Xinyi Ren Score: Trace

by | Oct 15, 2021 | Artwork #1: Score, Projects


Turn on your computer

Fix a piece of paper on the mouse pad

Tape a pen to the mouse

Start playing games

Change the paper or stop when you want to stop

Observe the path of your mouse movement while playing the game recorded on the paper


Artist Statement

My inspiration comes from Yoko Ono’s grapefruit. The book’s content is simple and straightforward, but readers can feel a kind of romance and sincerity. These “Poems” are discovered from every corner of life, and even some unobtrusive things can be given important significance, which makes me choose to observe one of my most common things in life from an unnoticed angle. So I began to observe the computer keyboard and mouse because these are the props I use every day. After a long time of use, I found that several commonly used keys on my keyboard were obviously worn out, but I usually don’t notice that I often use them during play.

The results of these almost unconscious behaviors may be more evident than I thought. I want to use a visual way to record the use of the mouse. People will find that the mode of mouse movement in different game activities is also different, and there is a significant gap in the length and density of lines presented by high DPI and low DPI settings. Even if you play the same game on the same device, results can vary from person to person. At the same time, I think this will also change the behavior of “playing video games,” from short-term preservation to long-term preservation, from personal experience to an art form that others can understand.

When I was doing this score, it gave me a new understanding of my subconscious actions. When I was fully focused on the game, my actions were not what I thought they would be afterward. I originally thought that the moving track of the mouse should be smooth and coherent, but in fact, most of the turning points are stiff and sudden. At the same time, in the game, I pause the mouse in several specific areas more frequently than I thought. When I perform this score on the same game again after a period of time, the pictures composed of these separate and broken lines look very similar to the last time. From this I sensed a pattern hidden beneath the randomness, which is a very wonderful experience.