Q & A
Dual Channel Digital Video
Sound, Colour, loop
Exhibited in ‘We Don’t Drink Water’, The Art of CUHK 2014 Graduation Exhibition in Art Museum, CUHK
‘Q and A’ is the question-and-answer section about identities. I invited expatriates to read out the Q and A lines in Cantonese. The first row of subtitles comes from the movies that portray the idea of identity. Questions and answers are unrelated but both draw from the movies related to identity recognition, and they are juxtaposed to create identity confusion. For example, A asked ‘Do you think your voice sounds hesitating?” and B answered “You can choose to leave Hong Kong but Hong Kong won’t leave you.” (lines from the movie Helios) The expatriates communicating in Cantonese is to emphasise the sense of deviation between ethnicities and languages, and to highlight different understanding of self-identity arising from appearance and ego.
The second row of subtitles is actually the version heard by Sandro, who is a Italian-HongKong biracial. Born in Belgium but raised in Hong Kong, he is unproficient in Cantonese but who has a Hongkonger appearance. How shall him identify himself – a Hongkonger, Italian, Belgian, or others? The version that he heard has a fairly great difference with the original meaning of the sentences. For example, the line “I have nothing to tell but express my congratulations” was misheard and misinterpreted as “I am going to use the public toilets”. The discrepancy is a representation and manifestation of the blurriness of self-identification and the importance of how languages construct self-identities.
Upon the creation of this series of work, I have discovered and realised profound implications on the idea of self, the relationship about how self connects and interacts with conceptions of languages and ethnicities. Last but not least, our society can still ask more questions of how art conveys these ideas.