RuShi (2018)

John Wong (Hong Kong)

Big Data is the new superstition now!

如是 (RuShi) means “as is”. Nothing more or less, but the true colors. It’s a piece of contemplative immersive installation art, where in using the ancient Chinese metaphysic algorithm, “八字” (BaZi). Yet take out all the extra cultural signs & materialistic interpretations, remain only the “Basic”, i.e. the 5 elements (gold/ wood/ water/ fire/ earth). Participants type in their date & time of birth, the fortune-telling algorithm turns out showing only the unique ones’ flow of colors. We can see no prediction of life from this machine, but only time & changes.

 “What do you want to know?”, both data scientist or fortune-teller have the ability to turn the world of uncertainty into quantified numerical existence, then giving us an answer with future prediction. Big data seems inevitably becoming our new religion. If so, what is information? And what are the emotions? Interesting though, we want to be in control, but from BaZi to predictive analytics, we allow ourselves to believe in something that we don’t understand how it works. And so, you would say it is knowledge or superstition? “What do you want to be?”, intelligent algorithm or you can answer this question better? I am part of the data therefore I am? Where exactly humanity will go?