It Takes Spirals to Feed the Spiral

documentation (2’30”), It Takes Spirals to Feed the Spiral, MOCA Toronto, CA, 2022.

research materials for It Takes Spirals to Feed the Spiral
research materials for It Takes Spirals to Feed the Spiral
research materials for It Takes Spirals to Feed the Spiral

the meta-diagram and some research materials

It Takes Spirals to Feed the Spiral is a multimedia installation exploring the spiral as an archetype to reimagine conceptions of space and time. Through an integrated textual-sonic-visual experience, the installation invites the audience to weave their own meaning systems.

The project unfolds the spiraling force that is found in the fundamental geometric pattern of matter and the creative healing processes that occur in the psyche of the human beings; which is also underlying in the ancestry knowledge of historical and geographical divination as well as the temporal and spatial logic of colonial origins and cybernetic capitalism.

The immersive vinyl prints constitute a three-dimensional diagram, drawing connections from practices, theories, and narratives of various fields and cultures. The extensive research ranges from mathematics to biology, from nanoscopic imaging to galactic simulation, from ancient civilization to sci-fiction time-travels, and from accelerationist spiromancy to post-colonial cultural movements. Scattered verses written by the artist in collaboration with the AI systems can be found through pattern recognition of an AR application. The installation also features seemingly never-ending video prose that is composed of AI-driven sequences and generative animations. The accompanying soundtrack is an experimental sound poem that blends algorithmic composition with the improvisation of ritualistic sounds and vocalizations.

This project is generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.

The Oral Logic

installation view, solo exhibition at Pari Nadimi Gallery, Toronto, Canada, 2019.

Garrulous Guts 2019

dimension variable

two-channel animation, subwoofers, clear gelatin capsules, anti-biotics, anti-estrogen hormone, air ducts, generative algorithmic composition (in collaboration with Jason Doell)

Cmd & Ctrl Chewing Gum 2019

2.5”x 2.5”, limited edition of 30

natural chicle gum base, sugar, dextrose, cane syrup, wafer paper, edible ink


Qi 2019

dimension variable

single-channel video(2’52”)


ERROAR!#4 2019

dimension variable

single-channel video(3’25”), interactive web-based application, laser-engraved mirror, 3D prints, generative poetry on paper scroll, algorithmic composition (in collaboration with Jason Doell)



Deep Aware Triads – orishormonaspina 2019

36” diameter each

giclée print (triptych)


The exhibition is an assemblage of four multimedia installations that expand The Oral Logic thread out of Ye’s extensive research on the poetics and politics of human-machine coupling.

Turning the gaze inward on bodily systems, the installations are conceptualized using the cannibalistic metaphor of “eating and being eaten” to contemplate on our dialectic relationships with technology. We as bio-cultural-technological amalgams have always merged our mental activities with the operations of technologies in a broader sense. For example, writing is a technology we use to make sense of ourselves and the world as it reconfigures our consciousness. Having entered the electronic landscape, we, both consumer and feeder devour and chew, digest and absorb electronic culture in all domains. From eating to speaking, from the molecular to the epistemological, our body and psyche are subject to the cybogian economy where massive networks show affective and cognitive agencies and planetary computation is mobilized by the entangled power of political ideologies, economic imbalance, and cultural disparities. It is in such a context where The Oral Logic attempts to question “to what extent would this symbiosis evolve?”

The four installations interweave the The Oral Logic as if our minds already operate as silicon-carbon intelligence hybrids. At the centre of the space located pumping low-frequency sounds, which activate the sculptural diagrams on the wall and animated digestive system mapped with malleable texts. Machine learning algorithms are employed to produce text, sound and image during artist’s process of collaborating with digital bodies.

The metaphor of cannibalism in Brazilian literature and translation theory offers ways to rethink cultural assimilation in colonial and post-colonial conditions. Borrowing the same idea to think about technological incorporation, Ye blends e-wastes with living organisms and proposes “vomit as a method” to redefine and reclaim human agencies in the hyper-control societies.


“In the centre of the space, the two-channel sound and animation installation, Garrulous Guts (2019), wraps around an entanglement of air ducts. The work’s audio was created through a collection of sound footage from online searches for “people vomiting” and speech clips generated by WaveNet, a feedforward neural network for generating advanced Text-to-Speech results. While the speech was trained in English, that was not what was heard emanating from the installation. Ye created new speech that were, quasi-English, which were then interpreted into sounds that didn’t make sense to English-speaking viewers or would even register as a recognized human-based language, potentially creating a new human-machine hybrid language. Despite its mechanical and cryptic tone, the soundtrack held some familiarity in structure and pace for my auditory sense to digest as dialect.”

— Emily Fitzpatrick, “Review: Xuan Ye – The Oral Logic” (Peripheral Review, 2020)

“Through intentional collaboration with machines, Ye recoups agency. A low-frequency crackling permeated the small room of “The Oral Logic,” part of a generative music score like ASMR but in a register of minor terror. The score popped and rumbled from two subwoofers, one upturned to hold empty and half-filled clear pill capsules in its speaker. Corrugated air ducts twisted around this installation — collectively titled Garrulous Guts (2019) — as physical stand-ins for its eponymous organs. An accompanying projection animated intestines in cyber blue and dusky pink, mapped with texts from translation theory, which wormed their outsides and innards through the viewer’s gaze.”

— Joy Xiang, “Review: Xuan Ye – The Oral Logic” (Canadian Art, 2020)


What Nebula, What Hyperbolic Light, What Flora and Fauna

What Nebula, What Hyperbolic Light, What Flora and Fauna

CG animation (11mins) configured for 18 Christie Digital Microtiles.

Fig.4 installation view at Ellephant, Montreal, Canada, 2019. Video visible from sundown to sunrise in the Charlotte Street window. This project is a co-production with EdVideo realized thanks to the financial support of the Government of Quebec and Ontario.

preview link

What Nebula, What Hyperbolic Light, What Flora and Fauna speculates on the idea of “habitat” in the context of technological acceleration and urban sprawl. It uses “garden” as a metaphor for re-imagining an ideal habitat where human, natural and man-made materials coexist. It incorporates interactive poetry, imagined organisms, with repurposed obsolete technology and e-waste. WNWHLWFF is about dwelling in such an accelerated future of landscapes, where the imposed rhythms of existing are bent for a pause or a reflection.

Et Cetera

Et Cetera
Et Cetera
Et Cetera
Et Cetera
Et Cetera

installation views, solo exhibition, Trinity Square Video, Toronto, Canada, 2018

I forget,etc.(after X. Y.) by Fan Wu 2018

black & metalic gold dual-tone risograph accordion fold, limited edition of 200

Reader’s Guide 2018

dimension variable

metal sculpture, mirror film, giclée print on film, algorithmic composition (2′), animation projection

“… I forget that if what you see is where you go, then all seeing is a censored prophet that fails (because of neurosis or paralysis) to act in accordance with its own oracles.

I forget the efficient linearity of human reading (frustrating; rusty with the will to make sense) and learn the stochastic programmability of the machine (nested recursions: birds in cyborg-synaptic teleport.) I become not apart from the humus of inhuman refuse, the floppy callousness of computer script.

I forget how to chart a course between the gravity of identity (flesh, father, hearth) and the anonymity of the digital.

I forget, rote fig, frig toe. I forget — ego rift — grief to forge it. Heal us, eros of foe grit. O He Fears Soul: I forget sentimentality and open-hearted relatability to forge a new, colder, but no less tender form of subjectivity.

I forget whether Zhuangzi thought voice was the dream of water or water the dream of voice. I barely remember vaporwave — soft subliminality that brought back visions of Sonic the Hedgehog — and the hard limits of nostalgia. I fully remember Freud’s primordial oceanic feeling of being one with the universe; but to feel it here, in the 21st century, means to feel it homelessly: even total unity cannot undo my nomad code.

I forget language like it was the lie of noise…”

— Fan Wu  “I Forget, etc. (after X.Y.)”

Et Cetera is woven together with five works that are essentially five bodies of writings as digital poetry — a poetic practice that is made possible by digital media and technology in which aesthetic possibilities are extended through the semantic impact of alphabets, visuals, data, etc. Interlaced by multimedial meaning-making, Et Cetera re(produces) installations that are engineered with utilizing real-time data feeds, animated letterforms, performative instructions and sensory synthesis.

Exploring different scenarios of human-machine coupling that consequently lead to multifarious illegibility, Et Cetera amplifies the noise of information overflow in the concurrent mediascape with its rhizomatic networks that are largely beyond our conscious apprehension. On the B-side, Et Cetera is also involved with writing about the alphabetic writing apparatus, the role of artist as author as human-machine-centaur and the networked subjectivity.

Related writing: Et Cetera by Xuan Ye