Super(im)position is an editing technique that Youjia Lu developed through her ongoing video experiments. It involves rapid intercutting between two tracks of video self-portraits resulting in an optical illusion in which two separate images appear to be layered on top of one another.
Artistically, by disrupting the perception/reception of a video self-portrait, Super(im)position aims to evoke an immediate experience of the indeterminate condition of the Self.
Conceptually, Super(im)position proposes a connection between the visual technique of Superimposition and the quantum theory of Superposition. Superimposition allows two overlapping images to coexist as indeterminate spectres in one frame, whereas Superposition permits two antagonistic states to coexist in an indeterminacy until a direct observation takes place.
By visually interconnecting the notions of Superimposition and Superposition, Super(im)position further questions the definition of ‘Self’ when its states of actuality/virtuality, unity/fragmentation, annihilation/regeneration become indeterminate yet coexist in the medium of video art.
Visual technique of Superimposition: ‘[t]he simultaneous appearance of two or more images over one another in the frame.’ ¹
Quantum Superposition: particles at a quantum level (atom or photon) can exist as a connected wave/particle duality (‘wave function’) of multiple potential states corresponding to the different possible outcome. According to Physicist Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg (in the Copenhagen Interpretation), a quantum system remains in a superposition until it interacts with, or is observed by, the external world. The act of observation could be considered as causing the superposition of the multiple potential states to collapse into one definite state.²
¹ Ira Konigsberg, The Complete Film Dictionary (Dutton Adult, 1997), p.363
² Werner Heisenberg, “Über Den Anschaulichen Inhalt Der Quantentheoretischen Kinematik Und Mechanik,” in Original Scientific Papers Wissenschaftliche Originalarbeiten (Springer, 1985).