The Lighting Trailer

The Lighting Three-channel video installation, 21 min on loop, 5.1 sound, LED lighting system, 2021 Germany / Taiwan / Togo Cantonese, Mandarin, French Commissioned by Han Nefkens Foundation Director | Musquiqui Chihying Producer | Gregor Kasper Executive Director | Patrice…

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The Lighting
Three-channel video installation, 21 min on loop, 5.1 sound, LED lighting system, 2021
Germany / Taiwan / Togo
Cantonese, Mandarin, French

Commissioned by Han Nefkens Foundation

Director | Musquiqui Chihying
Producer | Gregor Kasper
Executive Director | Patrice Ayele-Yawou
Director Assistant | Clémentine Kilikiba, Smith Kalao
Director of Photography | Lucas Bueno Maia, Olivier Yamajago
Camera Assistant | Andres Villarreal
Gaffer | Rodrigo Levy Piza Fontes
Production Manager | Freedo Apedjago
Recording | Ixmucané Aguilar
Director of Sound | Sum Sum Shen
Mixing Engineer | Ilya Selikhov
3D Animator | Mooni Perry
Art Director | Ling Yu He
Technical Support | Guan Da Photoelectron Technology Co.
Programmer | Hong Bin Liang
Interviewee | Felix Agboka, Laïson Hilda Akoko, Apélété Kuami, Cédric Newland, Florence Umamariya, Shu Fan Wang
Translation | Rosanna Lovell, I Hsin Cheng
Performer | Kin Man Cheong, Chih Hao Chou, Ho Hsuan Feng, Shinyi Lin, Han Tang, Yugen Yah, Hanwen Zhang, Xiaopeng Zhou
Research | RLIS Research Lab of Image and Sound, Heichi magazine,
Digiarts (National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts), neo-Portal (Media Lab of Times Museum)
Presented by xīzhuāng culture & media

Extremely appreciate the support from

Zian Chen, Yixin Deng, Shih Yu Hsu, Chien Hung Huang, Hsiang Ning Huang,
Mohamed Kotb, Yen Yi Lee, Yu Chieh Li, Mo Lou, Dominik Lübben, Po Wei Wang,
Chi Yu Wu, Chia Hsuan Wu, Jian Ru Wu

Han Nefkens Foundation
LOOP Barcelona
Fundació Joan Miró
MOCA Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei
Art Sonje Center
WIELS Contemporary Arts Centre
Inside Out Art Museum
Ilham Gallery
ZK/U Center for Art and Urbanistics

Light is the spectre that hovers around photographic technologies. From analog to digital and from light-sensitive coating to computer algorithms, light always occupies an irreplaceable place in competing image-making technologies. Throughout the process of negotiating with light, however, it cannot be disputed that white supremacy in this competition has “unconsciously” and “imperceptibly” shaped human prejudices. Jean-Luc Godard was one of the first white persons to (self-)reflect this crisis in the discourses of the former West: when he was invited to Mozambique assisting the country’s development of image in 1977-78, he realised that Kodak films that were mainstream of the time could not be accurately exposed for portraits featuring subjects of dark skin tones. We cannot simply attribute this technical failure to inadequate equipment for the reason that even the most advanced algorithms used today still show a rather high error rate when determining certain group of people and their skin tones.

The Lighting aims to revisit and clarify the issue of discrimination rooted in technological development and image production through an interdisciplinary exploration. The work comprises three narratives—three professional Togolese photographers explore how to use instruments to compensate for insufficient exposure for dark skin tones; a leading software engineer developing facial recognition algorithms at Taiwan’s MediaTek talks about how they have created a camera algorithm that is highly popular on the African continent; moreover, the artist uses Kodak’s Ektachrome, a popular film in the 70s, to produce a kung fu film in the style of exploitation film, using images of the famous Black martial art film star, Jim Kelly, in Bruce Lee’s movies in the 70s. The work is also interlaced with an animated Bruce Lee as the narrator trained by facial motion capture and a speech recognition algorithm.

光是縈繞攝影技術的幽靈。自類比過渡到數位,從感光塗料變遷至演算法,光總是能夠在捕捉影像的技術競賽裡找到一個難以替代的位子。然而在與光協調的過程之中,很顯然的,人類的偏見也在不自覺的情況下悄悄地潛入這場賽局。電影導演高達是最早注意到這個危機的人之一,當他在70年代來到非洲的莫三比克協助該國推展影像發展時,才意識到主流所使用的柯達膠卷無法對深膚色的人像準確曝光。我們很難將這個技術性失效單純歸咎於設備的不完善,理由是即便運用今日最先進的演算法,在測定某些人種與膚色時,仍顯示出極高的出錯率。

實驗錄像作品《打光》嘗試透過跨學科的提問重新釐清隱藏在技術發展中的歧視性問題。作品由三條主要敘事構成,包括與多哥的專業攝影師探討如何透過打光來彌補器材對深膚色曝光的不足,以及與臺灣聯發科技專門開發臉部辨識演算法的工程師詢問他們是怎麼打造在非洲極受歡迎的相機演算法。此外,藝術家更嘗試使用70年代主流的柯達埃克塔克羅姆膠卷,以當時著名的黑人工夫明星吉姆·凱利在李小龍電影中的形象製作一部帶有剝削電影風格的工夫片。作品中也穿插了利用臉部動態捕捉與語音辨識演算法所訓練出的李小龍動畫作為影片的講述者。

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