Wonderland II

Public Commission
Los Angeles International Airport, Department of Cultural Affairs, Public Art Division
with Los Angeles World Airports Arts Exhibition Program, Los Angeles, CA
October 2022 – November 2023

Wonderland II is inspired by a dream the artist, Peter Wu+, had in 1997. In this dream, the sun had long vanished behind clouds of falling ash. He found himself alone in a castle, imagining ways to capture the sun for future generations who would never see it shine.

For the artist, this dream was fertile ground to engage with an exploration of belonging and displacement through speculative fiction. Wu+ threaded this vision with a second narrative, reflecting the complex conscious and subconscious dreams and anxieties felt by children of Asian diasporas.

Using 3D modeling software, he began by creating a digital twin of an abandoned castle in Wonderland—an unfinished amusement park project, meant to rival Disneyland, located in Chenzhuang Village, China. Slated to be “the largest amusement park in Asia,” construction of Wonderland was abandoned in 1998, after disagreements with local governments and farmers over property prices. All that remains of the theme park is the castle—a new kind of ruin produced by the fallout of late-stage capitalism—which still exists IRL and, now transposed, to a virtual space.

In Cantonese, the pejorative term “jook-sing” refers to people in the Chinese diaspora who have assimilated into Western culture. The term literally translates to “bamboo pole,” a semi-hollow form in which water enters and becomes trapped, rather than flowing through. Wu+’s rendered castle in Wonderland II depicts a semi-hollow body, through which visitors experience a series of sculptures and installations invoking a narrative that confronts fractured identities, assimilation, and displacement. Under an ash-purple sky, a rotating posthuman avatar transmuting between different elements, functions as a surrogate for a vanished sun and a beacon for future generations seeking to redefine their relationships to identity and belonging.

HISTORY
The first iteration of Wonderland was created in 2021 for EPOCH, an online curation and virtual exhibition space created by the artist in 2020. Inspired by the castle in the abandoned Wonderland theme park in Chenzhuang Village, Wu+ modeled the architecture and curated an exhibition featuring the works by nine artists of the Chinese diaspora. Wonderland can still be experienced online at EPOCH.gallery.


Wonderland II, 2022
5 channel synced video and projection; 3D animations with audio
TRT: 4 minutes 44 seconds

Wonderland II, 2022
5 channel synced video and projection; 3D animations with audio
TRT: 4 minutes 44 seconds


Wonderland II, 2022
Installation view*


Wonderland II, 2022
Installation view*


Wonderland II (ancestors), 2022
Archival pigment print
23 x 33.5 inches
Edition of 2 + 1AP*

Wonderland II (avatar), 2022
Archival pigment print
40 x 65.7 inches
Edition of 2 + 1AP*


Wonderland II (monster hands / Promethean fire), 2022
Archival pigment print
22.5 x 40 inches
Edition of 2 + 1AP*


Wonderland II (ancestors), 2022
Archival pigment print
23 x 35.8 inches
Edition of 2 + 1AP*

Wonderland II (glass doorway), 2022
Archival pigment print
22.5 x 40 inches
Edition of 2 + 1AP*


Wonderland II (last tree), 2022
Archival pigment print, triptych
center: 40 x 71 inches
left and right: 40 x 22.5 inches each
Edition of 2 + 1AP*


Wonderland II (assimilation/annihilation), 2022
Archival pigment print, diptych
22.5 x 40 inches each
Edition of 2 + 1AP*


Wonderland II (intro), 2022
Archival pigment print
40 x 71 inches
Edition of 2 + 1AP*

* Photograph documentation by SKA Studios, LLC, courtesy of Los Angeles World Airports and the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.


AR | AIR
Artist in Residence, Antelope Valley, CA
Curated by Nancy Baker Cahill
November 2022


Wonderland II (castle in the sky), 2022
Augmented reality

Wu+ transposes and superimposes the castle ruin of Wonderland via augmented reality as an exploration of displacement, assimilation, and suspended dreams.


The following are NFTs released in correlation of the artist’s public art commission.

Wonderland II (assimilation / annihilation), 2022
Video animation with audio; 44sec loop; 3840 × 2160 px
Edition of 28
Acquire the work here: teia.com

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