山水融城 - 林佑森Cityscape - Lam Yau-sum
Fritz Lang's Metropolis, Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, James Cameron's Terminator – they all deal with the interdependence and relationship between technology, nature and human. Whether it is the robot, the computer or the “cybot”, these characters embody the quintessential futuristic visions that are created by and now affecting human. Only a power struggle threatens our own existence when we opt to embrace retrospection. As the natural environment known to us slowly engulfed by new technologies, we desperately look for solution or way out otherwise passively accepts the transfer of power. At the heart of these films, they project a philosophical irony: is technology overtaking nature or simply becoming our “known” nature.Lam Yau-sum's new miniature landscape provides an interesting interpretation of this ironic question. Using a computer circuit board as the sculpture's main frame, Lam painstakingly removes the wirings from the board and “rewires” them into a tree. The tree becomes the focus. It wraps around and sometimes penetrates the frame, turning it into a landscape scene stabilizing by melted solder. A figure is positioned to give perspective and scale. The three components – circuit board, tree and figure – serve to interact and create a miniature scene of everyday life. While some pieces feature a large dominant tree overwhelming the board, others have smaller trees that appeared inferior and delicate. All trees, however, are withered, perhaps pointing to their “unnatural” fabrication (not wood but wires) or as metaphor of cold and lifelessness. The circuit board, on the other hand, serves not only a colorful and intricate backdrop but, given the scale of the figure, transforms into a building's façade. The composition, in such, has become essentially a street scene. It resembles a typical urban landscape that features more (if not all) man-made objects than natural plantations. The figure within appears comfortably indulged in his own activities, unaware and unaffected by this uncanny surroundings. In fact, the entire scene of Lam Yau-sum's “cityscape” is fabricated yet it looks utterly familiar. If that is the case, the futuristic visions of Lang, Kubrick and Cameron might indeed come true.What will happen to our perception of nature when our only recognition of it is composed of man-made objects and manipulations? What will happen to nature when we are so accustomed to and even accept this alternative? What will happen to us when we disregard our history and culture to make room for technological advancement?