Nowadays people strongly feel the pressure of living under other people’s gaze.

Born 1971, Jinan, Shandong

Sun Lei—a poet and a Kafka fan—finds modern life deeply disturbing. “Our age is filled with overstimulation,” he says. “This makes us numb and erases our sensitivity.” In Clarity (2009), he presents a suitcase and its contents as they might appear on an airport security scanner, except that all the items are three-dimensional. A shirt, underpants, a laptop, a mobile phone, a bottle of vodka, a condom, cash and, intriguingly, three handguns: everything is made of clear plastic, as if the scanner has rendered them permanently transparent. The artist’s concerns are not confined to airport security; in a high-tech world, he says, surveillance is much more pervasive than that. We are “constantly scanned and assessed like pieces of luggage. Even mobile phones render us perpetually ‘visible’, reachable by others. … Everything about our lives is transparent, including ourselves.”

Close Menu