I have realized since I made the remarks previous to these that I failed utterly to view Hang's work through the lenses I have so carefully contructed, trame and the idea of "network." So I thought about that.
My first thought was that these pictures are almost astonishing in how little they refer to anything outside the frame. The are fully self contained, each is entirely a little world. My next thought was that they might therefore just as well be paintings. Which leads to my third thought which was good lord there's no way these things could be paintings which leads, tangentially perhaps, into the notion of network.
These pictures are entirely about the situation of being photographed. The subjects are all exquisitely conscious of being photographed, often making direct eye contact, and almost invariably posed very very obviously For The Camera. These things are practically selfies. It is entirely about the fact that there were really one or more actual naked people out there being photographed. As paintings or drawings they would be bad graffiti, at best, and completely different. As a photograph the mildly lurid reality of the set becomes real, it comes home to us.
While I don't think this makes them good as such, because it still seems to be a young man without any ideas beyond twitting the puritans and making visual jokes. But it certainly makes them extremely photographic and goes a long way toward helping us understand the Art World's fascination with the work. These are a powerful expression of the modern selfie-generation photography. These things wouldn't exist without social media, and would make a lot less sense without social media as a backdrop. Even the geometric groupings of naked girls could be, with a bit of stretching, be considered a nod to the standard "6 drunk girls throwing peace signs at a party" picture that infests Facebook and so on.
The intense self-consciousness is, I think, the thing that drives Hang's pictures if anything does. And that, well, I think that's kind of interesting. It certainly separates him from Richardson and his ilk, who seem to be striving for a "oh dear me, I am being photographed, what a surprise" flavor.