Paper-craft made with photo paper, lighting tripod, tracing paper, maker pen, acrylic tube, inkjet print, granite
The action of making stone piles can be found around the world. No one knows who started this practice or the reason. Perhaps it started from a primitive feeling shared by all humanity when interacting with nature, and slowly gained differentiated social implications – sometimes it is for marking, sometime it is simply a game, and at other times, it could be a form of making wishes. For me, however, it is about geometry.
During my residency in Korea, I saw a tourist advertisement in the metro, promoting tourism in Baekdamsa Valley. There was an ancient temple in Seoraksan National Park, and there were hundreds of stone piles, each taller than a person and stacked for making wishes, erected on the riverbed in front of the temple. I 3D-scanned these stone piles and unfolded the 3D models to create three unfolded Drafts, which corresponded to three angles. Then, I measured the 2D angles of the triangles that constituted the 3D models to obtain an average triangle, which was then overlapped with an equilateral triangle to compare the difference of their centroids. The difference was expressed in percentage to sum up how far from perfection a stone pile was. The entire process was also visualized by another work, Landscape of Sun and Mountain. As for the data and whether a wish could come true or not, I left them for the audience’s interpretation and free association.
The extensive process of measuring and calculating the stone piles became another ritual of mine even though the final numbers might seem irrelevant – as all things associated with luck are – to the stone piles. However, it is human instinct to long for natural signs, which might allow us to glimpse into the future through any potential interaction. The mysterious, majestic nature and the exact, understated mathematics might be believable or not, but humanity would always find its own obsession.
After finishing the residence program, I searched in Taiwan for stones similar to those used for the stones piles in Baekdamsa Valley, and found the common granite tiles. I broke these tiles and polished the fragments into the approximate shape of a triangle, turning them into randomly created sculptural objects that became paper-weight in the form of tiny mountains on Drafts. Another set of images, entitled Pattern, was made of layered and adjusted images photographed in Baekdamsa Valley. The work became a compressed and abstracted field records, just like those travel experiences that seemed less and less clear every time they were recounted.
In another exhibition featuring this project (Ho-Yo Space, 2017), I asked myself how to restage these works that had site-specific qualities in Taiwan. Based on the idea of “(un)fold,” I reimagined the installation of this project. The paper stones stacked as a stone pile shown in Korea were displayed separately, suggesting the incompleteness after being taken away from their place of origin. Drafts, which had been shown unfolded, were rolled up and positioned in the three angles of the triangle so that the complicated numbers could be shown as structures that could be physically perceived. Pattern, hung in a partially unrolled state, was juxtaposed with Landscape of Sun and Mountain, the only fully unfolded image in the exhibition.
Stone-pile No.11 (Rendeing View)
Inkjet print, lighting tripod
Photo 21×40 cm, papercraft appox 200 × 90 × 90 cm
Conversation about Baekdamsa Valley