During the count-down fortnight to our inauguration exhibition (opening May 22), the FPC team had a series of studio meetings, dubbed ‘Studiologue’, in which we went through issues of artistic rigor of individual works, logistics, communication plans, display arrangement and so on, to the last possible details.
On May 11 (Tuesday), we met in the studio to get a general preview of the artworks each of us would present, matching concepts, purposes, display strategies and construction procedures. After that, I proposed the following guiding principles:
*simplicity of form, economy of presentation, tenacity of concept
*leave no component that is not integral to the concept: remove anything that is decorative and distracting audience from the core and the essential
*structure the experiential potentials of the work:
-consider the overall experience we want our audience to receive/enact
-what is the work’s immediate point of contact (IPC) with the visitors? How do we characterize that first contact?
-are there steps leading from the initial contact to the ultimate experience?
-what’s the narrative or trajectory of that proces
In Jolene’s work, Pianovel, I noticed that the IPC demanded should be the audience’s immediate recognition of the similarity in outlook of the object in the photo and the TV set (step 1), then their realization of the differences (texture, content) (step 2) and corelation on a deep level (content of the video) (step 3). In the context, the comparative size of the two components is critical – are they in contrast, in competition, or analogical? … Or, should the IPC be the sound coming from the video as sound overcomes distance and envelops space?
In Lilian’s video-animation, Imagining My Grandmother, we need space in front of it to slow down the audience for attention. The next question is: how should she define the relation between the projection and the sculpture, Black Box of Soul? The two components encompass two kinds of seeing and two kinds of hearing/listening. Is there any procedural drama from one to the other? Which comes first, and what’s next? Or is it a cyclic relation that binds the two, i.e. they channel the visitors back and forth, moving them between the two components? Since the projection has sound, how should we place the speakers? In fact, quite a few works have sound, including Jolene’s and mine. How do we design the clusters of sound so they form a meta-audio narrative as visitors move through the exhibition space? We forsee a tough time to orchestrate sound once all the works are properly installed.
For now, the most prominent aspect of Yu-tsz’s work, Wash Your Hands Before Eating, is the meticulous documentation of a few housewives’ hands at work with raw ingredients, getting dinner ready for the family. The videos themselves are captivating. In strategizing her project’s display, she is yet to answer a few key questions. What is the key experience involved? Watching the hands? Studying the kitchen tools? Since this work has no sound, I assume the visitors should feel totally drawn to the micro processes of food preparation, which then lead them to the sketches surrounding the videos, whereby the context as well as information best presented in written text will be provided. What’s the IPC? What are the ‘steps’ of experience? What are the potential components of distraction?
In these conversations, we aim to develop a routine in which the completion of the media components is only 60% of the work done, whereas on-location experiments (the other 40%) are the defining moments for a work’s character to evolve.
(Linda C.H. Lai)