LI-E CHEN: 'n-1' 2015 - 2017 Google Map Data 2015, Screenshot
2 February 2015 - 2 February 2017
“To do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world, the most difficult and the most intellectual.” Oscar Wilde
'n-1' was Li-E Chen's experimental site-specific art project involving visits to 168 locations set out as squares on a Google map of Greater London, using the city as a stage and open space for the execution of Chen’s experiments. The squares are associated with the 524 propositions of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s ‘Tractatus Logico Philosophicus’, whose account of logical structure and the limits of language inspire the project. The themes of 'nothing' and ‘non-expression’ pervade Wittgenstein's Tractatus from start (Proposition 1.1: The world is the totality of facts, not of things.) to finish (Proposition 7: What we cannot speak about, we must pass over in silence.).
"Wittgenstein's purpose was not merely to formulate instructions which would save people from trying to say what cannot be said in language, but also to succeed in understanding the structure of what can be said." David Pear
Chen's work investigates the condition of 'nothingness' drawn from the notion of silence, non-representational forms of expression, and both Eastern and Western philosophers and artists who associate silence in their works, including John Cage, Robert Wilson, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tehching Hsieh, Harold Pinter, Samuel Beckett and the work of Improbable. ‘n-1’ developed further her ideas about 'thinking posture', a term she used for the disposition of mind and body that affects one's ways of living, thinking, and artistic making. ‘n-1’ developed during Chen’s one year durational laboratory on Nothing when she was Studio Artist at ]Performance S p a c e [ in 2012 to 2013, and from her participation in Devoted and Disgruntled events facilitated by Improbable Theatre in 2014.
With thanks to the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Contemporary Political Theory Research Group, Royal Holloway University of London, Improbable's Devoted and Disgruntled UK, New Malden Art Festival, Square Knot, all the participants and everyone who supported in Li-E Chen's 'n-1'.
The completion of Li-E Chen's two year 'n-1' was being marked with the release of an accompanying art publication on 21 May 2017.