Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Liu Bolin, The Invisible Man . . . and 9/11

Liu Bolin is the Invisible Man. He creates astonishing photographs of himself painted to blend in with the surroundings.

The 36-year-old Chinese artist has made quite a name for himself lately, boasting several recent Yahoo articles and an exhibition of his work at the Eli Klien Fine Art Gallery in New York City.

Liu Bolin is an artistic genius. He's also a fraud. The following animated gif alternates between two of Liu's recent works, depicting him in the infamous Tiananmin Square.

(click to enlarge)

In one frame he's allegedly painted himself to replace the portrait of Mao, and to match the arched gateway underneath. In the other frame, he stands further back, and blends into the wall. Notice, however, that the flags and the other people are identical in the two shots. They could not possibly have been photographed at two different times. This is irrefutable evidence that Liu has simply used photoshopping techniques to create his startling effect, at least in these two photos.

This is no great discovery on my part, I'm merely pointing out the obvious. Liu is no amateur. He didn't have to give the game away like this. He could easily have just used two different background pictures, instead of the same one twice. He understands that his trickery would be exposed by a comparison of these two images. He clearly wants us to "see through" what he's doing.

What of the people at the Eli Klien Gallery? Are they among the deceived, or the deceivers? Everyone knows that Photoshop would be a much easier method of achieving the Invisible Man effect than actually painting a person. And by the way, according to the story, Liu doesn't do the painting himself anyway, it is done by "an assistant". If any of Liu's art really is accomplished with actual painting, then a good deal of the artistic credit should go to the painter. However, I am sincere when I call Liu a genius.

There is surely fakery taking place, and I believe this is the important part of Liu's message. He is challenging us to contemplate the validity of what is presented to us in the media. He and the Eli Klien Gallery are inspiring us to see through it, while being bombarded with messages that the work is legitimate. Get it? The point is to test your ability to believe falsehoods when the truth is plain to see.

And so it was with 9/11. In case you haven't seen "9/11 - The Great American Psy-Opera", you should.

In particular, Chapter 7 "The Key", presents overwhelming evidence and explanation for why we know that the 9/11 airplane videos were faked using video compositing. Both the 9/11 airplanes and Liu Bolin's art present examples of the extraordinary ability of people to deny the truth when it conflicts with a belief system propagated by media. This phenomenon is called "cognitive dissonance". Artists who dare to provoke cognitive dissonance are my favorites. How about you?

(9/11 - The Great American Psy-Opera is rated CG for Cognitive Dissonance).