Opening today, Friday, December 9, at MetaLES, curated by Ux Hax and Romy Nayar, is OpeRaAnxiEty, a major immersive work by artist JadeYu Fhang. As the title suggests, it's a world filled with anxiety, and a mix of beauty and horror, with much left up to the viewer's interpretation. "I don't like notecards," JadeYu said as we discussed her work. "I prefer people search in their heads — I like when people create their own stories."
Immediately visible to observers upon entering this misty world are arachnids and their webs. Towering directly overhead at the landing point is the shimmering Arachnee Temple; at the top of this structure sits The Queen, enclosed in a web and looking down to observe the scene below. Within the temple, a ceremony takes place in which an arachnid offers eggs to a humanoid female, both figures surrounded by eight green android female observers. Textured fingerprints swirl on the floor, suggesting a genetic reference.
Elsewhere, on the west side of the sim, another temple is the site of "separation," with half-constructed android bodies positioned in front of the building and a trio of television-headed female figures positioned on either side. On a nearby hillside, two large female forms, posed back to back, seem to be caring for eggs that hold blended human and arachnid embryos — indeed, the nearby spider that seems to have captured them in a web is named The Nurse. Through and around the entire build, barely visible but omnipresent, rotate transparent sheets of data.
If all of that sounds like some sort of sci-fi interspecies breeding program, JadeYu aims for a deeper meaning in the background. "The spider is a metaphor," she elucidated in French. "We're all the creators of our society. Few people are really lucid about what they're doing, and people allow themselves to become trapped. Yes, there are bad guys, the media and all that, but we're part of it too, and we weave our own web in which we're enclosed." As you visit, be sure to have ambient sounds turned up, as they're an integral part of the build. OpeRaAnxiEty will remain on display through January 30. If you enjoy JadeYu's work, consider an additional visit to her sim, DaRk TeArS, for her current installation, EgOJail.