Bixiao Zhang is a digital artist and Ph.D. candidate at RMIT University, her practice-led research, a fluid entity that she termed “The ElectroPoetics”, explores a cross-pollination of eco-poetic, post-humanist readings of Emily Dickinson and aspects of Buddhism, for guiding performative engagements with the emergent subjectivities of the digital environment. Bixiao mainly engaged in public art projects and residencies in the Asia Pacific, such as Hong Kong Cattle Depot Art Village (2017), JMMK #12 media festival Indonesia (2020), and Hua Niao Island International Art Festival, China (2021). These projects are interested in the influence of the digital environment’s emergent subjectivities on a specific physical site. Bixiao won the 2021 Dean’s Award for her Master of Fine Art project at RMIT University and holds a Bachelor of Media Arts at Flinders University. Her latest project in 2022 includes group exhibitions at Testing Grounds, Blindside Mobile and Footscray Community Art Centre (Australia).
E-motion Cloud: performing the emotional flux of social media
The ElectroPoetics explores and performs co-created being-hoods from the electronic world as a poetic world attending. Adapting Emily Dickinson’s bio-poetics, aspects of Buddhism, and material feminist methodologies, the ElectroPoetics’ being-hood shifts with each object’s subject without predetermined position, as ways to explore the complexity and variability of being-ness from the circuitous networks of electronic media. Such being-hoods resonate with Xennoverse's exploration of encountering alternate worlds and agents, fluid bodies, and the dissolving subject-object.
In this particular proposal, ElectroPoetics aims to perform the emotional flux of social media that traverse across media and user through interactive video installations. Situating the social media sentiment as a digital weather/atmosphere that affects users’ emotions as the users affect the emotional field simultaneously, and seeing such exchange of energy as intersubjective and trans-corporeal phenomena, the project not only explores how human emotions play into the flux of digital “weather” but also took particular interests in how the sentiments of social media bots, AI and algorithm partakes in such digital emotional energy field, as particular interests for the Xennoverse/Posthuman residency. Incorporating data collection algorithms, AI sentiment analysis, and real-time interactive design, this project also explores co-constitution across digital entities including data, AI, and users.
The project development of digital weather is inspired by Emily Dickinson’s telegraph-related poems such as “success in circuit lies”, which sees the electric media as both sets of literal and figurative circuits that connect other circuits of networks, a material-discursive environment that transduces cultural discourse through machines supported by electricity. Electronic media becomes a blending of cultural, technological, and natural dimensions, a world of overlapping worlds. Traversing such a circuitous electronic media environment, the ElectroPoetics’ digital weather performs the blending of culture, nature, and technology worlds in process of digital intra-action, situating a reverberating field of emotive energy and electronic signals. Through such Dickinsonian poetic blending, the project is simultaneously a generative fabulation regarding the transference of emotive energy amongst machines/humans. A co-constituted re/imagination of the more-than-human electronic worlds, towards a sympathetic and symbiotic electronic field rather than dystopian media.