- What is a Question?
It is difficult to define what a question is in commonly understood descriptive terms. We cannot deny the importance of questioning or of posing questions. On the contrary, such activity is everywhere. In the process of seeking questions, one must focus attention as if treading on thin ice, for the system of human perception is not yet complete. The “Grand Unification Theory” in physics has not been found, and when it is found, is very likely to produce yet another set of questions in turn. Therefore, the question is difficult to define. We can probably attempt an answer to the question “What is a question” only from two directions: by approaching the question of the question negatively, through a negative dialectics; or by using recursive logic (as it is defined in computer science) to enable the question to define itself.
In general science, all questions can be considered to be attempts to find answers. But I consider art to function inversely, as the production of open-ended questions. Whereas classical art often describes a situation plainly, reflecting the mind of civilians of the age (as in the works of Jean-François Millet, for instance), contemporary art often narrates or connects one set of questions to another. Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain famously confronted art circles of the early twentieth century with the question of whether this—this urinal, soliciting our attention—could be considered as art. We can say that the work itself is a question.
The majority of such questions are interwoven into a huge network. If we answer a question directly, then it will generate a lot of other questions. So in response to the direction of the first paragraph, what I consider a question in art can be summarized by this sentence: “The question begins when a question becomes the question.”
LIEN-CHENG WANG is a Taiwanese independent artist and code educator whose works involve the use of interactive devices with real-time sound performances. He has won awards at the Digital Art Festival Taipei (2009), Taipei ArtAward, the ROC National Art Exhibition, and a GRAME Residency in Lyon, France. His work has been shown at numerous festivals and art exhibitions, including the New Technological Art Awards 2016, Zebrastraat, Ghent, Belgium; National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Regeneration Movement Exhibition, Taichung; the Transjourney Future Media Festival, Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei; Radio433 Niú Zhāng Zhī sound art performance, Ars Electronica Center, Linz, Austria; and the Beijing Traditional Music Festival/China Conservatory, Beijing, China.