Emily Yuting Chen | Maps to the Sky II

7 – 29 February 2020

Single channel video | colour | stereo sound | duration 6’ 18”


Emily Yuting Chen aims to capture the ephemerality of our existence through the mechanism of technologies and their interpretations of reality, time and space. By adopting a variety of both analogue and digital technologies that generate light for the production of her imagery, tangible and intangible entities reference their own presence and reproductionor their failure to register as present. The work intends to challenge the viewer’s understanding of perception and information processing through witnessing ‘nature’ within technological devices. In Maps to the Sky II (2020) the persistent noises generated by an unseen mechanism responsible for subtle shifts of light across the image remind us that in an age of machine learning, human communications have become more obscured, peripheral and increasingly reliant on technology.

Using readily available material found in a Footscray gift shop, the work draws upon her own childhood memories of ritualistic experience in Taiwan. This experience for her represented a particular approach to communication beyond language. She recalls the incense used for sending messages to the gods and ancestors at her grandmother’s house,


”we prepared plates of food, burned incense and papers representing money to offer our ancestors or gods and waited until the incense burned half way through, to wait for our ancestors to finish the meal and then we’d have the meal together. It was a big part of my childhood, holding the incense and making wishes to the ancestors/gods and watching the incense that represented the thoughts slowly burn into ashes. My grandma told me at the time that the smoke that came out from the burning incense represents our wishes and that’s how we communicate with the spirits.”



Born in Taiwan, Emily Yuting Chen graduated with Honours in Fine Art at Monash University (MADA) in 2016. She lives and works in Melbourne.


Recent solo exhibitions include Maps to the Sky, West Projections Festival, Melbourne (2018) Force Exposure Alternating Current Art Space, Melbourne (2018) Light Emerges Taichung Light Festival commission, Taichung, Taiwan (2017) And the Shadow Splits into Two Trocadero ARI, Melbourne (2017) The Light Pours out of Me, Blindside ARI (2016).


Recent group exhibitions, screenings and performances include Three Cathedral Cabinet, Melbourne (2020) Jing Hua Shui Yue Cactus Room, Melbourne (2018) Unrepresented Artists Hayden’s Gallery, Melbourne (2018) Play2 Burning Light Blindside ARI presented in partnership with Federation Square as part of Fed TV, Melbourne (2016) The Melbourne Central Art Loop presented by [MARS] Gallery, Melbourne (2016) Bivouac 4 Neon Parlour, Melbourne (2015) NEWER 15 Trocadero Art Space, Melbourne (2015)
She was the recipient of Blindside ARI’s Summer Studio residency in 2016.

Curated by Kieran Boland.

Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.
Subscribe to MARS for updates