Virtual World Mechanical-kinetic Installation
445 (H) x 1776 (W) x 1100 (L) cm
LED screen: 460.4 (W) x 287.5 (L) cm
Per LED screen: 115.1 (W) x 57.5 (L) cm
Screen to ground: 250 cm
Unity 3D Program, 4-channel sound, LED screen, receiver card, sender card, video collage maker, computer, servo motor, servo driver, reduction drive, cable carrier, PLC controller, PLC data cable, CAT-6 networking cable, power cord, aluminum-alloy slide rail, rack, sliding block, distribution box, steel plate, steel tube, galvanized tube, fluorocarbon paint
In ZHANG Ding’s solo exhibition Orbit of Rock (2014), chemical reactions generated by a mixture of stimulation transformed the site into an environmental sculpture of twisted emotion and atmosphere. Since then, he has entered into a number of projects and initiated the art label CON TROL CLUB, to experiment and explore more possibilities in his works through expanding the confines of authorship. In the series project Enter the Dragon (2015 - 2016), he invited 44 musicians of various genres and styles to challenge the rules of music across ICA London, Shanghai and Singapore; in Devouring Time (2016), he transformed the Rockbound Art Museum into a golden jail and live-streamed the event of 150 VIP guests dining together. In the meantime, CON TROL CLUB has presented various projects as gatherings of both controllability and anti-controllability, which focuses on the social practice that taps into in the field of contemporary youth culture.
For this series of projects, the artist takes the role of a producer to establish a platform of open collaboration. After three years, he returns to the gallery, and formulates his current state as an individual artist through the creation of a solo exhibition. Zhang Ding’s 2017 solo exhibition Vortex in ShanghART Shanghai is a newly created virtual world mechanical installation. The work is 17 meters long, 11 meters wide, 4.5 meters tall and occupies the entire first floor of the gallery. 8 tracks are supported by 12 steel columns that reaches all the way up to the ceiling. Along the tracks are power generators, chains and sensors...... Automated mechanical software controls 20 pieces of 115cm by 57cm LED screens, which move along the tracks above the viewers’ heads. Four stereos are placed on four corners of the space to continually provide 4 channel sounds in synch with the mechanical movements to create a sense of movement and an invisible vastness of space.
Vortex uses the global search for filming locations at outdoor gold mine and modernized factory as the starting point. In the end, Zhang Ding uses gaming engine to create a virtual world——a 50 level metal vortex with the diameter of 1 kilometer and depth of 500 meters located on the 25000 square meters land with the geographical property of gobi desert. The 3D scanned model of the artist’s figure walks in the vortex for 8 hours a day to reach the centre of the vortex. In reality at the gallery space, the moving mechanical installation continues to form different appearances over the 8 hours. At certain moments, the viewer might mistaken the exhibition hall for a large empty industrial factory - with lines of white or orange fluorescent plates; or they may feel like they are at the site of an audio-visual art performance - with floating abstract geometric shapes, rich colourful lights, and the aesthetics of malfunction; as the 20 pieces of LED screens merge to form one 460cm by 287cm screen, the viewers can get a glimpse of the location and status of the artist’s figure from various randomly generated angles.