Oculus Rift, Conductive Controllers
Riffing on tropes of techno-Orientalism to create an updated, eroticized space of cultural fluidity, this piece takes its title from the ancient Chinese political text Peach Blossom Shangri-La. Sections of verse from Ezra Pound’s translation of Chinese classical poetry, Cathay, are appropriated/decolonized. Oliver Laric’s Yuanmingyuan 3D Scan plinths are themselves 3D printed, in miniature, to become the controllers that navigate the installation space. These plinths have an interesting backstory. Originally looted from the Yuan Ming Yuan gardens in China, they were donated to the Norwegian KODE Museum. Recently, a Chinese tycoon donated a large sum of money in exchange for the plinths to be “gifted” back to China, causing much controversy since under international law China technically owns the plinths. Laric’s making the plinth designs available for free download is thus a symbolic gesture of protest. Our reappropriation adds another layer to the cultural ownership discourse.