Sian Fan is a mixed media artist working in London.
She has exhibited internationally with venues including Tate Modern, British Council, and the ICA, as well as producing work with Channel 4, the BBC and Google.
Her work combines movement, the female body and technology to explore disembodiment and human experience in the digital age. Drawing on her background in contemporary and aerial dance she suspends, fragments and augments the body via choreography and digital techniques, as a method of exposing the underlying effects of technology.
She explores the relationship between the physical and the virtual through animation, 3D scanning & printing, and virtual & augmented reality, employing these technologies in conjunction with the body to address the disembodied experience of being online. Whilst being passionate about the capabilities of technology she is also wary of how it alters our experience of being human. She is interested in exploring and exposing the experience of engaging with technology, in how it draws us out of our bodily experience and into virtual experiences. She is fascinated by virtual identities, and in how we construct virtual bodies which exist in hyperspace beyond our physical bodies.
She is passionate about being a female and person of colour working directly with technology, which she feels are currently underrepresented. From her experiences working within technological industries, she has felt a noticeable absence of female representation and is keen to promote and champion the capabilities of females working with technology.
She is interested in the experience of being human in our increasingly digitised and hyperconnected world and seeks to discover new ways for us to coexist with technology.
Spirit Corp. , 2019Animation 2:33 A dark exploration into humanity’s fixation with the digital: in a possible future a human finds herself re-rendered into cyberspace, recoded into a virtual being. As she begins to explore her new form it dissolves and swells into a dark, inky fluid. Struggling against the liquid she momentarily emerges, her body merged into a flower, before being pulled back into the inky depths. As her digital shell and her human consciousness prove incompatible she finds herself trapped between two diametric states. 'Spirit Corp.' was commissioned by the BBC and was created with support from Screen South and Arts Council England. It aired on BBC4 as part of Get Animated hosted by Ali Plumb.
Spore 3 , 2020UV Print and Acrylic Paint on Glass Effect Perspex 44cm x 32cm x 2cm The UV printed textures are backed with acrylic paint yet maintain a translucent quality, revealing the cavernous interior of frame. This interior is carefully painted in Black 3.0, a super matte, ultra black acrylic, creating the appearance of depth and mirroring the illusory depth of the screen.
Spore 2 , 2020UV Print and Acrylic Paint on Glass Effect Perspex 44cm x 32cm x 2cm The work represents a significant development in the artist’s practise, whereby she begins physicalising digital materials. Here she infuses them with glass-effect Perspex, a key material in her work, representative of the screen as a portal into virtual space.
Spore 1 , 2020UV Print and Acrylic Paint on Glass Effect Perspex 44cm x 32cm x 2cm ‘Spore’ explores digital simulation. Utilising computer-generated texture files produced by photogrammetric scans of plants and flowers the work abstracts these images; merging and morphing them together. ‘Spore’ investigates how computers understand and perceive reality, translating these digital interpretations into a fragmented cacophony of abstracted colour and texture.
Downtime , 2020https://sian-fan.itch.io/downtime As a counter to the hyper-productivity of the post-post-internet world, ‘Downtime’ virtually embodies the experience of ASMR into an interactive Realtime environment. The viewer is immersed in a lush landscape of sculpted pink sand dunes, that stretch as far as the eye can see. ‘Downtime’ is the opposite of productivity online, stripping out the endless windows, ads and notifications to create a virtual space to unwind and to disconnect. Commissioned by Phoenix Leicester
Orbit , 2020Augmented Reality Performance ‘Orbit' explores the interdependencies between humanity and technology. It was first staged at Tate Modern as part of Tate Exchange. The work integrates a live web cam feed with AR technology using game design program Unity to overlay digital elements over a performer's body. Featuring satellites, spaceships, celestial bodies and bodies of water the virtual elements reference the effects of bodies in orbit, both artificial and natural.
Anima , 2019Video 3:28 Utilising face filters available on Instagram, Anima manipulates and warps the artist's own image. The work merges and morphs these effects to create distorted portraits; digital daydreams of the self in the post internet age. These abstract portraits, whilst still recognisable achieve a sense of the uncanny, conjuring visions of both beauty and the grotesque. The work uses the AI embedded in video transitions to morph each face together, adding a further layer of digital manipulation.
Deathlessness , 2016Holographic Video (Monitor, Media Player, Acrylic, Wood) 45cm x 45cm x 90cm / 4:34 ‘Deathlessness’ was created as part of the Digital Factory Residency, in association with Firstsite, Circuit and the Andy Warhol Artist Rooms Exhibition. The work is heavily influenced by Warhol’s method of immortalising a person through their image. It attempts to evade the notion of death and insignificance by creating a perpetual reproduction of the artist. This version, although obviously deficient reflects how heavily lives are created, stored and experienced digitally and challenges notions of what it means to exist.
Partial Bodies , 2019Holographic Video (Projected Video, Acrylic, Holographic Film, Wood) 100cm x 70cm x 5cm / 11:26 'Partial Bodies' is a meditation on the relationship between the natural and the digital. The work also explores the female body in nature, specifically viewed through the female gaze. The fragmented body fuses with the flora to create a complex interplay that references ideas of elevated and magical females, such as goddesses, mother nature and nymphs. Undeniably digital, yet innately organic, the fused bodies present an incomplete image that is as much about what is present as what is absent.
Garden 2 , 2017VR Installation (HTC Vive Headset, Projected Video, Unity Project, Acrylic Plinth, Artificial Flowers) Undeniably digital, yet innately organic, 'Garden 2' immerses the viewer in a world that is both beautiful and overwhelming, creating an experience that is transporting and transcendent.
Our artist Sian Fan made a film with BBC New Creatives about humanity’s fixation with the digital.
Follow Sian Fan on Instagram@sianfan