No Man II will be on show in the Kärntnertorpassage from 2 June to 30 September 2020. No Man II will be on show in the Kärntnertorpassage from 2 June to 30 September 2020. No Man II will be on show in the Kärntnertorpassage from 2 June to 30 September 2020. No Man II will be on show in the Kärntnertorpassage from 2 June to 30 September 2020. No Man II will be on show in the Kärntnertorpassage from 2 June to 30 September 2020. No Man II will be on show in the Kärntnertorpassage from 2 June to 30 September 2020. No Man II will be on show in the Kärntnertorpassage from 2 June to 30 September 2020. No Man II will be on show in the Kärntnertorpassage from 2 June to 30 September 2020. No Man II will be on show in the Kärntnertorpassage from 2 June to 30 September 2020. No Man II will be on show in the Kärntnertorpassage from 2 June to 30 September 2020. No Man II will be on show in the Kärntnertorpassage from 2 June to 30 September 2020.
Ho Tzu Nyen
NO MAN II
Visual Arts
Date
02. Jun
Tuesday
30. Sep
Wednesday
Time: 0am - midnight
 
© Ho Tzu Nyen courtesy of the Artist and Edouard Malingue Gallery and Galerie Michael Janssen
  • Please note

    The video installation No Man II is on unrestricted public display in the Kärtnertorpassage at Karlsplatz.

The installations by Singaporean video artist and theatre director Ho Tzu Nyen are visually stunning works permeated with numerous cultural references. Ho’s central theme is the pursuit of South-east Asia’s cultural identities, overwritten by such a multitude of influences that it is almost impossible to reduce it down to one fundamental historical core. ‘No man is an island, entire of itself’. The title of this video installation references lines written by the English poet John Donne in 1624.
No Man II brings together 50 different figures, all digitally created from online sources. They form an unruly gathering of uncertain origin, a ghostly choir, and range from humans to animals, hybrids and cyborgs. They are animated by movements of an ambiguous nature, from innocuous human behaviour to the stuttering advance of zombies. They might be a small sampling of humanity’s figurative imagination across history. They might be ‘us’. They might be ‘us’ after ‘us’ when humankind is going through various mutations. This moving choreography of digital bodies finds an unexpected echo when placed in the urban space, interacting with the movements of passers-by walking through the underpass of the Karlsplatz U-Bahn station.

  • Detailed work description

    No Man II is a video installation by Singaporean artist Ho Tzu Nyen. Projected on a two-way mirror installed in public space, it features a cast of an ever evolving group of digitally created creatures, engaged in a polyphonic rendition of the prose poem Meditation XVII – Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions by the 17th Century English “Metaphysical” poet, John Donne.

    Donne’s meditation opens with a powerful expression of our interconnectedness: “No Man is an island; No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” But the poem ends on a darker note: “Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.” The tolling of the bell is the sound of death, but we might read it as a call to justice. The death of one diminishes us all, just as injustice to one, affects the entirety of our “network”.

    The soundtrack for NoMan II was produced by British singer-musician David Aird (also known as Vindicatrix). It is built from a complex interweaving of multiple voices (including his own distinctive baritone, as well as performance duo New Noveta and the Craig Boorman Chorus) that rhythmically fall in and out of phrase; with the voices oscillating between a collective and individual utterance.

    The distinctive figures populating the screen of No Man II are obtained ready made from on-line “character design” resources that serve a variety of uses, from game design to digital pornography. These figures range from mythical archetypes (e.g. the Minotaur), to cultural stereotypes and icons, to more recent mass cultural figures such as androids, cyborgs, zombies and mutants. As such, this gathering of figures function as a small sampling of humanity’s figurative imagination across history. Each of the figures are “animated” by movements that were first performed and recorded through motion capture processes, and then made available as purchasable data online. As such they are an archive of gestures both archetypal and stereotypical, ranging from innocuous human gestures like ‘standing around’, to iconic movements memorized in our collective unconscious of popular culture, such as breakdancing, or ‘zombie’s movements’ so prevalent in the mass media of the last decade. The figures are thorough hybrids, composite beings with complex and convoluted ontologies, born out of a mixture of the human, the animal, the digital and the imaginary. No Man II is thus an assembly of beings, each of whom is already an assemblage of heterogeneous elements. Gathered there, these non-classifiable spectral presences sometimes overlap with the audience’s own reflections, as they move and singin an endless, and endlessly varying loop stretching over six hours. Their song is at once an ode to the interconnectedness of life, and amore demanding, polyphonic plea for justice - a plea seemingly unanswerable, because it is incommensurate with our existing systems of representation.

  • Artistic Team

    Direction, Compositing Ho Tzu Nyen Text Adaptation from John Donne, Meditation XVII – Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions With music by Vindicatrix Soloists Vindicatrix, New Noveta (Ellen Freed, Keira Fox), Chorus Craig Boorman Chorus (Simon Cleary, Morag Keil, Georgie Nettell, Armin Suljic, Gili Tal Cory, a. o.) 3D Animation Mimic Production Additional Compositing Kin Chui Rendering Vividthree Production Sound Mix Jeffrey Yue, Lee Yew Jin Co-Design Installation, Production management ARTFACTORY

    Courtesy the artist, Edouard Malingue Gallery and Galerie Michael Janssen

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