Living /Distance - Liu Xin (solo)
Date 2019.12.14-2020.02.01...closed
Opening 2019.12.12, 19:00, Thursday
Venue Make Room
(1035 N Broadway, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA)
Artist Liu Xin


Is breeding a physiological instinct for women? I put my life (time, effort, intelligence) into an inorganic, ruthless mechanical system, and then place my bone and blood (teeth) in the center. It is part of me, my avatar. We will never be alive in the same space, it will break into pieces before returning to Earth. It came to life in the absence of gravity, but I am standing here firmly. I speculate that "humanity" will not break through the interstellar space-time distance in the form of organism. If we acknowledge our limits as biological species, how can human beings face the others, who are created and feared by us?
— Xin Liu
LOS ANGELES, California—Make Room is pleased to present Living/Distance, the gallery’s first solo show of works by Liu Xin. This exhibition includes sculptures that integrate a wide range of materials and processes such as steel, brass, glass, gold foil, wood, clay, and 3D prints; a rocket payload containing her EBIFA robotic sculpture; a book installation; and a two-channel video to be projected, among other new works. Living/Distance opens on Saturday, December 14, 2019, from 5-8 pm and is on view through February 01, 2020.
Xin’s artistic practice is characterized by the use of advanced technology and the embedded storylines that try to find warmth and feelings in science. Disrupting the linear narratives, her oeuvre speaks to the very essence of the entanglement between humanity, space, temporality, and technology. In the exhibition, Xin extends even further beyond her previous territory in exploring a technological language in artmaking and storytelling.
Deriving its title from Xin’s Living Distance project, which was developed in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab, the exhibition anchors around her space-traveling EBIFA sculpture and expands to a broader spectrum of thoughts on dreams, fantasy, individuality, collectivity, and sensations that originated from the project. For Xin, Living Distance is both a mission and a fantasy realized, in which one of her wisdom teeth, carried by a crystalline robotic sculpture called EBIFA (Everything Beautiful is Far Away) was sent to sub-orbital space and came back. According to Xin, the sculpture activated during lift-off, continued its growth and occupation of space, and shattered into pieces during the return to Earth.
EBIFA's form and function draw from a particularly personal perspective on our technological space future, which for the artist centers on “visceral, active, empathic, and poetic engagement.” The wisdom tooth’s journey into space is like a newborn entering the world, but with a body of crystalline sculpture and electromechanical life support. Xin calls the sculpture an avatar of herself: EBIFA carried out not only an intriguing extraterrestrial journey as a surrogate, but also what Xin’s grandmother once asked of her: to toss the fallen teeth high. Accompanying the sculpture are two digital photography showing details of EBIFA and one two-channel video narrated by the artist about the adventure of her bio-avatar, the agravic moments, and alienated thoughts.
In the work titled A Book of Mine, Xin delves into the idea of individuality and the self at the microscopic scale. The 900-page Volume X presents her entire genome in base pairs and contains the bases of her X chromosome. Contrasting the tooth’s voyage outward, in A Book of Mine, the artist goes inside herself—a search through her DNA code for the unique and the absolutely ordinary. As ramifications of Xin’s thoughts on alienness, dreams, and selfness, other sculptures and installation in the exhibition visualize a distanced yet beautiful realm of imagination and weaves a space of curiosity for the audience, using a variety of materials and processes.
Xin Liu (b. 1991, Xinjiang/China) is an artist and engineer, whose works range from performances, apparatus, installations to scientific experiments and academic papers. In her practice, Xin creates experiences and artifacts to measure and modify the distance and tension between personal, social and technological spaces. They are moments of re-organization, creating ripples in the fabric of subjectivities, common experiences and beliefs.
Xin is currently the Arts Curator in Space Exploration Initiative in MIT Media Lab, a member of New INC in New Museum and a resident in Queens Museum Artist Studio program. She is a recipient of numerous awards and residencies, including the Van Lier Fellowship from Museum of Arts and Design, Huayu Youth Award Finalist, Queens Museum studio program and Pioneer Works Tech Residency. Her projects have received awards in SXSW, FastCoDesign, Core77 and her academic publications were nominated for best papers in ACM conferences. She has shown her work internationally at events and venues including Ars Electronica, Boston MFA, Sundance Film Festival, The Walker Art Center, OCAT Shanghai, ISEA and Music Tech Festival Berlin. As a researcher, Xin has worked in institutions including Microsoft Research NYC & Asia and Google ATAP.