Theatre of the Surrogate
Lin Wencai (China)
Multimedia installation
Dimensions variable

In medicine, the 3D virtual model reconstructed from tomography has become an important element in decision-making. Eric Betzig's microscopic imaging technique is used to rebuild a high-precision visual virtual model as it captures images layer by layer, until the sample eventually vanishes. 

During this process, a surrogate is constructed within a hierarchical structure, representing the living being. Medical imaging, as if a memory storage device, inserts our bodies directly into an amplified and classified society, where concepts of body and identity in technological sense are examined. 

At this point the non-physical body is being evaluated anew. In creating intra-and extra-corporal contrasts, the surrogate inlays the physical body in a fictional realm, falling into contradiction. In its dispersion and exchanges, there is potential insecurity associated with individual existence, while meanings multiply and disappear within the hierarchy. The physiological body under rational view becomes absurd and confrontational scenes of generation and extinction appear simultaneously. The generation of each tiny structure of the body merits our observation. It is about the digital sources in a coma, the visible hierarchy, the domesticated paralysis, and the made-believe chaos.

Identity surrogate: A visitor can reactivate the departed person’s heartbeat using his/her own heartbeat data, giving the deceased one more identity. 

Digital surrogate: Digital coverage, visibility/invisibility, and misreadings are part of a surgery involving microscopes and images. In digitalization, is quantification of the body a trap or a safe exit?

Virtual surrogate: Reparative simulation, surgical navigation simulation, simulation-simulation, reconstruction-simulation, simulation of motion mechanism, implant simulation, and generation simulation – all are a rehearsal of a theatrical production on survival and fate.

Lin Wencai
Lin Wencai is an experimentalist in Sci-Tech Arts, a student in the programme of Master of Experimental Art at the Central Academy of Fine Arts with main research and creative direction on cross-media research and artistic creation based on medical images.
2022 "Art as a Bridge - 2022 Wuhan Biennale" (Wuhan, China)
2022 "2022 Asia Digital Art Exhibition – Earth Spaceship" (Beijing, China)
2021 "Sci-Fi World – Science and Technology Art Concept Exhibition", Beijing Science and Technology Week (Beijing, China)
2020 "SURROGATES: Symptom Imaging" Multimedia Art Exhibition (Xiamen, China)


location: University of Macau Museum of Art
01/09/2023 - 05/11/2023