Game of Life
Justin Lee (Singapore)
Justin Lee revisits his iconic terracotta warrior and re-envisions it as soldiers facing off in a game of Chinese chess, or xiangqi. Structural features reminiscent of the Chinese chessboard form the backdrop for this battlefield. The grid-like fortresses and river winding through the steps act like cartographical elements on a map, creating a theatrical setting for a fictional battle. To Lee, games and the concept of play could function as metaphors to investigate prevailing social and cultural norms. He is interested in how Chinese chess could be used to analyse the prevalence of social hierarchies and how these affect our interactions with each other. The installation is a tongue-in-cheek representation of how we manoeuvre the relationships we have in different arenas – at the workplace, in social settings and in the digital realm. The artwork is also an invitation to reflect on the impact of technology on our daily lives as we gravitate away from traditional games like Chinese chess to those played on digital platforms.
Photo: Game of Life, Justin Lee, 2018; Image courtesy of the artist