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Lotus Root (2022)

Sian Fan combines movement, the body and 3D animation to explore the interdependency between people and technology. Lotus Root is an installation exploring ancestry and identity in the digital age. The work presents an anime fantasy video game, set in a glossy black lake covered in lotus flowers and lily pads.

Nestled within the environment are a series of hyper-real avatars of the artist, digitally enhanced using filter effects designed to transform selfies into dreamy, anime-like pictures. The avatars dance on a loop, using movements from fantasy series and video games including Sailor Moon, Final Fantasy and Grandia.

Referencing anime as a popularised depiction of Asian women, the work explores feelings of conflict around the romanticisation of female Asian identity, and the struggle to find an authentic way of being beyond this. The avatars’ movements glitch and fragment, expressing a sense of disconnection, fragility and uncertainty.

As a reflection of her own experience of growing up in the UK with both Asian and British heritage, Sian presents the virtual and physical as metaphors for her dual identity. By exploring how these identities might coexist, Lotus Root questions our position between past and future, ancestral and lived experience. The work acknowledges the beauty, intensity, and complexity of exploring our own ancestry, and considers the need to connect with this in our increasingly digital world.

Installation environment with playable game, sound, sculpture

Audio by Ben Dixon. Commissioned by FACT. Supported with funds from Arts Council England and Liverpool City Council.

Artists