Video installation ( 2014 )
skull made of chipboard, mirror and audio headphone
The documentary of ” Head to Head ” can be seen under the [photo and video] button on home page.
Surveillance, who fear who?
Being a Chinese who grew up in Hong Kong, It is no secret to be under monitoring or surveillance in Mainland China. In the 80’s when Hong Kong was still under the British colonial rule, my residential address in Hong Kong was used for communication with friends and relatives between Mainland China and Taiwan. Because of the close surveillance, it is not possible to have direct communication between Mainland China and Taiwan. This can only be done through Hong Kong as an intermediate point. Therefore, a normal letter usually took more than one month to reach its recipient.
Nowadays, with the popular use of internet, it has been universally agreed that everywhere in the world is part of the world village that can instantly communicate with each other. But such social media like Facebook is still prohibited in China.
Certain more sensitive messages on the China’s most popular messaging “Wei Bo (micro blog)” are often being censored and deleted. But in the southern coast of China, in a place call the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), it still maintains a definite degree of freedom of speech. Until recently, this SAR also feels certain pressure of repression and being watched. People begin to feel that their freedom is being threatened. I start to question: for years, why should the official fear the speeches of residents?
In 2013, since the outburst of the Snowden incident, it really prompted the world to reflect – who can protect their privacy and freedom of speech. USA has been attacking China’s suppression of speech, but this time around, ironically, it is the most active watcher. However, at a time when we arduously voice our opposition against surveillance and to protect personal privacy, people nowadays rather like to pry the privacy of public figures. Gossip news are popular. The freedom of speech and freedom of press , ironically again, become my fear.
In the other hand, the watcher has already stationed in our brains, constantly taking away what we thought and done. It is not a warning, it is already happened.Freedom is just like breathing and blood circulation, it is involuntary and unconscious at most times. Their importance is only highlighted when you experience difficulty in breathing and loss of blood.
My work is a skull which is attached on the wall, and there is a projection of human’s eyes on the skull. The audience can hear from the audio system when they sit in front of the skull, giving out sounds of breathing and blood circulation. These sounds prompt people to think: if we only feel that freedom is so precious while we are on the verge of losing “freedom”, it may already be too late.