The work “Spirit Ether” attempts to examine the social reality that people are dominated by capital logic under the contradictions of modernity. The work unfolds in a non-linear narrative structure, depicting the modern social form and spiritual civilization. It presents a panorama of capital logic, full of visual symbols and dazzling scenes.
Using visual representation as a means to achieve a comprehensive and in-depth attack and subversion of capital logic, the purpose of “Spirit Ether” is to use capital logic to criticize itself through the characteristics of image narration. It is my attempt to stimulate using the dominant visual signifiers of capital logic.
The mode of production of capital logic is expressed as "Consumerism"; its ruling form is expressed as "Society of the Spectacle"; and its propagation mechanism is expressed as "Pseudo environment". Under the interaction of the three, the popular urban culture has a rich life tension, it has a strong aggressiveness, forming a global cultural structure centered on the metropolis. The urban landscape is presented as the concreteness of architecture and the distortion of scale. The prosperity of mechanical reproduction makes the relationship between reality and imitation a complicated and irreconcilable issue. The world is no longer flat or three-dimensional, but multidimensional and dreamy, presenting endless symbolic meaning and expressing the dreamy vision of infinite time and space. Fetishism of the new era not only enhances people's life interests, but also suppresses people's real desire, which makes humans appear to be extremely isolated during this period of history.
After breaking away from the real world, what greets us is the collapse of the boundary between the simulation and the reality. It is difficult for people to make a clear distinction between the two. Capital logic is the material power and spiritual power that dominates all areas of modern life; the radiant light and the spirit ether that guides the human heart.
Xi Li: Still frame from Spirit Ether
Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland, Auckland, 2021