Voices Lapsed

IKEA furniture, latex-painted wooden construction, 4-channel sound tracks and speakers, dimensions variable, 2011

installation view

Four IKEA armchairs are installed with low voltage-speakers in their pillows, playing low volume-monologues. Two of the chairs are “merged” into the wooden half-lengthened wall. Audience have to sit down or bend down to leaning on the pillow for an intimate listening. It is about the voice of the present of the past, translated and transformed. Two interviewees from my previous project Domestica Invisibile have already passed away. One mid-career American arts writer, who witnessed the development of Asian contemporary art, and one young Japanese multi-media artist from the snow country talk about their home. And we listen and ponder over the words voiced for the people who once uttered. Original in English and Japanese, now also rendered in Mandarin and English respectively.

Original interviewees:
Jonathan Napack (1967-2007) was a correspondent for The Art Newspaper and official representative for Art Basel. He started his writing career for a number of publications in New York including New York Observer and Spy, before moving to Hong Kong in 1997 where he became increasingly involved in the Chinese contemporary art world.
Hiroaki Muragishi ???? (1984-2006) was a philosophy student and a self-taught musician and artist in Sapporo. He wrote and played experimental music; and exhibited multi-media installations. He also took the lead role in Singaporean filmmaker Royston Tan’s short film Monkey Love.

New recording by:
Mimi Brown is the founder of the new non-profit art centre Spring Workshop and a board member of the Asia Art Archive. [Listen]
Robin Peckham is an art critic, curator and the founding director of Saamlung, commercial gallery and project office in Hong Kong. [Listen]
Ko Hasegawa is a hair stylist and founding artistic director of Voi Voi Rakkaus in Hong Kong. [Listen]
Hitomi Hasegawa is a researcher, curator and the founder of the Moving Image Archive of Contemporary Art in Tokyo. [Listen]

Excerpts from the recording:

“Hmm… certainly, I described the people who’re living in this building. More generally, the street is in transition that most of the tenants are like as I described the blue-coloured Chinese who have been here for a very long time, and then are immigrants from South Asia or Southeast Asia. But the neighbourhood has been gentrified... kind of methodically … which was one reason why I moved in ‘cause I really felt when I moved in, there was nothing here except printing shops.”

“Hmm… and then... the biggest dissatisfaction I had... although there is no other way (that) could be done is that you only have this tiny room at the back with any kind of plumbing here. So essentially I crammed the toilet, kitchen, shower into this very small wedge-like place in there. Now it works very well when I am here alone. But obviously it becomes an issue when I have people over, people stay or if my maid comes while I am taking a shower.”

…. Well, my room is on the 2nd floor, and on this floor, there is storage, my mother's room and my room, and my room doesn't just belong to me, it's more like my bed and desk is in a shared room, so to speak.”

“My room leads to my mother's room without a wall just with a piece of curtain, and as I said earlier my room is big and it's more like I have my bed and desk in a shared room, so I don't get much privacy in here, but since we moved into this house, I haven't had an enclosed, private room as such, I'm so used to it, I don't even imagine I want a room with privacy. ”