Cultural influence in a big contributing factor to the whole construct of my body of work. Having been living in a hybrid cultural community of Hong Kong and now moving to New York, not only the diversity of customs and traditions but also the emergence of more different characters that bred from cultural hybridity inspires me a lot. Which geared most of my works into exploring the theme of identity in a generation where the world is converging together.
The theme of identity and cultural influences is still recurring in most of my works produced in this semester, but has progressed in a way that I have expanded the whole spectrum of different issues that I am exploring under this big category of culture. Conceptually, my style of works still remains the same, in terms of my method of executing my ideas and ways of interacting with audiences. Which is focusing on a small aspects of a bigger issue which I wanted to bring out from each work, and I would still make sure each work would prompt audiences to think or know something more about the idea I am conveying. In terms of the method of executing the ideas, I explored more different mediums comparing to the start of this semester. I moved beyond illustrating with pencils and inks, and have challenged myself with doing more digital works, which i have gained new skills and knowledge about designing programs such as illustrator an photoshop, I have also challenged myself by doing more video based works.
Out of all the works I have produced in my first semester, the most memorable ones would be “Personal Currency” from drawing class (Currency design) and “Super Chinkie” from Time class (Animated video piece).
In this project I took the approach of depicting two contrasting places that was valuable to me an has heavy influence in shaping my value system. On one side it shows the industrial building where the studio I share with my friend is located in. It is a place where I built and developed my own ideas and thoughts, the things that are most valuable to me, and can best represent my value system. The creative process that I get to share with my friend/ partner is something I treasure a lot and also something that I couldn’t find anywhere else in Hong Kong. On the other side of the bill shows my school back in Hong Kong. It depicts a place with opposing values of mine, which has as much of a significance as the other side although it does not reflect my personal values, because I would not truly know what I value until I experienced the contradictory.
Comparing the two sides of the bill, the land with lower values has much more of a significance to me over the land with higher values. Hence, represented by the different currency used on both sides, where the side with my studio would be in US currency and the side with my school is in Hong Kong currency to signify the difference in value. In my opinion this reflects the reality of Hong Kong community’s tendency to overlook true values in the society and would always gravitate to superficial attainment. Hong Kong to me feels very much like a cultural desert, as the city progresses it lost it’s own culture and has transformed into another homogenised city. Depicted by the empty can patterns, the exterior of the can is existing, like the glamorous urban development of Hong Kong, but the inside remains empty, as nobody pays attention to the interior. This depicts the lifelessness of Hong Kong, a community that feels like a bait or a lie of some sort to me, where it looks like it is well developed, but actually deteriorating. But on the contrary, in the part of the city where it is physically deteriorating and was being left behind of this rapid development, I found a space where I could create my own work and have a partner to work together with to bring life into this place. It feels empowering to me.
“Time” is fluid and linear in public’s understanding because it is understood under the
notion that time passing would mean something has changed and it cannot be undone. In the society’s point of view, we often evaluate time with “developments”, changing for the better. If changing did not benefit the society we would associate that as going a step backwards in time. In this project I’m trying to tackle the existing social problems in the modern society in my point of view, to challenge the idea of time, and development in the social aspect by creating a simulation of a world that has no time, but only spaces in attempt to explain the happenings of the society. Racism is going to be the social issue that would be focused on in this project.
The whole piece is built upon three ideas extracted from “Einstein’s Dream”. The revolving ideas include how time has multiple splits and realities, it moves in loops and it brings order. Where as time passes everything would be restored, so everything that happened is basically an individual event and there is no cause and effect in this simulation of this world. Adding on the idea that time does not move in linear but circular motion, everyday, every moment would just be a loop that would always happen again. In consideration of all the possibilities that could happen in an event, the idea of different possibilities are all just different versions of realities will be brought in. Where there of course would be variables within the events that are happening again and again in all the different possibilities and realities, but the main event remains unchanged. Thereby putting audiences in a perspective of a human that lives simultaneously in all possible realities, where there would be no concept of “time”, as time does not progress, there is no future or past but just possibilities and realities that could happen in the same space.
This idea takes inspiration from a character in movie “Man In Black III” where he has the ability to coexist in all different timelines in the space he is in. The script that says “Where there is death, there will always be death” particularly inspired my idea of creating different versions of the reality that leads to the same result of an event. This is reflective of a lot of social issues, but particularly racism in this case. Negative social issues perpetuates in the society, as the society develops and progress the same issue of racism remains and kept happening in different forms. This project intends to depict what seem to be a rapidly progressing world’s incapability to solve social issues like racism to develop beyond a superficial level, by raising the question of has time that was gone really worthwhile and had made the developments that we wanted to happen, when the events of social issues still remains. Or did human race barely progress at all after all this time?
The video will be presented in the form of commercial. The selling product, an energy drink, is going to be named miracle. The commercial would show the mario game replaced by characters I made loosing the game, as a result selling the energy drink to aid the character to get to the end point of the mario course. Voiceover of interviewee recounting their racial discrimination encounters would anchor with the state of the character in the game, and the character would lose in different ways each time the interviewee is being discriminated racially. Drinking the energy drink “miracle” to finish the course is a satirical representation of only miracle can solve this social issue of racism, which is very unlikely to happen. This method of depicting the work shows the repetitiveness and the way social issues perpetuates in the society, amplifying the effect of challenging if developments were really made.
Although having a recurring and strong theme throughout all my works creates a consistency and ties my body of work together, I would also like to move out of this comfort zone of exploring ideas I am familiar with and try exploring some other aspects of my interest.