Yin-Ju Chen is preoccupied with dissecting historiographies that are both minute and astral in scale. She makes use of sacred geometry, astrological forecasts, and tarot decks to acknowledge circuits of violence and corruption at psychosocial and systemic levels amid rising totalitarianisms and unfinished imperialisms.
Shamanic ritual drumming induces an altered state of consciousness and has historically served the purposes of social cohesion, grief, and healing in diverse indigenous and communal settings. The mapping of mental journeys while immersed in acoustic pulsation and deep meditation is rarely attempted, but in their collaborative project, Yin-Ju Chen and shaman Li-Chun Lin (Marina) dive into their knowledge of drumming techniques to study traditional forms of spirituality. Deeply engaged with visualizations of extracorporeal journeys in mystical territories and cosmic visions of intangible realities that extend far beyond the boundaries of conventional mind-body relations, their explorations probe the thresholds of consciousness.
Sonic Driving (2018–21) questions the madhouse of rationality via the methods of “core shamanism” that were originated, researched, and developed by Dr. Michael Harner. With repetitive drumming, the work visualizes a tripartite collective reality: the upper world appears in video footage shot in Mongolia and Lake Baikal, evoking a world where the Tengri, the chief deity worshipped by Turks, Mongols, and Magyars across the Central Asian steppe, made human beings who at first lived happily and knew neither suffering nor sickness. The middle world, channeled through a tunnel of reverberations, is the dimension in which “right” and “wrong” emerge and humans coexist with ghosts, ancestors, and spirits. The lower world is portrayed in luminous drawings of a journey into the realm of animal wisdom. Sonic Driving not only sheds light on the possibilities of self-experience and the subjective demarcation of the self from others and collective reality but also shares insights into the future of humanity through the consultation and guidance of oracular spirits. In an age when subjectivities are formed through globalized digital technologies, this work corresponds with sacred intelligence between worlds.