conceptual artist / richie tse / photography

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Chinese culture, people often cite the Buddhist idea of Yuan Fen (affinity ) to describe the predetermined principle that leads to a beginning of a relationship. If one says: “we really have Yuan Fen” to other(s), it means he/she thinks that it is our destiny to meet. If someone says: “we have Yuan but don’t have Fen”, it means our destiny lead us to meet, but our ‘relationship’ will not be long lasting. What bring us together? Why you are here, looking at my work? Who and what controls affinity? These questions have interested me since last year, as well as becoming the rationale of this project.

In order to investigate this idea, I employed the concept of the Buddhist chanting system as a parameter, attempting to reinforce my conceptual framework. For instance, Buddhist monks use Japa mala (rosary) to assist their chanting, and every Japa mala has 108 beads weaved into a string. I applied the ‘magic number’ to this project – 36 exp. / roll of film × 3 = 108 photographs –, and went to town on Sunday for three weeks. I approached 108 strangers in random places and asked them to use one of my simplest plastic cameras to take a photograph of whatever they want. At the same time, I used an identical camera to capture the moment while they were photographing.

Through this performance with strangers, I am trying to use photography to not only create a phenomenon of affinity, but to also capitalise photography as a documentary tool to record the phenomenon at a specific time, in a particular place. As a result, the random image taken by the stranger and my documentary photograph sit side-by-side, which turn out to be an evidence of our encounter. By pasting two different pictures together as a diptych, I am not merely intending to reveal the causality between the stranger and I, but to also try and reflect the idea of preordination.

Since I have abnegated the initiative of composing photographs, the entire project is dependant upon chance. I would never know who is the next stranger and what they would like to photograph. Under this contingent circumstance, every encounter is unique and each photograph is formed with serendipity. Perhaps the appearance of chance with its ‘uniqueness’ is visually unexplainable, however, it is presumably the best way to study chance mathematically. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct a survey for the sake of examining chances. Every participant was invited to do a survey in order to collect some relevant data. By analyzing the data, I attempt to convey the predestination of this project with statistic numbers and probe the relationship between probability and chance.

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we have yuan, but don't have fen.
we have yuan, but don't have fen.
we have yuan, but don't have fen.
we have yuan, but don't have fen.
we have yuan, but don't have fen.
we have yuan, but don't have fen.
we have yuan, but don't have fen.
we have yuan, but don't have fen.
we have yuan, but don't have fen.
we have yuan, but don't have fen.
we have yuan, but don't have fen.
we have yuan, but don't have fen.
we have yuan, but don't have fen.
we have yuan, but don't have fen.
we have yuan, but don't have fen.