Exercise Living : We Are Not Performing
- Action Video
When you think you are eating a chicken drumstick that you cannot see, are you still eating a drumstick? We have grown more and more accustomed to seeing newfangled things and ideas anytime in this world. Through the Internet, media and the streets we walk on daily, consumerism feeds us its imagination of the future world and shapes our life and behavior. We even need to have a bite of fried chicken via the smooth layer of advertisement screen. As we sit behind the transparent glass of the convenient stores, using their free internet in the acclimatized space, we are unaware that our lives have been undergoing a transformative prediction. Our living experience and our ways of savoring life have been slowly manipulated and contained by certain media experiences, through which we take in other people’s imagination and internalize it as part of our own lives. Eventually, we even convert ourselves into part of the media, reveling in the rush of controlling the world and grasping the power of having the ability to destroy a stranger’s life in an unknown place by pressing one button on social media. This interface hinders physical perceptions, such as warmth and coldness, yet it boils people’s mind and blood with everything that goes on in the virtual world—the intertwined, collective consciousness that becomes our passion of life; however, are we able to savor life through it?
For these performance videos, I have chosen a few quotidian scenes that we are all familiar with, and transformed them into sites of performance through actions. The people in the videos seem to have taken part in the performance, however, they are just ordinary passers-by. The reality in the window and the display outside of it form an ambiguous, paradoxical and perplexing combination. Whether it is the name brand display windows or the electronic media, they have produced a channel for us to convey our “daily performances.” The living experiences displayed in the shop windows are mere products of imagination; nevertheless, when such imagination becomes pervasive in our life, any living experience seems like a performance. Whether it is a person performing playing games with his daughter by the floor-to-ceiling window at home, or someone selling fish balls via live streaming on Facebook, or a Taiwanese grandpa or grandma taking a nap in a convenient store for the entertainment of pedestrians on the streets.
As if living in virtual reality, we seem to be living our lives in an uncanny world when our perception is not to be trusted: we have constructed a way of perception with the media and examine ourselves through it. When we cannot perceive our real desire, is what we experience simply something simulated by our perception? The longing for a fit physicality mends the lack people experience in reality; the confidence of strutting down the streets when wearing name brands comes from the imagination constructed by those brands; the air conditioners seem much cooler when they are sold via live streaming online; big data can tell you how many slices of ham one eats will cause oil price to rise. Taking a look at our lives, we have been performing other people’s experiments and attempts as they interpret the contemporary life. The imagination and anticipation of life are like an onion with multiple layers. It is like one is looking forward to seeing the hatching of a baby chick when it is another egg that comes out eventually! What is inside the egg baffles all; perhaps, what it contains is only the projection of our own psyche influenced by our situations in the reality. Finally, we will realize that if we want to learn the truth inside the egg, we must create our own prophecies. Therefore, if the reality is the best place to realize these prophecies, we must be ready to welcome an age when everyone is a prophet.
2018 "Exercise Living", Solo Exhibition by K. Y. Tsui, Double Square Gallery, Taipei, TW
2020 "Unfolding Future", Body Motion Short Film Festival, Huashan 1914 Creative Park, Taipei, TW
2020 "2020 Chiayi International Art DOC Film Festival: Create your own being", Auditorium of Cultural Affairs Bureau, Chiayi, TW