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Morning Prayers II

Xiahan Dai

2021, Silver, Apple Watch Box, Resin, Flocking, 2700 x 10 x 10 mm, photo credit to Liu Qi

“Cellular device is not just a tool that connects us to the virtual society. It has become the place where our security settles and anxiety arises. When people are constantly bombarded by the iteration of new information; when we can’t justify real news and fake news; when there is no point for us to take a stance in politics, cyberspace, this boundaryless, “free speech” zone offers a platform for people to present individual beliefs without being coerced. This virtual space became something more than just an electronic tool, it carries our secret, our identity, our belief. The “internet” of AD 1019 was the church bells for communal services. This gives indication that religion and social network are always in a parallel situation. We check our phones/watches ritually when we wake up and before going to bed. Social media has become the “Contemporary Religion” that we all believe in.

My practice started with the study of how our body engage with cellular devices. By looking at the scans of my body using cellular devices, I associated it with the gesture of prayer. The common thing about social media and religion is that they are both not tangible and they both generate a sense of contentment when we become fully immersed. However, the nature of the two is very different. In religion, we revere God and obey the words of God. We cultivate ourselves according to the religious doctrine. Through religious practice we obtain an Apollonian kind of completeness. Social media offers a free space where we could confront our desires. We seek for likeness groups of people for sense of identity; we squander time and energy on the virtual space for relaxation; we “shout” out our ideas so our senses would become settled, relieved, satisfied. When we login to these social platforms we also login to a Dionysian like hilarity.”

Dai_Xiahan_Portrait-scaled

Xiahan Dai obtained her BLA (Bachelor of Landscape Architecture) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and MA (Jewellery and Metal) from the Royal College of Art. With backgrounds in both Landscape Architecture and Jewellery, Xiahan is keen in creating interactive body installations and spatial installations. Xiahan believes that jewelleries are like sculptures, and the human body is the landscape. Xiahan has been awarded a Distinction in her MA dissertation. Her graduate work Morning Prayers has won the Graham Hughes Award 2021 (awarded by the Royal College of Art), and the Marzee Graduate Prize 2021 (awarded by Galerie Marzee). Her academic research deals with philosophy, psychology and current social issues, which serves as foundation for her conceptual designs.

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