August 6, 2023
June 23, 2023
Phạm Hà Ninh
𝐄𝐍𝐓𝐑𝐔𝐒𝐓𝐄𝐃 𝐂𝐎𝐍𝐉𝐄𝐂𝐓𝐔𝐑𝐄𝐒 - an open studio by visual artist Hà Ninh Pham
Presenting a new series of ‘sculptures - measuring instruments’ as a part of his on-going project titled ‘My Land’
Opening party: 06.00 PM Friday night, 23 June 2023
On display: 11.00 AM - 07.00 PM from 26 June until 06 August, 2023 (Tue - Sun)
How much of our perception of the world is shaped by the way we measure it?
Measurement refers to various systems of apparatus, units and rules based on which the uncertainty of value is reduced and can be expressed in a quantity. The standardization in measurement establishes a mutual understanding of quantities, and provides the basic reference for many disciplines. Measurement, thus, is a cornerstone of science, a fundamental step in framing and constructing the world.
In ‘Entrusted Conjectures’, we are introduced to a series of handmade instruments of measurement. This is part of ‘My Land’, the multi-year, multi-disciplinary world-building project that Hà Ninh has been working on since 2017. “This territory does not correspond to any known culture in human history. It has its own systems of logic, language, and metrology that are functional only within themselves”(from Hà Ninh’s artist’s statement for ‘My Land’). Based on various materials, the construction of ‘My Land’ expands through two-dimensional drawings, three-dimensional sculptures, story writing and a virtual game. Correspondingly, there are four different “entrances”- four starting points to experience the territory. ‘Entrusted Conjectures’, featuring some realizations of the fictional metrology system provides one of the entry points.
Designed and created with a DIY aesthetic, most of the sculptures are crafted from wood, with some few elements completed with tracing paper and 3D printed plastic. Measuring instruments are presented along with the ‘display plates’ recording the data and measuring results, as well as other artifacts which have been interpreted, visualized from the outputs of measurements. The whole body of works proclaims its presence right in the center of the exhibition space and defends its autonomy with a kind of fortification: a dry moat has been dug, precisely surrounding the display area. Outside the moat, on the walls is another type of boundary, a line of sketches positioned at eye level, a vague resemblance to a horizon.
‘Entrusted Conjectures’ suggests reflections on the boundary, on the problem of trust and on the possibilities of a proof and an assumption. By juxtaposing the physicality and materiality implied in sculptures with the functionality of the instruments relied on fictional ideas and principles, an intriguing investigation begins, testing the unreality of the reality / the non-real nature of the word thought to be quantifiable and perceivable.
There will come a time when every measurement would be an act of re-measuring; as there always comes a time when people can no longer believe in the results of previous measurements. A continuous process of forming a hypothesis then proving and disproving - that’s how science is built. ‘Entrusted Conjectures’, in this version presented at manzi, is just the first step. Surely we can expect more surprises to come in the future. How far can the artist go in this journey of organizing, interpreting our world and architecting his world? A thoroughly independent scientific and technical system - an alternative definition of reality can be achieved someday, maybe?
*The open studio is organized by Manzi Art Space & A+ WORKS of ART
Measuring the world - random notes >>> read here
“My work explores how we construct an understanding of a territory from afar through reported materials. Since 2017, I have been working on a long-term project titled ‘My Land’, in which I design a world that does not correspond to any known culture in human history. This project consists of paintings, sculptures, drawing scrolls and video games that represent maps, artifacts, steles and stories of an imagined territory. The territory has its own systems of logic, language, and cosmology that only refer to themselves but are fully functional. I want to see how far I can go in persuading that the territory does exist. I also consider the project as a thought experiment of a phenomenal environment in which the personal experience of any viewer is stripped away. They must completely abandon their invalid cultural legacy in order to navigate this world.
The project consists of four Series. They are developed based on different frameworks that correspond to different modes of exploring an unknown land. Series 1 is the spatial mapping of the land. Series 2 is the physical properties of the land and their relationships with the properties of our world. Series 3 is the history of the land written in a language that slips between drawing and writing. Series 4 surrounds a real limited company, My Land ltd., that sells merchandise of the land to the public audience.
‘Entrusted Conjectures’ features the recent development of Series 2 [Logs] of my world-building project My Land. After maps (Series 1) and language (Series 3), I want to make up some science for my world. There will be 15 sculptures. They function as measurement or rendering tools that, I hope, translate the paradoxical space in my drawings into 3D. They go with 40 technical drawings that explain how they work.
I also show MY CONVERSATION with some AI engines about my work in the open studio
- Hà Ninh Pham