Fuse, Aug. 1997, v. 20, no. 4, pp. 39-40
Using Hong Kong's return to China as a sort of Catylist, curator Mary Sui Yee Wong gathers four female artists of chinese descent for (Be)Longing. Each incorporate notions of the influence of technology on their lives and work. Yau Ching interviews seven individuals for her Diasporama: Dead Air, examining the change of cultural identity for Chinese citizens that results from moving away. The medium itself and undercurrent of the changing British colonial rule are questioned. In I Can Only Talk to Strangers About it, a projection of the artist hitting the top of her head is reflected from a mirror into a latex lift of artist Ellen Pau's body, suggesting complex ideas of technology's inability to mediate the human experience, and ultimately the difficulty of explaining roots and culture when forced to be part of a diasporic community. Xu Li Young uses electronic sensors to read and create sounds from a massage given to a model, which is then digitized into sound based on the DNA structure of HIV. This in turn is blended with readings from the I Ching, resulting in a literal combination of traditional Chinese culture and the implications of technology in its ability to express or represent sexuality. Finally, Laiwan's She Who Had Scanned The Flower of The World's Manhood, uses fresh vegetation mounted in slides and a digital print of the same image to show the disparity between the two as the fresh vegetation rots. The digital technology is thus incapable of capturing the true essence of the fresh vegetation. Ultimately, this collection of work reflects a collapse of cultural identity even more closely tied to technology and globalization than any particular notion of Hong Kong and its historic handover. The sense of longing is no longer tied to geographic cultural identity, but rather a transient, technological one.
ITEM 1997.099 – available for viewing in the Research Centre
Videos, Artworks and Artists Cited
Diasporama: Dead Air – Yau Ching
I Can Only Talk to Strangers About It – Ellen Pau
Kuei Mei (Converting Maidenhood) – Xui Li Young
She Who Had Scanned The Flower of The World's Manhood – Laiwan