《激光雨》探讨以从社交软件快手上发展而出的土味美学。作品从土味的定义出发,思考土味的内涵。土味一词很多时候被定义为一种独特的中国农村美学,但事实上土味与真正意义上的农村美学(一种向往自然,反对城市化工业化的美学)有非常大的区别,它更像是城市美学在农村环境下的一种异化。土味美学中有大量对于流行文化的挪用,其中有武侠小说、香港黑帮电影等个人英雄主义浓厚的题材,也有偶像剧、言情小说等关注个人情感的题材。土味内容创作者挪用这些这些题材的动机值得玩味。作为吸引观众眼球的一种手段,这种挪用是浮于表面的,但是同时这样的挪用又映射了农村人群对于城市生活的一种设想,也反映了农村人群物质与精神生活的缺失(诸如权力、金钱、爱与关怀),暗含着农村人群真诚的情感。从另一个角度来说,土味一词原本隐含了城市人群对于农村人群的一种贬义价值判断,但是随着土味文化在城市年轻人中的走红,土味一词被重新定义。它意味着被农村人群消费的流行文化被城市人群再一次消费,也意味着土味逐渐成为城市人群中反抗主流审美的武器。      
作品的视觉试图平衡“分析”与“参与”两种创作态度,试图保留土味文化扁平浅显的特质。作为参与的角度,作品使用了快手特效社群所发明的“转花文字”、挪用快手用户对于生活场景的片段,并大量使用土味滤镜制作视频。而作为分析的角度,作品将视频分为黑帮电影、宫廷剧、偶像剧三个创作主题并取用被挪用的流行文化视频片段作为参照物,同时引用同类型流行歌曲中的感伤歌词,反映夸张视觉背后的真挚情感。
该作品的网页装置版本是 De:Formal画廊线上驻地项目的一部分。

Laser Rain, is a project discusses “Tuwei”(土味). Directly translated as “dust taste”, Tuwei describes rural aesthetics which fails to meet the taste of the urban mainstream in China. The aesthetics are frequently used in video app Kuaishou(快手), a rural version of TikTok, which is especially popular among the young rural population.
Besides its raw visual quality, What interested me about Tuwei is its definition. Tuwei is a very vague word, it can describe forms that have no visual similarities: it can be a meme, a filter, a special effect, a dance move, a rap style, a short drama, etc. Then what makes a Tuwei video? Content makers from villages or rural background? I thought about this for a long time and my conclusion is that it is not just the rural environment that makes a Tuwei video because Tuwei is quite different from the common definition of rural aesthetics which evolves natural scenes and organic lifestyle, but the “rural imitation” and ”rural appropriation” of an urban lifestyle that create these unique aesthetics. 
If you watch a lot of Tuwei videos, you may find some scenes that have clear pop culture references. Young boys dressing like gangster members and dancing on a square reminds you of Hong Kong gangster movies like Youth and Danger; A girl finding her boyfriend cheating on her and slapping him in the middle of the road reminds you of Korean soup operas; A swordsman fighting back some punks in the modern city is a mixture of time-travel drama and martial art movie; Children singing and using costume filters is inspired by some Chinese costume drama. All those imitations are on a low budget, and the rural scenes are often revealed in the background. I found this kind of imitation and appropriation of pop culture fascinating because I felt some ambiguous emotion in it. On one hand, the acting is exaggerated and scenes are cliche, which reveals content makers’ lack of skills and desire of getting attention, but on the other hand, the particular themes they imitated hint at their sincere emotional needs. The power of gang bosses and swordsmen is what they are longing for, while a relationship, even a failed one reflects the need for love —- Power and love are exactly what village teenagers are lack in real life. Such imitation of pop culture reflects Tuwei creators’ imagination of a fancy life, or more specifically, the imagination of urban life. So this is what Tuwei interested me most and this is how I define Tuwei: a rural version of urban life. And that’s why imitation and appropriation become the main theme of this project. 
The other interesting thing is how the meaning of Tuwei transits from the rural population to the urban population. Tuwei maybe means an emotional expression for the rural population, but the word was initially a negative word invented by social media users in the cities which satirizes the poor taste of rural people. However, a bunch of urban teenagers (and artists like me) found such unique aesthetics and tried to turn the negative judgment around. Tuwei, the aesthetics which appropriates city culture has been reintroduced to the city and has become a new kind of grassroots subculture. From this perspective, I found it interesting to compare Tuwei with other grassroots culture such as Punk and HipHop (But I’m pessimistic about Tuwei becoming the Chinese version of Punk or HipHop). 
Back to the visual work, I spent a lot of energy balancing “participation” and “analysis”. I want to keep the vitality of Tuwei culture, but don’t want my visual work to be too easy and obvious. The work is mainly composed of my own images participating in Tuwei aesthetics: trying a lot of filters, using special effects, and forming Chinese characters with my selfies. And I chose to hide my analysis in several parts: First, most importantly I categorize Tuwei appropriation into four genres: gangster movie, martial arts, soap operas, and costume drama. The second is comparing some movie clip references with the appropriated Tuwei ones. I also added more “rural” elements in the video by directly appropriating natural scenes Kuaishou users shot and by cutting out the still image of village buildings. What’s more, the sentences I showed in Chinese characters are mostly pop song lyrics, which express fragile sentiments.
The web installation version of Laser Rain is a part of De:Formal Gallery online residency program.