sumeyye Yar, Molecular Biologist and Science Educator, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory DNA Learning Center, for a live discussion and audience Q&A after the premiere. Audience members can register to participate in the Q&A discussion here.
“Gold Loop (Triad)” will run from October 15 through November 26, 2020.
gallery@calit2 events are free and open to the public.