Keenly interested in imaging mechanism, Au Sow-Yee presented her “live cinema” produced with self-made machines and mechanical cinematographs in her earlier practices. She has also undertaken a long-term investigation into the relations among image production, politics, and power via the hybridization of video, conceptual art, and installation. Taiwanese art historian Guo Jau-Lan remarked that “Au often starts reversely from images and thoughts, building an unrecognized non-place nation by detaching and re-editing the existing visual materials in the visual culture.”
STILL ALIVE features Au’s recent works Kris Project II: If the Party Goes On(2016), Castle, Valley, Anonymous Island and Their Return to the Moon(2017) and Prelude: Song of Departure, part of The Extreme Journey of Perwira and the Calm Sea: In 3 Acts(2019). The artist talk will take place on January 18, 2020 (Saturday) as the closing event of the exhibition.
Venue | TheCube Project Space
Opening | Nov. 28, 2019 (Thurs.), 5-8pm
Artist Talk | Jan. 4, 2020 (Sat.), 3-5pm
Speakers | Au Sow-Yee & Enkaryon Ang
░ About the Exhibition
Kris Project II: If the Party Goes On
Prelude: To the Party
4’41” video, text, 2016
Kris Project II: If the Party Goes On
13’52” video, 2016
Using both film and fiction as a method, Sow-Yee took up the heteronym, Ravi, a fictional filmmaker lost in the forest of Mengkerang, imagining and recreating a film studio as well as its’ ghosts and remnants. Mengkerang is an imaginary island/place located somewhere within the South China Sea (whichever you would like to call it). The Kris Project II: If the Party Goes On intertwined the imagined and history, bringing together Ravi’s unfinished script, documents and a film. It is an attempt to uncover the complexity and shifting conditions of border-making, myth-making and to remap (historical) time as well as power structure through the influence of post-war film industry in the region. The narrative of both the script and film reveals Loke, also a film tycoon and an influential figure in the history of film industry during the post-war era, transforming into a secret agent, depicting numerous characters and embarking on a journey crossing the borders of time, countries, folklores and mythologies. Through the fractured and transfiguring “party” that Loke has attended, these other selves looks into keywords such as politics, borders, mobility and alienation.
Castle, Valley, Anonymous Island and Their Return to the Moon
13:52 mins, video, note book, objects, 2017
* commissioned by Asia Art Archive
Jim disappeared into the forest on 26 March 1967. Inside his room in the Moonlight Villa, a bomoh found a script written with invisible ink, a book with sketches, some secret coordinates, plans to go to outer space, and mysterious sculptures imbued with inaudible spells. (notes: Jim is a reference to Jim Thompson, an American Silk Tycoon based in Thailand in his later life. Jim Thonpson disappeared when he was taking a stroll at Cameron Highland, Peninsula Malaysia in 1967. His life or death remains a mystery till today.)
Prelude: Song of Departure, part of The Extreme Journey of Perwira and the Calm Sea: In 3 Acts
04:45 mins, video, documents, sketches on wall, 2019
The Extreme Journey of Perwira and the Calm Sea: In 3 Acts is Au’s continuation of the play The Nanyang Intelligence Bureau (2018), as part of the “Nanyang” project. The Japanese intelligence agent, Tani Yutaka, was a member of F. Kikan, one of the intelligence departments of Japan in the 1940s. Yutaka spoke Malay fluently in the images created by the mass media. After born in 1911, Fukuoka, Japan, he moved to the North East of Malay Peninsula with his parents. He became a bandit out of revenge after his sister was killed. The story of Yutaka was made into movies in 1943 and 1989. And the TV show Amazing Harimao from 1960 to 1961 as well as the comic of the same name published afterwards, were also based on the same story. The Extreme Journey of Perwira and the Calm Sea: In 3 Acts reimagines the oceanic and life journeys of Tani Yutaka. Mixing Southern Cross, navigation system, the thinking, deploying and regrouping of the relationship between popular music and images, the project reflects the multiple facets of Japan, Taiwan, ASEAN countries, as well as the changing borders between South China Sea, Indian Ocean, the Pacific region and its shifting power dynamic. Prelude: Song of Departure, the Prologue of the project, applies the format of Karaoke to start the journey of Yutaka. The song of departure is a collage of the lyrics and melodies of The Song of Taiwanese Army, used to recruit Taiwanese to the army during Japanese Colonization, the theme song of Amazing Harimao and The Song of Southern Cross.
░ About the Artist
Au Sow Yee, born in Malaysia, she now lives and works in Taipei. AU’s works focus mainly in questioning, exploring as well as expanding the relation between images, image making, historiography, politics and power, through video installation and other mediums. A finalist for the 2018 Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation Signature Art Prize and Han Nefkens Foundation – Loop Barcelona Video Art Award 2018, Sow Yee’s works were exhibited in MMCA (Seoul), Mori Art Museum (Tokyo), HKW (Berlin), Shanghai Rockbund Art Museum, Singapore Film Festival among others. Sow Yee is a guest writer for online magazine No Man’s Land and co-founded Kuala Lumpur’s Rumah Attap Library and Collective in 2017.