SUN Yu-Li's preferred one-line Obituary reads as 'The First Man to Scale the Mount Everest of our Inner World.' -- Yes he is as profound as profound can be, yet he remains to be wonderfully simple in his intentions. Like a feel-good movie that leaves you refreshed and hopeful in the end, the legacy he intends to leave is one of understanding: De-coding the theory of everything in order to find the meaning of life.
In this interview, this Architect-Artist, Philosopher Sun Yu-Li talks about his artworks, Mapping the Universe and his work on the Universal Language.
FULL NAME: SUN, Yu-li
PLACE OF BIRTH: Nanking, China
AGE: 60 (Born 1948)
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Singapore
FAMILY: WIFE Kuok, LeeLee; DAUGHTER Sun, Yining; SON Sun, Youning
EDUCATION: Master of City Planning, University of Illinois, USA; Master of Architecture, Catholic University of America, Washington D.C., USA
CAREER: Architect, New South Wales, Australia; Architect, Taiwan, ROC; but gradually stopped practicing since 1985, and became full time artist since 1989.
Your discovery of a Universal Language is the most intriguing thing we've heard of in years, please share to us more about that.
Einstein called it The Grand Unification Theory, Stephen Hawking called it the Theory of Everything; both firmly believed that there is an underlining uniformed framework behind it all, which shapes the process of mankind gaining consciousness and comprehension, forms the fundamental platform to hold all knowledge fields together; to make human communication possible..
Hawking said in 1990, "...Theory of Everything will be found in 10 years. Once it is discovered, people will realize it is not ten pages of formulas, it can be as simple as one concept/one formula..." Hawking was asked in year 2,000. "Ten year is up, Professor, where is the Theory?"... Answered Hawking "there are only two possibilities: It is found but we do not know where it is; or ten years start counting from today..."
Out of the millions of theories, formulas ... mankind has attained in the past 5,000 years, which is the one? It is elusive and mind twisting, even Einstein and Hawking failed to pinpoint.
I penned the Universal Language (UL) down in 1994, under the caption 'Formal Language of the Metaphysical'
What about 'Mapping the Universe', can you give us the basics of that concept?
As a not-so-smart youth, for over 30 years I was questing for an aloof, blur and remote dream... I was lonely, helpless and frightened all the time. But, every time I was at a crossroad, magical encounters happened... This sustained my courage to move forward. I made the major breakthrough in 1981.
When I decided to devote all my time to the UL, I needed to be somebody,...but what do I do? Why don't I paint my UL and use my UL concept to do my sculptures? I was poor in Art since I was young, but the moment I decided to be an artist, I can paint and do sculptures overnight. Looking at the first few paintings and sculptures of 20 years ago, it is of no difference from what I do today.
As for Mapping the Universe, I just walked onto 10mx10m canvas and start using UL to paint. "From a Grain of Sand, One Sees the Universe". If one can understand the underlining rules of the Universe, scaling up from a grain of sand to the Universe is within reach.
Collectors walked onto my painting and cut off and buy the part they like. The portrait of MonaLisa cannot be sold by parts, but my Mapping of the Universe can. Since, any small part of my painting is a part of the realization of the Universe.
You are an Architect by profession, how was the transition like into the Artist that you are today? Was it a big transition if at all?
Architectural training is all important. My first breakthrough 40 years ago, came from the Kevin Lynch book "Image of the City". It was a book in space theory.
If I went through any other training, I would have definitely missed the UL altogether...
Your work seems very complex. If a regular person were to view your sculptures, the comprehension is only of that feeling that you are viewing something incredibly profound. Can you help explain that about your work?
The Universal Language is about dot, line, plane and volume-basic conceptual elements of geometric space; Lynch and Norberg Schultz pointed out other sets of elements are hollow dots , hollow lines, hollow planes and hollow volume. But the most evasive question was to find the stringing rule of the elements to make it into a language.
Behind the complexity it is really so simple, one concept and one rule-in simple term, 'One Has to Come In to Arrive'. A Scholar on the quest said once it is found, people will be stunned and say "it is so simple and easy, how can it be otherwise..."
Your researches on Space and Time elements and Metaphysical forms and language suggests that you're far more than the usual Aesthetics Artist. Would we be right to go on as to say you are a Philosopher and Scientist as well?
Questing for the ultimate answer, being in Art is not sufficient. After understanding the intention of Art, one has to move forward quickly. It is a long way ahead...
Tell us about your song, “Give Me a Dot, I Revolve the World"
Descartes said this, which cannot be more true. It embodied the intention of UL perfectly. I am dreaming a true Musical for Singapore.
Singapore is called "a little Red Dot", but so what? We can revolve the world when we have people like Michael Ma, Sim Wong Foo, Ho Kwan Ping.... all on the path of revolving world. The People's Association on their 50-year celebration hinted to me the possibly of my involvement. I will use 'little red dot' to be the Musical title, with 5-6 sub-themes, featuring the names I mentioned (plus some unknown but silently contributing people, teachers, taxi drivers...). All music will radiate from this melody and lyrics. I am working with The Ark production House.
How did song-writing come about for you? And would you like to do more of that in the future?
Songs, Musicals, performances, Art... are all my tools to achieve my Greatest Dream, to let UL prevail. Once known to mankind, it will be a true shake up of all knowledge fields. Artificial Intelligence, Information Technology, super computer, etc will all be re-created. I need to catch attention of the right people, and be heard. I am waiting for the day to come...
What were you like as a child?
Smart and lively like all kids, but a major brain inflammation at 9 almost took my life. I have extremely poor memory since, but some mysterious button was pressed in my brain...I think.
A person who discovered a Universal Language and attempts to map the universe, we are curious to know, what is your IQ score?
I do not know but I bet you it is low. Interesting to say, the answer is not embedded deep in Science, Math, Linguistic, Physics.... Contrary to all the greatest minds of mankind, the concept is based on the simplest starting ABCs of respective fields. I have discovered nothing, I just string together the ABC rules of Topology, Linguistic, Geometry, Space theories, Metaphysics.
What do have to say about the Universal Langauge with respect to Religion?
Einstein and Hawking are both very religious. They clearly know, it is not a competition with The Creator. The ultimate goal of mankind is to understand the meaning of life and where we are from, where we are going. Brilliant minds around the world are being stretched to the limit to find the answer. Answers, short of finding the Theory, have well been discovered. Aristotle, Greek Philosopher, Theory of Thoughts (A is A, A is not A, A is B) scaled the peak 2,500 years ago. UL is the mechanism fusing Theory of Thoughts to all knowledge fields. Together they complete the ultimate quest.
After Theory of Thoughts and UL, mankind is standing simply and unpretentiously against nature, and uttering the one and only statement" I finally know something for sure....there are forever things we are not sure"
Mankind has secured Reality finally, but it is the formal representation of the "Reality", Reality is still elusive as ever...
To read more about Sun Yu-Li and his work, visit www.sunyuli.com