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Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin enters virtual reality at Guggenheim

New exhibit features Lin in series focusing on contemporary Chinese culture

Jeremy Lin has moved into a new arena.

The Nets point guard is included in a new exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum that opens Friday and runs through October 21. The exhibit, One Hand Clapping, is the third in a series focused on contemporary Chinese culture.

“One Hand Clapping is an exhibition of five artists exploring our different notions and understandings of the future,” said curator Xiaoyu Weng. “Future here is not really by saying, ‘oh the artist is going to give us a vision of what the future looks like.’ Future is more like a static and philosophical pondering and really asking the question of humanity, where we’re going and where we’re coming from.”

Lin attended a reception at the museum on Thursday evening to get a look at the finished piece and meet the artist, Lin Yilin, for the first time.

“I definitely have started to think a little bit more about it as people are talking to me about it, being a part of this,” said Lin of his cultural impact. “What is my legacy, or even recently being in ESPN’s top 100 most influential players ever. But honestly, I feel like when it’s all said and done, when my career is over, I’m going to have done a lot more. So on the one end I do appreciate and can appreciate where I am today and what my legacy would be today. But I feel like in my mind I’m far from done, and that’s kind of how I try to approach all of these types of things.”

The artwork is entitled “Monad,” a three-piece work that features a representation of Lin in one section. Two of the pieces are video presentations that play on a loop on the arena walls, including one that features a basketball carried by a drone being dropped from the top of the museum’s atrium and filmed from multiple angles. The crucial third part is a 90-second virtual reality experience that museum-goers can partake in one at a time.

The viewer in the 360-degree VR experience has the point of view of the basketball, which is approached, picked up and handled by Lin. A sculptor and performance artists who embraces an interdisciplinary approach, this was Lin Yilin’s first original VR piece, having previously worked with a collaborator to transform an earlier piece for VR. After originally considering filming Lin with more traditional equipment, he opted for virtual reality.

“We’re really excited,” said Xiaoyu Weng of Jeremy Lin’s inclusion. “First of all, I think he’s really a heroic figure among Chinese Americans, Asian Americans. Second of all, it’s really fun just to involve people from different fields in an art exhibition at the Guggenheim. Thirdly, I think Lin Yilin, the artist, is really a big fan of Jeremy, like many other people. I’m very happy to help him fulfill this big dream in a way.”

“The Jeremy Lin story in New York is very inspirational. Lin Yilin is also in New York and he was watching TV and watching the Jeremy Lin story,” said an interpreter for the artist. “He’s interested in Jeremy Lin not only because he’s an NBA player but because he has many elements coming together, like he’s a Christian, he’s a Harvard grad, he has a very interesting, weird hairstyle. Everything coming together, and he wanted to incorporate this into his work.”

Jeremy Lin was filmed for the piece several months ago in Vancouver, surrounded by cameras from floor to ceiling in a small room for about an hour to 90 minutes. He got his look at the finished product on Thursday evening.

“I thought it was really cool,” said Lin. “Their whole concept of each person and being self-sustainable, I never really thought about what it’s like to be the ball and to kind of take that vantage point. But it was really interesting. I’m thinking about it right now. Even when you’re dribbling, the ball’s constantly spinning. What I was able to see as the ball, it was crazy because all of a sudden, you’re looking at the floor. I never really thought about that. I like things like that. I like artwork that causes you to think at a different level where it maybe gives you a glimpse into the artists’ mind and how he thinks.”

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