Conceived as a sequel to Cheng Ran’s work Always I Trust in 2014, which was inspired by a computer-generated spam email sent to the artist by an unknown woman, Cheng continues to explore the subject of emotional isolation experienced by city dwellers. Contrary to the previous piece, the new work is taken from the perspective of an abandoned hacked email account that auto-generates unintelligible messages to hundreds of recipients, creating a random list that reverberates in the virtual city network. Starring acclaimed actress Carina Lau, Always I Distrust constructs a fantasy world in a fictional setting, a space for listening and meditation, immersing the viewers in an abstract yet magnificently tactile and interactive time-space, as they traverse liquid spaces and interconnected portals in a nine-minute experience.
Cheng Ran stated, “If urban construction is done by thousands of unknown workers, then the construction of the information city should include these ‘virtual builders’. As rapid urban development brings unprecedented technological changes, the relationship between cities and people has evolved accordingly. This relationship now stands at a new crossroad, over a new horizon.”
Inspired by this concept, Always I Distrust constructs a fantasy world in a fictional setting, a space for listening and meditation, immersing the viewers in an abstract yet magnificently tactile and interactive time-space, as they traverse liquid spaces and interconnected portals in a nine-minute experience.
In the video work, Carina Lau plays different roles to interpret various emotional states of people in the current world. It visually creates a meditation space that is forgotten in the infinite depth of the Internet, wrapping audience’s senses in an environment of constant exploration and allowing them to search for the answer to the confusion of this century.
Affected by the pandemic, Cheng Ran and Carina Lau were unable to produce the work together on site. Unlike the previous video works, artist, director and teams cooperated remotely to complete the cross-regional production, which fully shows the current social situation and the action status.
Carina Lau expressed, “I appreciate Cheng Ran very much and I am pleased to work with him again. This is the first remotely filming experience I have had. The process of using various technologies to conduct in-depth communication with the artist and teams are new and special. I hope to use modern technology, as well as my personal experience and feelings, to produce a work that resonates with the audience.”