SummaryWhat is the real connection? What are we looking at when we are looking at a screen? Is it a mirror image of us? Is it alienating us from ourselves? How is it reshaping us in an imperceptible way? “Gānbēi” (work-in-progress) is about connection and disconnection, in this fragile moment of the world. “It’s all in the wine”, a Chinese slang, meaning that with the help of alcohol, everything indescribable can be expressed and understood. In the pandemic era we are all experiencing, individuals are forced to cut connections with society at different levels. An individual, in front of a lit screen, cheers with people on the screen. This performance is performed by a human and an intelligent robot produced by DJI.
Alcohol is seen as a common language. Gānbēi (cheers in Chinese), achieved by the media of alcohol, is a symbol that represents connection among human beings. Online drinking scenes across the globe create a unique theatrical moment, enabling digital and physical bodies to co-exist in the same time and space. An individual, in front of a lit screen, cheers with people on the screen.
This reminds us of another scene described by Li Bai, a Chinese poet from Tang Dynasty: “Then the moon sheds her rays on my goblet and me, and my shadow betrays we’re a party of three.”
In nature, Li Bai, all alone by himself, can only cheer with the moon, an out-of-reach existence and shadow, a close-by emptiness. The poet’s connection to the moon and shadow is echoing with our current connection with screens, and the digital world behind the screen. We all achieve an unusual connection under the circumstances of disconnection.
“Men in our time do not see the ancient moon, but this moon did shine on men of yore.”
The moon inspires Li Bai’s poems, also human beings’ curiosity towards the unknown. Apollo 11 landed on the lunar surface in 1969, and the first drink human beings swallowed on the moon is wine. It was an astronaut carrying out a single man’s communion service before stepping out onto the moon.
The performance is performed by a human and an intelligent robot produced by DJI.