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Sculpture (MA)

Xuke Lin

My work is mainly influenced by Existentialism and Taoism, and this piece is inspired by the concept of passive consciousness, which originates from the hypothesis of "what consciousness is" [1]. This hypothesis denies the real existence of a free will and questions the existence of the "ego". The idea is that you think you are acting according to your own consciousness, but this consciousness may not actually exist, and it is the human subconscious that may be controlling free will. This idea is also reflected in traditional Chinese religion and philosophy. For example, in Han Buddhism, there has always been the concept of "no-self" and "non-self", while in Taoism, it is "wu wei". Taoists believe that people should not deliberately do anything because there is no deliberate action. Everything has been decided by the "Tao", so one should conform to “nature".

At the same time, for me, besides scientific research, I think the relationship between free will and the subconscious is similar to the yin and yang in Taoism. In the "Tao Te Ching Chapter 42," it states: "Tao begat one; One begat two; Two begat three; Three begat all things. All things carry yin on their backs and embrace yang in their arms; the blending of the two results in harmony." Therefore, free will is like yang, and the subconscious is like yin. Yin and yang generate and overcome each other, complement each other, and achieve balance to become all things, as well as the "human being”.

I believe that in today's world, the definition of existence should be diverse and open-minded. This work re-examines the relationship between existence and consciousness from the perspective of Chinese philosophy, exploring the connection and laws between humans and all things in nature. By using natural and artificial materials to establish a dialogue between man-made objects and the natural world, it encourages viewers to reflect on whether human over-intervention in the environment is breaking the yin-yang balance of the earth and to consider returning to nature/Tao to reflect on the essence of existence. This work implies that for humans, perhaps the spiritual world of memory and emotion is the true meaning of self. 

[1] Some related experiments and papers can help the audience understand the hypothesis of passive consciousness, such as the "color vision error experiment" conducted by Professor Shin'ichi Nakajima of Cognitive Psychology at the California Institute of Technology in 1999, as well as the experiment conducted by Benjamin Libet, a pioneer in the field of human wisdom research on free will, at the University of California, San Francisco in 1983. There is also a paper published in Nature in 2008 entitled "Unconscious determinants of free decisions in the human brain" and Michael Gazzaniga's split-brain experiment.

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Xuke Lin, a contemporary sculpture artist whose work encompasses installation art, sculpture, and interdisciplinary pieces. She navigates the philosophical crossroads of existentialism and Taoism, artfully integrating Chinese traditional philosophy and culture with contemporary art. Having graduated from Central Saint Martins and now pursuing her MA in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art, Lin's body of work explores the complex interplay between the self and the universe, existence and consciousness, as well as the relationship with the natural world.

Her creations speak to the dialogue between man-made and natural elements, highlighting the intricate interconnectedness of humanity and nature. Through her reinterpretation of the relationship between existence and consciousness from a Chinese philosophical perspective, Lin prompts a reassessment of conventional definitions of existence, advocating for a more multifaceted, unrestricted understanding.

Enamel works
The details of the work are made of acrylic panels, ceramics, sand and enamel.
The details of the work are made of acrylic panels, ceramics, sand and enamel.
The details of the work are made of acrylic panels, ceramics, sand and enamel.
The details of the work are made of acrylic panels, ceramics, sand and enamel.
The details of the work are made of acrylic panels, ceramics, sand and enamel.
Sound 1Made by bowls, Chinese wind chimes, pipa


bowls, Chinese wind chimes, pipa