When questioning people about their top three everyday life companion gadgets, the answers are often smartphones, smartwatches, and laptop computers. The interconnection could be symbolically analogized to a parasitic relation. The term parasitism characterizes an interdependent relationship between two living beings, in which one benefits from another; in some incidents, the parasites cause some harm to the hosts. The author prudently creates artworks based on this idea with essential differences. The Parasitism series contains three images that echo classical military leaders' paintings, portraying glowing imaginative amorphous creatures intertwined with the military figures. The intimation behind the work pivots around three keywords: parasite, indispensability, and political authority. The author veils three layers of connotations through the figures and creatures in the pictures as follows:
1. Nominal value: Military art symbolizes leadership, power, and egoism, while the glowing creatures characterize three indispensable gadgets: smartphones, smartwatches/fitness tracker devices, and laptops/tablets.
2. Hidden meaning: The influence of technology can dominate everyone. It could be another tool for those in power to change the narrative and create misinformation.
3. Implicit meaning: The parasitic linkage between the gadgets and military figures articulates the idea of the secret power behind the power, the deep states, in which the hidden ties are inseparable.
The creation process of the images is entirely digital in three-dimensional software called 3ds Max and Mudbox to emulate old Masters paintings. The final artworks are printed on artist canvas.
Saral Surakul, University of Georgia, United States