Soft Enigma
2019.04.12 - 2019.05.12
Artists: Tan Yingjie & Liu Hitachi
About the name
“Snakes and ladders” (the Chinese name) comes from the ancient Indian board game.The game guide players to follow the dice points. Players descend when encountering the snakes, rises when encountering the ladders. Players who reach the end point  rst are the winners. Snakes and ladders in the game are irrupting paths.
The exhibition is framed on different movement paths represented by snakes and ladders.The paths embed the concept of dimensionality reduction. Switching of dimensions, physical experience,
and information triggering are placed parallelly,
to delivery spatial experience and material information.The artists tend to practice the spatial dispersion of information through this project. They classify the information received every day
in different dimensions by the scope of them and the way people experience them.Then these "dimensionality reduction" information is integrated into the exhibition space, like the snakes and the ladders in the game. Compared with using logic to solve a clear mystery, the process of understanding the handling of the exhibition is more ambiguous and experiential.The exhibition space works in the experience as a “Soft Enigma”.

About the structure
The initial exhibition structure was set as a three- act play: home in real life - the exhibition space - home in real life.The input is “home”, the output
is the exhibition space, the processing method is “dimensionality reduction”.The plan is to make the viewers return to their home and have reverse thinking.The plan has a strong expectation, and
this expectation is eliminated while de ning and applying "dimensionality reduction” methods.The project team has shifted focus to establishing a non- linear mapping between a home environment and the exhibition space.
Inspired by the indie game “FEZ” and the “Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions”, the artists
divide mapping methods into three levels. level
I: by selecting and extracting the feelings and the perceptions, just as “dimensionality reduction”
used in the  eld of machine learning — feature selection and feature extraction. level II: by de nition, judgment, and attribution; level III: by processing the “processing method”.The three kinds of mapping methods form a concentric circular snakes and ladders game.The game direct from the edge to the core with interrupts and jumps.
There are different methods on each level, like a  at world seen by one eye. In various discussions, “they are not in the same dimension” is mentioned as a metaphor for unable to communicate.The precondition of many discussions is to pull different things into “the same dimension” at the  rst place. It is like nailing a fog to a plane. After“dimensionality reduction” of an object in different ways, there would be more dynamic relationships between these outcomes, like the worlds seen by the two eyes has depth.There are countless gaps between the clear seeing, judgement, understanding, knowing, evidence, fact and error.This exhibition is about these gaps.

What can we find under the bed?

When the hero in the RPG game was searching for his glasses under the bed, he realized the riddle, which was frequent to come into sight as bait for stories  lled with a combination of lust, desire
and constraint. It’s effortless to circulate and it can be quick to trigger empathy.The riddle could be simple as"the world is unreal, true in _ _ _ _", and then story can appear escape and chase parallel adventure, blended with the elements of love and hatred. It is highly likely to  nd the answer of the riddle at the end is a question like"Who Am I?"
However, our hero just discovered the riddle in an everyday action of life.“The bed is a surface of no thickness.” It is not something that is comprised of atomic molecules of varying structures, dissimilar from the differing elasticity felt indicated.When
he made a discovery that the world had nothing but a surface and contained no underside or inner, the world collapsed from the imagined interior to the external layer of sight, and the object gradually attened to resemble a plastic bag,Why is that? Is this a world where only what you see and hear in person are real? In what could be recalled, a blue, blurry face questioned him, "Do you genuinely believe in the claim that the world is comprised of atoms?"
He was conscious that he had to escape from the place quickly. He trotted to the door and barely inserted the car keys into the deformed door lock, turned around, and his home started for a while, quickly departuring from the rickety world.

The heroes are objects that you, I, and he can take control over, and there ought to be no "viewpoint" or "psychological behavior” associated with him or her. Descartes claims in "on the world" that non- human and moving objects can be explained as automata, like this mechanical duck. However, as it is now, hero’s internal principles may be more related to, instead of being mechanical, the discipline of machine learning.
A hero represents a single observation point that is created, resembling a stream that  ows along some sort of energy gap, or that is reversed against a given vector. It is possible that his understanding can be viewed as a "dimensional reduction"?
TYL recently had a conversation with me over the word, saying: "If our thinking is treated as a point located in a certain coordinate space, however far away, we can have these points connected with each other.This mechanism with thinking about undertaking the same sort of processing, can be branded the mechanism of dimensional reduction.“
" However, these points are not located in the coordinates, and they have neither dimensions nor coordinates. Only down to 0 dimensions is the sole declining dimension, and the other is rise and fall
in a relative term, just like ... that snake and ladder game. Our mind bear resemblance to a leaf falling, in different heterogeneous space rotation, and there is no  nal plane that lets him fall.The exhibition should be titled "Snake and Ladder”.
” "I'm done."
TYJ got under the bed searching for glasses and never showed up again.

I didn't understand what he was talking about at
all. I typed the word “dimensional reduction” over
and over again in some search boxes and clicked on some hyperlinks. Self-motivated Ducks, Descartes' reductionism and machine learning seem to have been found in my search results, but the words I searched for seems to be connected with me in a daydream way. I cannot be sure whether I saw a word or not.
While I was searching over and over again, the hero picked up an index book under the bed, in order : "reductionism | Machine Learning | Variable Selection | Feature Extraction | Fourier analysis | Godel |Tuning | Cryptographic machine | Argument | Paradox | Continuous non- conductive person | Four o'clock in the morning | Random Projection Method | Calvino
| Collect | Mapping | Domain | Separating | Parcel | Metaphor | Schema | Physical Nature |Yonsei | Pickled | Snobbery | Standardized | Natural | Dispelling | Format Tower | Lekoff |......”
I pointed out on the trackpad and magni ed the
 rst word, “reductionism”, which was made by
smaller words: "Ontology reduction:The whole
reality consists of a minimum number of parts; methodological restoration: A scienti c attempt to provide interpretation with a smaller entity; theoretical reduction: translation, derivation and interpretation.
“ Zoom in the word ”"Ontology” can we see "metal, wood, water,  re and earth;Yin and yang, atom, quark, material and soul ...".This may be a fractal coastline of language, "there may be more words in it than in the whole universe." I can't help but think of this tacky metaphor. But what does it really mean by simplifying the universe with a certain number?
I'm afraid that if I zoom in a little bit more, the hero will see the mechanical duck with his own eyes. So
I begin to close the double  nger to narrow the picture until the picture is almost all black with only the highlight pixel left in the middle. I magni ed the picture, the highlight took over the screen again, but it was empty, so the hero and his home were gone.

"But what does this have to do with the exhibition? That's another game: the hero groped for glasses under the bed and found that the dinosaurs had gone and the ducks were still there.Then he went to reset a pair of glasses.

Copyright: C5art, TanYingjie & Liu Hitachi
Poster: Li Zhongkai
Music: Li Yilong, Jiao Siyu, & Tan Yingjie
Special thanks: Li Zhongkai, Wang Dongyan, Zhou Yi, Dong Jing, Gao Da Peng, Kim Chang hee, Du Guo, Li Yilong & Jiao Siyu