Exploring the potential of VR as a tool for transplanting secondhand memories, ‘Diagnosia’ aims to connect the audience to social issues via a sensorial immersion and embodiment in the memories of people who experienced it first hand. “Diagnosia” portrays Mengtai’s memories of being incarcerated in a military-operated Internet addiction camp in Beijing in 2007, where internet addiction and other youth issues were treated as a severe mental disorder with sometimes violent means.
It also raises questions about the extensive research publications that have come out of this institution, and how they entangle with the scientific literature of “internet addiction” on a global scale. By tracing the lineage of “Internet addiction” in China’s cultural context, the work discusses how societies can create or manifest pathologies as a tool for social control.
Zhang Mengtai employs sculpture, sound, and simulation technology to create ambivalent allegories of power, where personal and sociopolitical factors encounter each other. Mengtai’s works have been presented internationally, including IDFA (Netherlands), MIFF (Australia), Sundance Film Festival, New York Fashion Week, NYCEMF, ChaShaMa, Humble Arts Foundation, and Fridman Gallery (US); Times Art Museum, Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, MOCA SJZ, and SNAP (China).
Conferences that have programmed Mengtai’s works include ACM Siggraph, New Interfaces for Musical Expression, International Computer Music Conference, and Sound and Music Computing. He has received fellowships from Wave Farm, IDFA DocLab, and Sylff Association. He received the “Best Chinese Work Award” from Sandbox Immersive Festival for his VR work Diagnosia (2021).
Lemon Guo is an interdisciplinary artist, composer, and vocalist from China. Drawn to the visceral and evocative nature of the voice, she creates voice-based performances and installations that connect people to current environmental and cultural realities. She has performed and exhibited her solo and collaborative works internationally, in places such as Rubin Museum of Art, Sundance Film Festival, IDFA, BBC Radio 3, International Computer Music Conference, ACM Siggraph, and Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture. Lemon has held residencies at the Headlands Center for the Arts and Making Tracks. Lemon created music for director Yi Tang’s short film All the Crows in the World, which won Palme d’Or at Festival de Cannes 2021. Lemon is also half of an experimental music duo Southeast of Rain with composer/pipa-player Sophia Shen and had recently released their debut album 42 Days to critical acclaim.
Diagnosia Trailer from Mengtai Zhang on Vimeo.
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