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Life Determines Consciousness: Kao Chung-Li

This exhibition focuses on the historical and productive relationships between humans and audiovisual technology. The title is a quotation from a well-known line from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’ insights into historical materialism. The exhibition presents artwork spanning 40 years in the life of Kao Chung-Li, including his critical explorations of industrial-era media such as photography, film, sculpture, animation and audiovisual devices, his practice in continuous reflection on his own productive conditions. The exhibition has been constructed from a wide variety of technologies and attempts to present a site of temporalized spatial perception and spatialized temporal perception.

It is precisely in the era of technological capitalism in which productivity and control develop simultaneously that Kao’s long and incisive exploration of the internal politics of the audiovisual industry—including the politics of emotion and the politics of aesthetics in the aggregation and establishment of optics and acoustics—becomes ever more significant. His self-invented, handmade audiovisual devices seek to restore a grasp of relationships between self and object and reignite connections between self and production to create personal history. As Marx and Engels write, “For people who develop their own material production and material interactions, their thinking and the products of their thinking will change along with this physical situation”; therefore, “[i]t is not consciousness that determines life, but life that determines consciousness”.

Exhibition period | Mar 25 to Jun 25, 2023

Venue | Exhibition Room 1A, Taipei Fine Arts Museum