2 August 2024

Nanyang academy of fine arts

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Video on Demand

2 August 2024, 10:15 - 10:30


Benedict Yu

In times of conflict and upheaval, global communities undergo immense dispersion. In 2023, Benedict Yu embarked on a three-month artistic residency at SomoS Berlin, where he engaged with 27 Berlin-based volunteers to share about their personal narratives of diasporic journeys and the challenges of having been forcefully displaced from home; seeking shelter in Berlin.

Employing Virtual Reality (VR) technology, Benedict meticulously documented, translated, and interpreted these volunteers' accounts, subsequently creating a collection of digital visuals. VR Spirituality seeks to encapsulate the collective voices of these individuals by creatively presenting each volunteer's body, mind, and spirit in VR to build a long-lasting virtual community.

Notably, within this cohort, three individuals were from Ukraine. They obtained temporary protection status under Paragraph 24, seeking refuge in Germany. Respecting their anonymity, the VR space aims to create a safe gathering environment for communal healing. By providing a platform for their narratives to exist and resonate with a broader audience. In this video, Benedict will share his experiences throughout his residency with different groups of volunteers, facilitating shared meals and dialogue across the three months. These interactions naturally nurtured bonds of solidarity and empathy,culminating in their sharing. Benedict will also discuss his decision to utilise the medium of VR for his project, as he has observed its development undergoing rapid growth.

Visual Art Practitioner based between Singapore, Taiwan, and Berlin Benedict Yu is a transdisciplinary art practitioner who explores the circulation of the spiritual and the sensual through virtual reality and automatic drawings. He constructs numerous versions of virtual sanctuary to house the ongoing question, “How to practice spirituality in the virtual/digital world?”