It is neither this nor that. 2016-2017

Photo documentation of the installation It's neither this nor that at VCA MFA graduation exhibition 2017 at VCA Student Gallery. Photography by Janelle Low.  


It's neither this nor that is an artistic research project that I have undertaken during the two year course of Master of Fine Art from 2016 to 2017. In this project, I seek for material and spatial representation of the 'in-between' cultural position. This project is concluded with an installation and a reflective paper.  The installation consists of several multimedia works that I created during the research, including The National Anthem of AO-SSU-CH'IU-LEE-A. A Karaoke video; Just call me JO (sculpture); A cooking lesson of making steam hot crossbuns. (two channel video); Large candle coils (sculpture and videos); How many German dishes ought I to cook to became a German?How many German jokes ought I to know to be more German? (two channel video); Takeaway-Stayaway (LED light); Stubby covers for Chinese crockery (Sculpture). 

This research, drawn from my own experiences as both an immigrant and a tourist, investigates the cultural space of ‘in-between’. I explore the possibility of demarcating this in-between position by working with culturally disparate objects and images to create temporary material artefacts. By constructing an installation, I ask if the unhinged and dislocated cultural experience of the in-between can be transposed to other people.

Using everyday objects, images, languages and commonly practiced activities, I locate four intercultural events, and their related scenarios, in the form of sculpture, videos and performance. Each scenario depicts a propositional mode of cross cultural interaction. Through this creative process, the ideas of the in-between transpire from the dynamic articulation and representation of culture difference. In this research, language, human body, material form and geographic sites are perceived as various forms of cultural representation, manipulated to construct cultural conflicts and negotiation. Incidents, such as, phonetic translation, transformation of one’s cultural identity, the appropriation of the existing products and the human intervention of a geographic site, present as the interruption in the signification process of the existing cultural forms. These reveal the openings in the linguistic structure, the idea of the Self, material composition and the cultural identity of a place. Through these openings, the in-between is represented with the notion of cultural hybridity as a unique place of forming culture and the Self.

*This video documentation is filmed by Takeshi Kondo and edited by Siying Zhou. 

'BAD TRANSLATION': The National Anthem of AO-SSU-CH'IU-LEE-A. a Karaoke video. 

'INCONGRUITY': Stubby cosies. 

'INCONGRUITY': Candle coils.  

'A SELF IN LIMBO': How many German food ought I to cook to become an German? How many German jokes ought I to know to be more German?

'A SELF IN LIMBO': Just Call Me JO. 

'A PLACE MADE IN ARBITRARY': A cooking lesson of making steam hot cross buns. 

'A PLACE MADE IN ARBITRARY': An Uncanny Serenity.

OTHER ELEMENTS: Takeaway-stayaway.

A reflective writing on It is neither this nor that

Click here to read it. 

Using Format