w-t-f is my senior thesis exhibition. When I started, the work was about identity; particularly, how identities are represented in the digital environment. This interest in identity continues a thread of thinking that began with my junior show, a collaboration with Drew Wallace called i am jonathan zong by joe scanlan in which he took on my identity within the VIS program. As I continued this work, I started thinking more directly about how identities are performatively constructed by reiteration and repetition. Or how, like the Ship of Theseus, we continuously rebuild ourselves by shedding and picking up. I found myself circling around the idea of embodiment and the body not only as a medium for identity but as something inextricable from it. As I’ve worked on the show and continued to think through these different threads, everything has converged on my interest in, and particular struggle with, the transmission and form-giving of ideas. All these ideas live in my head as an associative network but undergo transformations and serializations as they are communicated from me to you, whether that’s through language or visual form. So here we are with my show, which at its face is kind of this mess wherein the information and everything is there but needs unpacking and needs a bit of labor to sift through and untangle and understand and comprehend. It might have been tempting to make something more friendly, or less demanding. But I couldn’t. After all, Where’s The Fun?
Read: w-t-f: A Conversation with Seniors Eric Li and Jonathan Zong.
Thanks to Kathleen Ma and Eric Li for exhibition photographs.