UPDATE as of 28 September 2022:
The opening of the ICA’s Fall 2022 exhibition Close Your Eyes and You Will Know with Yin-Ju Chen and Li-Chun Lin (Marina) (originally scheduled to open on 22 September) has been rescheduled to 13 October 2022. The exhibition-related event “The Way to Mandala: The Artistic Practice of Connecting the Self to the Universe” by Yin-Ju Chen (originally scheduled on 24 September) has been rescheduled to 22 October 2022.
Close Your Eyes and You Will Know is an exhibition by Taipei-based artist Yin-Ju Chen and shaman practitioner Li-Chun Lin (Marina). Their collaborative project Sonic Driving (2018–ongoing) employs shamanic methods to access altered states of consciousness and to create alternative realities. Sonic Driving further invites others to learn and to experiment with shamanic practice, to create radical knowledges of self and for an expanded collectivity.
Originally scheduled for the ICA’s Spring 2022 season, the exhibition had been closed since early March due to the Omicron outbreak and lockdown in Shanghai. Despite the premature closure of the exhibition, related public programs continued online, which included two workshops facilitated by the artists (“Shamanic Assembly Oracle Workshop” in English and Chinese), a talk by Lin (“Gnosis—Shamanism and Magic, a Practitioner’s Exploration”), and a lecture by critic and curator SHEN Boliang (“Art and Spiritualism in the New Media Age”) followed by a conversation with historian JIAO Yupeng. Video documents of the talks by Shen and Lin are now available online as part of the ICA’s media archive.
Chen and Lin’s multimedia installation charts out the space of the ICA gallery into the tripartite cosmology of 巫 (“wu”—the Chinese character for shamanism): the “upper world” manifested in a video of two arduous intertwining journeys—both spiritual and physical—to the realm of deities; the “middle world” invoked by a deep visceral drumming through which humans, in coexistence with the more-than-human, access the upper and lower worlds; and the “lower world” depicted in watercolor drawings and notes scrawled by Chen, recalling her own shamanic journeys. An ink drawing made by Lin illustrating the “wu” cosmology, stands in the center, anchoring this symbolic universe.
As an integral part of the ongoing Sonic Driving project since 2018, Chen and Lin have assembled shamanic workshops, in which participants travel to these aforementioned upper and lower worlds via altered states of consciousness and received oracles in reply to questions such as “What will our world look like 100 years from now?” and “How will global warming affect the Earth?”. Video text documents of past workshops are projected onto the ceiling, along the margins of the space representing the middle world in the exhibition at the ICA gallery.
The online workshops hosted by the ICA in Spring 2022 resulted in a surprising inversion. In 2018 (Taipei), in response to a prompt inquiring about the effects of artificial intelligence (AI) on the future of humanity, one workshop participant received an oracle that predicted the outbreak of a global pandemic. Then, in 2022 (Shanghai), in response to a different prompt about the future effects of Covid-19 pandemic, several participants received oracles related to AI’s world domination. These curious results motivated the artists to develop Sonic Driving further and explore the potential of more-than-human collective intelligence, including the possibility of including AI as participants in future shamanic assembly oracle workshops.
Emphasis of this artwork on the subconscious/bodily perception is a continuation of Chen’s long-standing exploration of unusual states of consciousness, spiritual mysteries, and the relationships between the macrocosm and microcosm, and Lin’s shamanic practices which rely on the visceral senses to gain gnosis and bring healing to the community and individuals.
As one oracle portends a future that became our present, another compels us to consider how “our” future is shared. The Fall 2022 re-opening of Close Your Eyes and You Will Know asks exhibition visitors and workshop participants alike to lay their bodies down and close their eyes; to see in the dark and to produce new knowledges through other ways of knowing.
Close Your Eyes and You Will Know is accompanied by related events, including:
“The Way to Mandala: The Artistic Practice of Connecting the Self to the Universe” by Yin-Ju Chen
- Sat, 22 Oct, 14:00-15:30 UTC+8, online
- Chinese (with simultaneous interpretation in English)
"Remembering Our Future: shamanism, oracles and AI"
with Li-Chun Lin (Marina), Cavan McLaughlin, Karin Valis, Yin-Ju Chen, and Bogna Konior
- Wed, 30 Nov, 18:30-20:30 UTC+8, online
- English (with simultaneous interpretation in Chinese)
Registration is required for all events.
Scroll down to “Related” below for more information.
The exhibition Close Your Eyes and You Will Know and related events are presented as the second season of the ICA’s second biennial artist research program, Another Knowledge Is Possible (2021-23) exploring neglected and repressed ways of knowing and the complex politics of knowledge decolonization.
Close Your Eyes and You Will Know, an exhibition by Yin-Ju Chen and Li-Chun Lin (Marina), is organized by Michelle Yeonho Hyun with ZHU Sicong and BAO Yang, and with additional support by LIN Siqi, CHEN Yindi, CUI Yiheng, GU Weiwei, WANG Danni, Brooke Xingli Chen, SHEN Jianing, WANG Yuezhan, Jolie Chen, ZHU Yanlin, Mia Cheng, and ZENG Xiaoyun. Design by The Exercises.