“RUINS” (2024) is an invited collaborative project I participated in organized by London based artist Katrina Stamatopoulos and darkroom technician Carl Randall in the past few months. The raw materials that have been given are the destroyed abandoned negatives which have been soaped in leftover developer chemicals, sinking coffee, robbing tobacco and dust for long. After they been rewashed and dried, these negatives were distributed to various printers and artists who adopt analog photography process to freely interpret. The original project concept was a sporn out of a full-time film developer in a commercial c41 lab react to his workspace and destroying unused negatives besides the official darkroom process which demands precise and rigid control of darkroom printing.

As a result, I created a photobook mix-media installation including a foldable revolving photobook with a twisted metal mesh net and a standing sculpture. By specifically printing on the zoom-out details of the RUINs negatives and join them together, the revolving photobook shows different shape every time when it is opened. Also, it is an interactive piece with viewers and adjusts to the presentation environment. Chance is part of the creation element.

My artwork has two layers of interpretation for RUINs:
1) Cause of RUINs and the associations: The details and high contract printed photos (gelatin silver prints) show the chaos and uncertainty caused by natural or human-caused RUINs. Metal net as a fence symbolizes separation, restriction, and control which prevents and kills the noise that been caused. Opening the photobook in the shape of a bird symbolized freedom and the concept of hope.

Two out of the 16 photos in the book are printed from the same negatives in slightly different compositions. This symbolizes that history is generally repeated in a very similar way and historical experiments could made us think and learn from it.

a. Natural & Human-Caused Ruins: These stem from diverse sources like earthquakes, floods, and conflicts, highlighting the intertwining of environmental and social factors in shaping destruction.
b. Nature-Conflict Intersection: Areas hit by disasters and conflicts suffer impacts on cultural heritage, urging comprehensive conservation efforts.

c. Causes & Consequences Reflection: By juxtaposing ruins from natural and human causes, viewers ponder varied origins and outcomes, prompting contemplation on human influence.

d. Reconciliation with Nature: Highlighting humanity's link to the environment, the project advocates sustainable practices, stressing harmonizing human activities with ecosystems.
e. Peaceful Coexistence Call: Advocating reconciliation and dialogue, the project emphasizes empathy and resolution to prevent further devastation.

2) Overprotect also RUINs: Darkroom printing process generally has a strict structure and operation rules, analog printers are been trained to be very control and careful on all materials. While overprotect to reach the almost perfect condition could be a RUIN as well which lose the beauty of in-perfections during the handmade process. This could also associate with the growing process, if the parents and teachers are overprotecting the children, the children would actually grow slower as a type of RUIN because it reduces the opportunity for the children to learn by themselves.

The standing sculpture is constructed by a burned negative, a cracked glass, cropped and braided photo strip and burned tree brush. The order on how these items been place represents the mechanism of the darkroom printing machine (Enlarger) when printers use it to print photos. Negative been putting on top of the glass, with a piece of glass on the bottom, photos been printed out. Hidden in the left bottom part of the cracked glass, there is a rainbow color of rocket shape reflection created to symbolized the fires that create the RUINs.

Majority of the harms and suffers caused in RUINs are unreversible, while some of cause might be preventable. Wish for peace and look forward with hopes.

《廢墟》(2024年)是我過去幾個月受邀參與的一個合作項目,由倫敦藝術家Katrina Stamatopoulos和暗房技術員Carl Randall組織。給定的原材料是被毀壞的廢棄底片,它們曾經被浸泡在剩餘的顯影劑化學品,咖啡,煙草和灰塵中很長一段時間。將它們被重新清洗和乾燥後,這些底片被分發給各位暗房放曬師和藝術家進行自由創作。最初的項目概念是由一位商業C41實驗室的全職膠片暗房放曬師對他的工作空間進行一個創作反饋,並在官方暗房過程之外摧毀不被需要的底片。

c) 原因與後果的反思:通過將自然和人為原因的廢墟並置,觀眾思考不同的起源和結果,促使對人類影響的思考。
d) 與自然和解:突顯人類與環境的聯繫,該項目倡導可持續實踐,強調人類活動與生態系統的和諧。
e) 和平共處的呼籲:倡導和解與對話,強調共情和解決,以防止進一步的破壞。

2)過度保護也會導致廢墟/ 損害:暗房印刷過程通常具有嚴格的結構和操作規則,模擬打印機經過訓練,對所有材料都非常控制和小心。然而,過度保護以達到幾乎完美的狀態也可能會導致廢墟/ 損害,因為它會在手工過程中失去完美的不完美之美。這也可能與成長過程有關,如果父母和老師過度保護孩子,孩子實際上成長得更慢,因為它減少了孩子自己學習的機會。