AUTOR is a story imagined and built by passionate people, who inspire through creativity, vision and courage. We want you to discover one of the #peopleofAUTOR and let them enchant you with their story and their creations. See you at AUTOR Fair, Bucharest.
London born and based jewellery artist Michelle Lung is a recent graduate from the BA Jewellery Design Course at Central Saint Martins. Particularly interested in incorporating ideas around digital culture and the untouchability of the virtual world that is ever-consuming our lives, she tries to represent this non-physical phenomenon in the form of typical jewellery forms that are normally so reliant on the opposite of physical materiality, form and aesthetics.
The participation in AUTOR implies a rigorous selection process, a collection dedicated to the event and a lot of work. What can you tell us about the collection with which you participate in the fair?
My collection “Digital desires” explores the untouchability of the digital technology we are so reliant on today. I draw similarities between the preciousness we place on our digital data, and ideas of value and materiality in jewelry. Can our idea of what is beauty and value change in the digital age? Is it still placed on materiality and physicality as is typical in jewelry? In my pieces, a physical image of an object is visible within clear layers of laser cut acrylic, however the side view reveals it is all an illusion where it is just made of negative space. Where the empty image meets the real physical material in my pieces, they represent a dip between reality and virtual reality, physical and non-physical. Although the wearer may appear to “wear” the pieces on the body, they can never make direct skin contact with the image within, just like how we cannot reach out and touch our data.
What does it mean for you to be present at AUTOR?
It is exciting to be able to not only present my pieces to a wider and more global audience, but also be there in person to explain and just talk about my pieces in person. Seeing jewelry behind glass in an exhibition for example limits the work to be interpreted by the viewer from afar, mostly based on aesthetics and what they can see. But me being there allows the audience to interact, wear and explore the jewelry both visually and conceptually in person as I believe jewelry should be.
The concept of this year’s fair is “Beauty never sleeps“. What does beauty mean to you and how did this artistic creation influence your concept?
I am fascinated with the idea of beauty; how subjective it can be, how it is such a vital part of jewelry and how it is possibly changing in the digital age today. That is why it really influences my work. People are always attracted to their idea of beauty, and in jewelry beauty has been traditionally tied to material, craftsmanship and value, but I am exploring how our constant obsession to non-physical digital data and technology might change these ideas of physical beauty. Investigating this, I hope my work gives a glimpse into the future of what we call “beauty” in the digital age.
Nowadays, attention spans are getting shorter day by day. How does contemporary jewelry reflect today’s society?
As attention spans get shorter, I feel the attachment to objects of value and sentiment such as jewelry also gets shortened. People move on to the next trend quickly, and so I think a lot of contemporary jewelry now spends less time focusing on the craftsmanship but has been sacrificed for faster means of production, instead favouring more trendy concepts and designs to stay on trend. It doesn’t necessarily mean it is a bad change, but it has definitely evolved jewelry and ideas of beauty and value.
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