Xi Li李曦, ↪︎I↩︎ (Within Web of Mask), 2023

Xi Li李曦
↪︎I↩︎ (Within Web of Mask), 2023
360° Video/ 4K DCI/ 4096×2048/ 6’40”

︎I︎ (Within Web of Mask) employs first-person 360-degree panoramic videos as a medium and method of practice, proposing that the “self” is a fictitious concept and exploring how it profoundly influences our illusions and ideologies. By presenting three VR scenes constructed based on the web, characters, symbols, and digital sculptures, the artwork delves into the intersections of self-fictionality, trauma in identity perception, and phenomenology in digital narrative. These scenes incorporate the artist’s own body digital scans, virtual self-portraits, and colossal avatar, reflecting the digitization and concept of a fictitious self. Simultaneously, it articulates the complexity of the unconscious realm’s self-structure and the fractures in perception, aiming to constitute possibilities for critique in simulation and identity. 

By combining digital virtuality with self-fictionality, the artwork asserts that the “I” itself is not an unquestionable tangible experience, closely linked to the misrecognition of the ideal-I. Simultaneously, through a reflection on the inability to identify the “self” in language, it emphasizes the illusion of the autonomous self, revealing the inseparability of the self and the big Other. ︎I︎ (Within Web of Mask) unfolds as a process based on experience, exploration, and discovery, intending to create an imaginative experimental field that challenges the potentiality of individual cognition at the interweaving boundaries of the virtual and the real.

This work was commissioned by Aotearoa Digital Arts Network supported by Creative New Zealand.

Xi Li李曦, ↪︎I↩︎ (Within Web of Mask), 2023
Xi Li李曦, ↪︎I↩︎ (Within Web of Mask), 2023

Xi Li 李曦 is an interdisciplinary artist from Harbin, China, based in Tāmaki Makaurau. In 2019, she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photo Media from Whitecliffe College of Arts & Design. In 2021, she received a Master of Fine Arts (with first-class honors) from Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland.

Xi Li’s creative practice spans across various fields, including films, animations, sculptures, 3D printing, games, virtual reality, installations, performances, and diagrams. She explores the complexities of subjective and collective experiences, as well as the aspects constituted by fantasies and desires. Xi Li is dedicated to merging theoretical research with artistic practice, constituting expressions and challenges that link the two realms. She often works within research frameworks such as psychoanalysis, semiotics, and postmodernism, presenting self-mythology or critical narratives on themes like subjectivity, identity, technology, the body, space, pop culture, and globalisation.

Xi Li has exhibited her works in various locations across New Zealand, Australia and Austria. Her recent solo exhibitions include “The Transcendence Labyrinth of Idols” at Te Tuhi, Auckland, “The Generation of The Hyperreal” at The Arts House Trust, Auckland, and “Spirit Ether” at The Physics Room Contemporary Art Space, Christchurch, New Zealand.