Look at You 潮潮俚

Look at You, 2016
Accumulated community art project at M+ Rover, the travelling creative studio
Dimension variable
[curated by M+ Learning and Interpretation Team]

homepage: M+ Rover 2015-16
drama: http://vimeo.com/18845555419min47s

The title Look at You (ciu4 ciu4 lei5) is a tranlation of a Cantonese pun created by Tang Kwok Hin. He doubles the word ciu, meaning ‘trendy’, to make it a verb and combines it with lei, meaning ‘slang’. Put together, the phrase meaning ‘making old slang trendy again’. Ciu ciu lei also shares the same pronunciation with the phrase ‘look at you’. With this play on words, Tang reflects on how language frames our perspective, directs our knowledge, and formulates our habits. He invites participants to look at one’s self (‘you’) in different contexts in the face of conformity and authority, through the evolution of slang.

Tang takes Cantonese slang from different decades as inspiration to create an installation on M+ Rover which includes audio broadcasts, journals, objects extracted from daily settings, and other materials that accumulate throughout the run of the project. Look at You also comprises an artist-led workshop where students and teachers engage in participatory art practice and contribute to the installation. Participants later engage with audiences from different communities, through discussion and activities, as Look at You travels around Hong Kong.

Based on the selected Cantonese slang, Tang created fictional characters from different generations for a role play activity. Participants wear masks to disguise their identities and headsets to receive audio instructions on how to act. Half are ‘performers’, acting out an assigned character. The other half are ‘observers’, documenting the performers’ actions with sketches or notes in their journals. During the latter part of the workshop, performers and observers listen to different soundtracks while watching the same film clip, highlighting the discrepancies between perspectives during the same event.

To highlight the tension between individuality and conformity, Tang incorporates role play and performances as an approach, and plays with the discrepancies in meaning through misinterpretation, fact and fiction.

This disorientating experience created is thus a metaphor for the sense of loss between the individual perspective and the larger current of collective modern living.