Can you tell us more about Fading Space of Dawn, your artistic collaboration with La Prairie?
Carla Chan (CC): It’s actually the second time we’re working together. Fading Space of Dawn is a continuation of our last collaboration. It’s about capturing the fading of time and the motion of fading. For me it relates to how we see the world and the nature around us; and more recently, how we’re physically fading into a virtual [reality]. So I would say, the exhibition deals with this fading or disappearing notion.
I have been doing three major works for the whole project. One is a video installation that is synchronised to Augmented Reality (AR). And at last, we are launching an NFT together at a show in Frieze, a work that is connected to data on the internet. The artwork is driven by the internet instead of the artist. So I tried to create artwork that will live longer than the artist.
What was the main inspiration behind this artwork? How different was your thought process behind this as compared to the creation of Space Between the Light Glows?
CC: I would say that the main inspiration was the time when I was in the residency, that’s when you can immerse yourself in nature and think about your surrounding environment and what it means to you. For me, the inspiration was just understanding the transition or time or status. And the major difference from the last work although this is a continuation of the story, this time I would say it’s more about what’s happening with time, darkness and what comes with darkness. It’s even more exciting for me because a lot of my work is always about darkness and what is unseen. And with this continuity, the big difference is how I convey the idea in a medium.
It’s also my first time creating a digital sculpture ... although I don’t have a background in sculpture making, I actually tried it for the first time and this will show in Art Basel too.
How is this artwork different from anything else you’ve worked on before?
CC: Everything is so different from what I’m used to. I didn’t want to do anything too similar to my previous work. And so I put a lot of pressure and challenges on myself to give a surprise to all. And also when we decided to work on this together, it was during Covid so we didn’t think we’d have a show together until recently. That’s why I decided to do something more virtual in case physical exhibitions couldn’t be held. Throughout my whole career, I never thought I’d do something so virtual that the physical work wasn’t as important. Because a lot of my artwork is about physicality. I think on that part I also pushed myself to do an immersive AR effect so that everyone can feel the event even if you’re not there. And that’s something I had never done before.
La Prairie’s Pure Gold Collection includes refillable vessels, a notable mark in its move towards sustainable practices. What are your thoughts on sustainability? Do you think it’s possible to practise sustainability when creating art?
CC: I think it’s something I fully support. It’s hard to practise sustainability and as we know humans are the biggest pollutants. I feel that if people are trying, they should be given credit. I would say that through everyday purchases, we should try. I would say that art is the most not sustainable [act], honestly. If I cast five resins, and one isn’t working. I won’t save it, because I want perfection. However, I believe art can also have the power for people to receive a message that’s rooted in their minds, which is more than just wasting materials.
NFTs have taken the world by storm. Can you tell our readers more about your NFT work, Space Beyond? Is the launch of this NFT also your first?
CC: For me, I first knew about NFTs a few years ago and it’s exciting because blockchain technology is such a powerful thing that we finally can [have] autonomous practices. [But because of its] hype, I also had my doubts as I don’t want to do artwork that’s part of a [trend] wave. I want to do something relevant. So [I waited] until I found an idea that made sense for NFTs.
Most NFTs I’ve found—they may be beautiful and all—but they’re not too much connected to the spirit of blockchain. So how I used this spirit is in the longevity of data. That’s why I kind of gave up control to create the artwork, it’s completely dependent on the weather data and population data.
I think this is something I’m very excited about as I want to create something that looks different every time. So if you create this moment now, it won’t repeat in the future as the weather changes all the time. And I also would look forward to what kind of weather we’ll see in 10 years. Maybe we won’t even see snow again. These uncertainties make the artwork relevant and connected to the blockchain.
There are 366 editions of this NFT. Tell us more about the decision behind this?
CC: It relates to date and time, plus one edition for the leap year, to represent each day of the year. It’s all about understanding time, humans, data visualisation and art. It’s a lot of cross-disciplinary understanding to create this collection.
Tell us more about the inspiration behind this NFT.
CC: The most important reason why I decided why I wanted to do NFTs is that we’re giving part of the proceeds to ETH Zurich’s Department of Glaciology. I may not be the most environmentally friendly person but we’re trying to do something meaningful as well through this artwork. It is about bringing people together and helping preserve something which is disappearing, in this case, the glaciers.
Finally, what are your thoughts on the future of NFTs?
CC: I definitely think it’s something that’s good for art. Because it’s open up autonomousness for artists. You suddenly don’t have a platform to depend on for a network. Like a museum or gallery. If you’re favoured by lots of people on the Internet, you basically can survive as an artist. And this was never the case for the traditional art world because you always need to connect with collectors, galleries and all. It has opened a revolutionary atmosphere for artists. And now of course because of the hype, there’s too much to see [and it is tough to filter everything]. But it’s not always about making a profit—it’s about using the platform as a way to control how you want things to be received.
I think art is something where you have so much space to play with. And that’s exciting, which is why I also want to do art and be an artist. I’m living in an exciting world where we’re doing things that are different and were never done before. So I’m feeling super positive about NFTs.
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