A 'selfie' is one's curated depiction of one's appearance, the camera angle and the photography composition of the self-depiction reveals untold social values which the protagonist wishes to conform to. For a female, to take a 'good selfie' of your face, the camera needs to be tilted forward towards you or your chin needs to be lowered. A good female selfie is all about an enlarged forehead, a smaller nose and a tiny chin. By studying a series of selfies taken by internet celebrities, the project attempts to visually reveal the pattern of 'selfie' composition. Transforming the infinitesimal moment of social expectations of female appearance into 'construction drawings': materialise the immaterial is the political attempt to crystalise time. Through projection, by applying all the moments of untold judgments, rules, regulations onto me, the project becomes very personal, as it poses a question of self-construction and identity.

The 'Best' Angle of Me, Nettie Ni, Documented Performance, 2018

Untitled, Nettie Ni, Acrylic on Canvas, 2017, 400x450mm

Father and Son, Nettie Ni, Photographs, 2017

Familial connections are complex and tangled feelings. Upon the arrival of the family to visit the son who studies in the UK, tensions freeze in the cold sea breeze of Brighton. Moments pause in time against culture shocks and enlarged generation gaps. Moments of unease and the incremental changes in human emotion captured by the frames of the camera. The photographs portray the camera’s intimate relationship affiliation with the subtlety of mood fluctuation in this supposedly celebrated occasion. 

Si' Ephemeral, Nettie Ni, Collage, 2019, 30x30mm

The photographs capture the ghosts of the past. My memory of the place and the people though strangely familiar but still distanced from the old moments. I could imagine myself in the space, and with the people, but yet both the place and the people are no longer there anymore. By reinterpreting the old photographs, erasing the figures of my family members, I wish to recreate the moments in the collective memory. This reconstruction of memory travels back in time to question the temperamental relationship between space, objects and the people. By switching the protagonist from the person to the object and space, the project wishes to pose a question upon the formation of identity conducted through spatial medium. The project while acting upon the sense of nostalgia also communicates a sense of disconnection and displacement to the family memory that is said to be monumental. 

 Least not Last, Nettie Ni, Photographs, 2015

Peking opera is dying form of Chinese traditional art yet lives vividly in the memories of the older generation born in 1950s to 60s. The imprint of the Peking Opera melodies and rhythms, the echoes of the 8 Revolutionary Opera linger in the mind of the generation. No matter where they are in the world and what they may be doing for life, the eagerness to grasp and promote their past to others remains predominant. Perhaps it is a sense of duty, by the means of enforcing cultural continuity or perhaps it is simply a call for nostalgia. The tension between the two demonstrated in the backstage photographs of the performance of the Sydney Peking Opera Group. The performance took place in Hurstville one after in 2015, where the group of amateur Peking Opera enthusiasts manifested their passion through the performance.

Museum of Daily Lives, Nettie Ni, Photographs, 2019

The street of the old neighbourhood in Shiwukui Alleyway, 十五奎巷, Hangzhou is an 'open air museum' that displays the daily lives of the residents. Lives leak out from the domestic spaces and the street becomes the living room. The everyday bustles of the alleyway captured the laughters of the afternoon tea, the shuffling of mahjong tables and the squeaking sound of the sewing machine. A lifestyle of the neighbourhood that is disappearing yet illuminating its charm in the ways of inhabitation that establishes intertwining social interactions.

© 2020 BY NETTIE NI

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