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Ling U

Ling U

Ling U

Ling U

Ling U

We Live in Frames: Invisible Disciplines (Virtual Version)

MACAH VIS511 Curatorial Project Exhibition curated by Ms Hu Ruqi


We Live in Frames: Invisible Disciplines

Artists: Xu Fangwei, Lusan, Stinzz
Curator: Hu Ruqi

Curatorial Statement

Invisible Disciplines showcases the work of three emerging artists: Lusan, Stinzz, and Fangwei Xu. The artists use photography as a medium of artistic intervention to critique and reflect on contemporary social issues and phenomena.

Since the invention of photography, almost everything has been captured on camera. As a way of seeing, the medium trains the audience in new visual practices and awards them the right to choose what they want to see. Susan Sontag asserts that the invention of photography broke through Plato’s theory of the “cave”, as people’s awareness and understanding of the world were no longer restricted by geography and time. This all-absorbing photographic vision transformed the relationships between human beings and the environment. Thus, the photographer acts as a middleman, filtering or sublimating certain content. Focusing on photography, the exhibition will explore the mental state of contemporary humanity. The artists in this project have all studied in various countries, including China, Japan, and the United States. Their travels through different regions led them to encounter and interact with many different cultures. As a result, they perceive themselves as observers of the world, and utilise their photographic techniques accordingly to capture changes in the spatial discipline in their social environment.

The participating artists also respond to the new definition of discipline and the state of exception in contemporary society. According to Michel Foucault, the power of discipline is so well established that it has infiltrated every corner of society, including schools, hospitals, and factories. This monitoring system reveals the discipline of contemporary social space that pervades people’s lives. As George Orwell warns in Nineteen Eighty-Four, Big Brother is watching you. Lusan demonstrates the persecution and impact of a tragic history on people and the environment in which they live by recording the remains of Auschwitz and the current state of Fukushima following nuclear radiation. Stinzz uses photography to reenact the early 20th-century mental hospitals in the US, behind which lies an untold history of the violent treatment inflicted on psychiatric patients. Seeing the sun as a metaphor for ideology, Xu Fangwei employs various mediums (including painting, photography, alternative processes, calligraphy, physics, and radio telescopes) to illustrate the convergence of contemporary spiritual constraints.

Although Foucault’s notion of spatial regulation was developed in the social context of the 1960s and 1970s, the strategies and mechanisms of spatial regulation are equally applicable in the context of modern media. Indeed, this context presents new avenues of production such as television, news, radio, corporations, and social media, where the dissemination of visual material affects human beings daily. Furthermore, as Herbert Marcuse argues, individuality is suppressed by the socially necessary but inescapably tiresome process of mechanised labour. Rights and freedoms lose their status through institutionalization and become complicit with society in the quest for greater productivity and better material conditions. From Auschwitz to the asylum, a viewer of these photographic works can perceive a new social space of discipline. Moreover, they gain insight into how these invisible disciplines shape us, and how the cities we live in are subject to the constraints of capitalist power and the influence of consumer society. The various photographic practices and artistic presentations illustrate a consistent theme: we all live in frames, surrounded by invisible rules.


Born in 1995 in Shenyang, Lusan transferred to School of Visual Arts from the Environmental Design program at Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts in China in 2016. He is currently studying at the Yoshihiko Ueda Research Laboratory at Tama Art University in Japan. Works in various photographic forms to create multicultural images of the impact of the environment on people.


He was born in Shanxi in 1995 and graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 2019. He is currently enrolled at Tokyo University of the Arts’ Global Art Practice MFA program. To expand the possibilities of photography and investigate the abyss and darkness of the psyche and mankind itself, he uses a variety of crafts such as goldsmithing, woodworking, and glassmaking. As a child, he read a lot of science fiction and mystery literature, especially those concerning mythology and foreign ethnic cultures. This reading experience has constantly reminded him that, while technological prowess may be enough to pull humans out of gravity, our thinking may not. The mind, unlike the body, does not require “spacesuits.” He wants to know more about himself, his instincts, and where the reason comes from, as well as feel his awareness. This is a powerful temptation, and it's also the theme and goal of his current photographic project.

Xu Fangwei

Xu Fangwei is an artist and curator based in New York, Boston, and Beijing. Xu received a Master of Fine Arts in Photography and Integrated Media from the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University and a Bachelor's in Fine Arts in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York. Xu's work incorporates his cultural background into his experiments in photography and other forms of art, including performance, painting, illustration, graphic design, installation, sound art, and digital film. He also explores the ideology as the theme and its relationship to social context, gaze, and subconsciousness, represented by various media. Xu's territory is mainly focusing on curatorial study and art theory.