Monthly Archives: January 2009

Raised, by Genevieve Chua





   Launch date: 01.01.2009

   Raised as a Pack of Wolves is a visual narrative revolving around a 
family of youths who come together in support of each other where they 
fend for themselves in the wild. This series shows their attempts to 
establish familial ties during the awkwardness of adolescence, as they 
move about together like wolves on a hunt.

   The story runs along with a written narrative that is on the cover 
of the site. The photographs feature the “wolf spirits” as androgynous 
youths, who are assumed girls, as the real gender of these wolves are 
not yet apparent. The series consists of 60 photographs that were shot 
in low-light, at dawn, where these characters emerge from the wild.


   Raised as a Pack of Wolves is a commissioned series by M1 Singapore 
Fringe Festival 2009.


Visibly shot on grainy photographic film, the series of photographs by Genevieve Chua attempts to delineate a narrative of a bizarre ‘pack of wolf-spirits’ emerging, and returning to the woods. what is uncanny about these photographs are that they are incredibly banal and snapshot in nature, but yet depict characters we see about, but seldom identify with on the streets. These adolescents gather as a pack, illustrating the need to belong. 

There are possibly two reference points I will draw to this work: 12 Lotus by Royston Tan, and the recent blockbuster  movie Twlight, based loosely on the novel by Stephenie Meyer. The former, flashbacks between a twisted reality and painful memories of possibly a schizophrenic character, and the latter, no surprises, imaginary beings that prey on young adolescents.

Like the lead character Lian Hua played (simultaneously) by Mindee Ong and Liu Ling Ling in  12 Lotus,It could also be a retelling, or an imagination run wild by a fictitious character, the persona of the narrator of the story. The trajectory of the introductory text about a pack of wolves could be a metaphor for the need to belong, and the need to prey on the weaker. 

Like Bella in Twlight,  perhaps it is about love, of the most unconventional, acceptable kind. Maybe there isn’t a straight way to understand the story completely, with tacky first photograph, with a superimposed image of what seems like a white Siberian husky dog. As disjointed as Wong Kar Wai’s 2046, much needs to be read between the 60 frames, as they might not necessarily be linear. Limited action, and limited props make them less attractive to look at, then the staged photographs of Cindy Sherman, or Sophie Calle’s self-absorbed and make-believe artworks. Art and life is blurred, through the use of film stills in both cases.

But like Sophie Calle, perhaps the work might best suits a presentation involving a myriad of text, photographs, objects – a context or setting – to pull us beyond the fictional veil cast by Twilight. Or a more attractive means of telling the story vis a vis the internet, if Flash is attempted at all, like  Guillermo Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) official website. Perhaps then, the story of a pack of wolves and sisterhood will blend well together with truth, fiction and desire.

Video Conference 1.1

Blast from the past

Black Mark Shop front

A video work preceeded by the first version Video Conference: Exposition 1.0 shown in 2008, explores the relationship between human, and electronical and mechanical visual capabilities and capacities. Through the interplay of equipments, gadgets and live feed to create pulses of imageries that are unique from the combination of singular signals (analogue) and digital video, the work seeks to examine the crux of visual manipulation as a reaction on the bombardment of consumeristic technology.” (artist’s text, extracted from website)

One might miss the work consisting of 2 screens and think it was the surveillance monitor, and live feed gone awry – a gabbled, flickering image of the interior of the shop, distorted and wavy. Like his earlier works, Urich Lau examines, and experiments with the limits of electronic lens-based media, from photocopying machines, digital video, and now surveillance cameras.  Obsessed with distorting means of image making, the live feed is possibly fed onto itself, creating the cascaded mirror effect. The camera looking at itself looking, an art theme since Nam June Paik, and Bruce Nauman started popularising the use of video in art. Theoretical appreciation aside, the work might be a clever play on ‘consumerism’, where desire to ‘buy/consume’ feeds onto itself, and placed in a hip shop where local designer dresses average at $200+ a piece. Visually, the work is too subtle to have any presence, lost on the shelves. 


Video Conference: Solo 1.0


Solo 1.0

The near 30 minute performance by Yuzuru Maeda, consists of playing the violin in tune with a pre-recorded digital sampled track piped through a simple guitar amplifier, while wearing a headgear. This headgear consists of two approximately 3 inch screens, and mounted with a minature camera, which in turn is linked to a projector that casts a moving image of the ‘screens-eyes’ surveying the room of its audience. While fairly in tune, and blind-folded, the violin-play was largely shy, weak and muddy at its worst; it did its’ ‘good feel’ moments towards the end, but little could be said about the projection.  Taking this at face value, we could interpret this solo piece as raw, and exploratory where visuals meet music in the most primitive video way – live feeds and live music, and projection. If we look at the work from the awareness of the history of video art, such as those by Nam June Paik (TV Bra for Living Sculpture, 1976), Yves Klein’s Monotone Symphony (1960)  and Laurie Anderson,  visuals and audio had their brief encounters. They all had their awkward moments, defying hollywood epic soundtrack renditions. This Solo 1.0 seemed to be an attempt to reprieve raw video and music, delving deep into our interpretation life, new age music, and huddling in a dark room where a performance took place. If the video ‘live feed’ and ‘projection’ worked, we would have seen ourselves, ‘huddling in a dark room where a performance took place’, becoming part of the performance or ambient trace. This solo, I hope, will lead onto other experimental projects by the artists, more fruitful collaborations not unlike those by KYTV or Theatreworks. 



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