ReubenWu --   ReubenWu
Reality is the New Fiction
2018 American Odyssey
“I believe in the power of the imagination to remake the world, to release the truth within us, to hold back the night, to transcend death, to charm motorways, to ingratiate ourselves with birds, to enlist the confidences of madmen.”
- J.G. Ballard, writer

Reuben Wu is a multiskilled artist symptomatic of his generation who sees no borders nor limits in creative disciplines. Trained as an industrial design, he co-founded the synt-pop outfit Ladytron in early 2000s documenting the four members’ music tours. Travelling became a second nature and in his words, an addiction. And an analogue camera became the companion of his journey.

Something was still missing. “It was great, but music didn’t fully reward me. I knew there was an inner voice I wasn’t listening to.”

In 2011 Reuben Wu took a break from the band. Now he could focus on photography, ‘his solo project’. With his background in music production, he had the ability to mix sonic and visual experiences: ‘I never knew that would give me uniqueness. Photography is just a means of expression like music. Photography and travels were allowing me to explore places that people couldn’t have the chance to explore.’ He bought a digital camera and started adding motion to his still images. A music video commissioned by GE gives him a kick start to immerse himself in the creative ad industry. Unlike the directors he worked with in the past, Wu would set the music to lead the images: ‘That’s my style. I came to a point where I would make images with a very strong connection to audio. The type of moving images I’m making are short stories. They are fragments of films that haven’t been made yet. Alike a line from a poem, they are segments, fractals; incomplete. It can be a chord, a drone, it can be a motif.”

His ongoing series Lux Noctis is ‘influenced by a confluence of 19th century romantic painting and science fiction which is expressed in the dramatic ways each drone lights the earthen subjects from above.’ [source:]

Today Reuben Wu is once more setting himself at a new crossroad: “I’m in a place where I’m willing to go beyond photography. I see my art as a 3D experience. I have been thinking of a work as a 360 video or VR experience ––but even stating “VR” or “360” seems limiting in definition because it dictates specific equipment. Something that affects one’s sense of time and space, with the use of slow motion, time lapse, and distortion of time, space and scale. Sharing an experience unfamiliar while familiar. Alike Lux Noctis, where something familiar became alien.” He’s also interested in augmented reality that’s ‘more inclusive and organic, because you see with your eyes’.

Reuben faces an obstacle. Despite his background in design and engineering, he’s not yet savvy in these technics. And his aversion for directorial roles –– which he feels ‘awkward and selfish’, leave him hesitant: ‘It’s easier for me to work in my skillsets. When I do music and photography I don’t need to direct, I just do.'

Wu dreams of a new frontier where his empirical timeless experience of the desert could be completely shared with his audience ––the photography is for him just ‘a cut-out, a landscape painting’. And no doubts, Wu will transcend what he currently feels his limitations. If, once more Reuben is missing something, he stands at the edge of the circus in which his solar energy and spatial soundscape could finally traverse/transport our consciousness.
© Dandy Vagabonds 2018
Claudine Boeglin | Conception - Jérôme Guckenheim | Programming