"We are entering an age of disempowered thinking and undifferentiated repetitive melancholy." An age of liquid in which individuals can transfer smoothly from one social identity to another or more; an age of the spectacle in which unconscious following of collective behavior leads to alienation and assimilation; a post-colonial age of forced migration and neglect of dissociation under globalization, an age of contradictions inundated by multiple possibilities and loss of control. Everything is fragmenting and spreading atomically, the studies of biological evolution are gradually overturning Darwin's espoused incrementalism (evolutionary change occurs very slowly over long periods) and finding that the evolutionary selection of species fluctuates back and forth over short periods depending on the physical and biological environment. The slight fluctuations create ripples, which combine to create another ripple. Whether it is the evolution of natural selection of creatures, the social construction, the infinite increase of individual and collective unconsciousness, or the impermanence of the cycle of life and death, the reason we underestimate it is that once the time is stretched and measured, the fluctuations will revert to their original point. Fluctuating Selection - Uncertain Future is the first solo exhibition by emerging artist Sining Zhu at 4C Gallery in Los Angeles. The exhibition's theme extends the concept of biological evolution (fluctuating selection) to contemporary social facts and situations, the interaction between the individual and the group, the self and the other. When 'choice' becomes 'selection,' each decision under events and behaviors takes on a severe and critical dimension. The exhibition juxtaposes and connects themes from different contexts, from the fish preocular bone at the Salton Sea（an artificial lake) in Los Angeles as evidence of historical guilt, the clothes and multicultural spices of old immigrants in Chinatown, the gel masks imprinted with different human skin textures and hair, and the elusive waves. Fluctuating Selection- Uncertain Future wants to convey everything in a way that breaks with anthropocentrism and contemplates what drives fluctuating selection. Is it the decision between sustainable development and extinction for our future? In the face of globalization and invisible hegemony, can humanity adapt and cope with uncertain futures and dilemmas?
朱思凝在4C Gallery的个展 “波动抉择—不确定的未来”，包含了她在不同时期的五个作品。从主题的跨度来看，其作品的内核含量无疑是广大的，在某种意义上囊括和指涉了后现代社会反复讨论的一切话题。究其观看过程，人被无所不包地囊括在由装置、影像、行为、声音等多媒介构成的场域中。与其说观看者成为跨媒介艺术奇观的一部分，不如说他们更像是同她一起践行一种关于人类学的艺术表达。
Sining Zhu's solo show "Fluctuating Selection- Uncertain Future" at 4C Gallery features five pieces from various times. In terms of theme range, the main content of her works is undeniably vast, embracing and alluding to the problems frequently discussed in contemporary society in different contexts. During the visiting experience, people are immersed in installations, movies, performances, sounds, and other multimedia. However, rather than the audience becoming a part of a cross-media artistic show, it is more like an anthropological art expression as she practices.
Anthropology usually studies human civilizations and investigates the essence of human existence by examining the development of various social, political, economic, and religious systems, among other things, in multiple situations. To depict an authentic and dynamic relationship in the dual sociological context of postmodernity and fluid modernity construction, we must actively and repeatedly ponder and explore the ripples of each subtle aspect of life and the infinite possibilities and polysemy of connections beyond the ripples. Sining translates this basic logic into a study and collection-based creative process. "Repetition" becomes the process of deciding meaning and repeating history in the slow and repeated collection process, as if linking together the delicate "paths" like fine spider silk. As a result, the subtle existence is constantly detected.
Sining's work transcends anthropological research and is rich in artistry because reproduction and authenticity are no longer the only components of her work. Her work is neither about interpretation nor anti-interpretation. It is alive at their core, and she prefers to focus on the numerous connections that underpin the meaning of events rather than on "textual readings" of specific cultural slices. They are only renewed (or flow) when they are linked to the fresh, subtle threads of each person's life experience.
Regarding Sining's solo exhibition, the concept of biology, specifically "fluctuating selection" of natural selection, which refers to the evolution and change of animals and plants within a relatively short evolutionary time based on the most suitable survival principles, was introduced. The concept means that the world mixes and generates in ways that defy human comprehension, with each link nestled with limitless connections, possibilities, polysemy, and ambiguity waiting to be discovered. Thus, the exhibition theme is consistent with her works' philosophical concepts and creative logic.
在作品《我们正在蜕去什么？》(What Are We Shedding，2021)中，朱思凝通过收集不同人使用过的面膜，并将其制成透明宛如人类皮肤的衣服，营造出人类蜕皮的假象。而作品《另一种死亡》(The Another Death 2022)被作为它的延伸。艺术家身着其中一件“皮肤”，静静躺在透明亚克力容器中，等待被悬挂起的皮肤衣服中稀释出来的水分打湿，继而以水的形态全部融化消失在容器中，等待最后的汽化。面膜作为一种消费主义的表征，衣服作为一种外延，建立起一个等级森严的审美霸权体系。有关个体的身份认同和意识塑造被无可奈何地淹没在集体的潜移默化中。
"What Are We Shedding?" (2021) by Sining Zhu collects used face masks from different people and transforms them into transparent clothes resembling human skin, creating an illusion of human skin shedding. "The Another Death" (2022) serves as an extension of this work, where the artist wears one of the "skins" and lies quietly in a transparent acrylic container, waiting to be moistened by the water diluted from the soaked skin clothes suspended above, then gradually melting and disappearing in the container, waiting for the final evaporation. Masks as symbols of consumerism and dresses as an extension establish a hierarchical and aesthetic hegemony. The identification of individuals and the shaping of consciousness are helplessly submerged in the collective's subliminal influence.
从《从清洗我，覆盖我》(Wash My Body，2023)开始，朱思凝似乎开始找到如何将作品与更大、更广袤的接入口相连方式。当艺术家身披“人体雕塑”伴随海滩日落，她以一种“实在”的方式，紧紧连接着自身与整个自然（宇宙）的关系。她把自己融入全景之中，并且真正感受着每一份震颤的“归属感”，以此朱思凝开启了一种摆脱了人类中心的意识关涉，摆脱以记忆为中心的回溯，以及以目的为考量的终点。
Starting with "Wash My Body" (2023), Sining seems to have found a way to connect her works to more extensive and broader contexts. When the artist wears a "human body sculpture" accompanied by a beach sunset, she tightly binds her relationship with the entire nature (universe) in a "real" way. In this immersive and genuine feeling of the "sense of belonging" of every tremor, Sining has opened up a consciousness of moving away from anthropocentrism, moving away from retrospectives centered on memory, and ending based on purpose.
Under the mining techniques and evidential "scientific rationality" discourse system, "Searching for Preopercular Bone" (2023) examines the issues of human industry, the dispersion and migration of biological groups, and some problems brought on by globalization in a posthumanist context. Its manifestations, possible doubts, and outcomes are strikingly comparable to "every subtle event in daily life" in this dynamic, adaptive, and complex environment with numerous influencing elements. It is difficult to contest that this "fluctuating selection" of natural selection indicates a decision that does not include human interference. The global or micro perspective, the proper temporal scale, the change's cycles or endpoints—all of these questions are threads in the many universe panoramas. Revealing and interwoven their relationships are intricate.
Although Sining and her works continue the narrative and reflection typical of post-war capitalism, they demonstrate a conflict beyond two-dimensional space and linear history. Unrelated participation or a far-off stare creates space. This vibrant sensibility and participation go beyond the "new sensibility" Sontag described, abandoning the aesthetic experience of the "gaze" with the intention of appreciation and moving beyond concerns with the seriousness and elegance of art or whether it is well-liked by the general public. Instead, it immerses itself in the ever-expanding anthropological panorama, "connecting similar questions in different contexts" and creating a larger intellectual space in the face of uncertainty.
The artist hollows out cotton jackets gathered from San Francisco's renowned Chinatown, fills them with common Chinese spices, and lays them in a corner coated in ash in the piece "Corner" (2023), like a small forgotten space in this solo exhibition. There are connections between geography, history, immigration, memory, consumption, multiculturalism, individual identity, storytelling, and other factors. In this ways, viewers connect to Sining's "ethnographic map" by making the space apparent.