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Jiuxun Jin Talks About His Photography Series — PARAMNESIA

Interviewed and edited by Jing Zhao

Jiuxun Jin is an NYC-based Media Artist and award-winning Filmmaker, with a background in video, sound, and photography. His works evoke a sense of sarcastic surrealism inspired by historical allusions, cultural conflict, and political myths. Jin received an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. He has held solo exhibitions in New York City and Baltimore, his work has been included in group exhibitions worldwide.

In his solo exhibition at IMUR Gallery from September 16th to 24th, 2022, Jin is going to showcase the photography series — PARAMNESIA that he has been creating since 2018. In this interview, Jin talks about this series of work, his art practice experiences, and artistic inspirations.

IMUR: You are a media artist, filmmaker, and concept artist. How do these different identities influence each other?

Jiuxun Jin: I have spent a lot of time studying traditional painting since I was a kid. After I got into art school, my study and practice focused on digital media and film study. Those knowledge and drawing skills built me a solid foundation to explore more possibilities in art making. In terms of medium, I think painting, photography, and film all have their own limitations and strengths. I switch between them to match specific needs for different works. For example, if I noticed a still image is not suitable to convey an idea, I would use video instead since it’s a time-based media that can provide more space for narrative. Although concept art [1] is more commercially used, they are all somehow connected, and they are just different mediums and tools to express my thoughts.

You studied as an artist in both China and America. How does that affect your work?

I grew up in a multicultural family, which made me very interested in the culture conflicts, colonialism, especially the historical and political myths. The questions brought by cultural conflicts motivated me to search for answers through art making, until I started to develop my own visual language in the media art field. Studying in both China and America were perfect opportunities for me to further my art practice that relates to these subjects.

Jiuxun Jin, Billboard, 2019. Inkjet print (image captured by 35mm B&W film), 10 x 16 in.

Courtesy of the artist.

“PARAMNESIA” is the title of your solo exhibition. What lies behind this choice?

The idea comes from my personal feelings about "reality." Because of the existence of time, the world is continuously "moving" and "developing," and nobody can stop the earth from rotating in the universe. That is the objective "world." This world reflects different realities to different people, so everyone has their realities that differ from others, but some of them are overlapped and coincide in certain shapes. More importantly, the photograph itself is a limited medium, I can't shoot a thing that doesn't exist in this world, and every shot from a camera is just a slice of time but couldn't represent a whole reality. To illustrate this tunnel vision and the scent outside of the image, I think the meaning of "paramnesia" will fit the show.

Jiuxun Jin, Apartment, 2018. Inkjet print (image captured by 35mm B&W film), 10 x 16 in.

Courtesy of the artist.

What was the process like when you took these photographs? Most of your photographs were black and white, and the objects you chose to appear in the pictures seemed ordinary. Why did you make those choices?

I am interested in black and white presentations in any form of art. It seems easy but hard to master because the layer of color is absent. So, visually you can only play around with shapes, rhythm, composition, etc. I personally very much enjoy this process. It reminds me of many foundational training I had previously. It also provides disciplines. In this digital era, thousands of pictures can be blindly taken in a day, but probably none of them are worth watching twice. Developed technology and the rapid pace of life have caused such bad behavior. But content-wise, I believe in the resonance of detachment or dissociating from a common object that belongs to this world. Even those ordinary objects can create a strange experience by just looking at them in a black and white form.

Jiuxun Jin, White Hand, 2021. Inkjet print (image captured by 35mm B&W film), 10 x 16 in.

Courtesy of the artist.

The artworks you previously created were mostly time-based. When I saw this “photography” show that you put up, I felt like those photographs were having some sort of connection and every image has a story behind it. Were you considering the photographs you took as stills of a film?

Sometimes, when I walk past a still picture on the wall, I would ask myself: “could that be a video?” Because it contains time, the perspective is also changed by my movement, but that would be a pretty boring video anyways unless the picture has some wow factors in it. But again, I don't really mind what media I choose. If there is a right tool, I will just grab it. In this show, I selected these images that I believe can communicate with each other in a certain way. Therefore, a part of the show — the viewers, when they are wandering between these pictures, the narrative can be created by their own experience. I once joked with my friends that everyone is a filmmaker because we play and edit "footage" in our minds all the time. But pulling these films out of my mind into other media is the real challenge. So I think the photographs in this show could be stills from my film or anybody else's “film”.

Can you tell us a little about one of the video art projects you’ve worked on?

A lot of my early video works require specific spatial and installation arrangements. An approach worth mentioning is Crater Park created by me in 2017, which contains three screens and were mounted by sculptured craft paper “mountains”. There is an amplifier attached below the “paper mountains”. When the videos begin to play, its sound vibrates the paper materials.

Jiuxun Jin, Crater Park (Three New Bee), 2016. Video with sound, 6 min 22 sec.

Courtesy of the artist.

Installation view. Jiuxun Jin, Crater Park, 2017. 3-channel video installation, mixed media.

Courtesy of the artist.

Later, in 2020, I made an experimental documentary film called “Ashes”. It is a story about an EOD veteran who was about to be deployed again to Afghanistan. Though he partly recovered from a heavy physical injury, under the lack of veteran health care policy, he also struggles with many mental issues. This film was screened worldwide, including film festivals in Japan, Italy, Germany, Austria, and Canada. It also received many film awards.

Any future plans or projects in the pipeline that we should look out for?

Besides my film photography, I mainly work with digital media, especially 3D computer graphics. Currently, I spend more time studying new software because I found it really helps me out in the related art practice. If you are interested in my recent works, please take a look at my website and social media.


[1] Concept art is a form of visual art used to convey an idea for use in films, video games, animation, comic books, or other media before it is put into the final product.

Jiuxun Jin’s concept art:

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