(Click on the picture to watch the video on Vimeo)
The meat sold in supermarket does not look disgusting with its sleek packaging. But if we watch a cow being slaughter in front of us, it gains our sympathy and causes bodily reaction. However, the brutally, crudeness and violent of killing an animal are overshadowed by the packaging and the well-trimmed specialty cuts of meat.
Your Eyes Are Stupid | Singapore Biennale 2013
Mixed Media Installation
Broken Tools Series: Your Eyes Are Stupid | Duration 1:31 mins
Broken Tools Series: If we’re Going to Die, We’ll All Die Together | Duration 3 mins
Wilhelm Scream | Duration 0:48 mins
Our perception of the world is greatly influenced by culture and social conditioning. Joo Choon Lin’s investigation of this is informed by her interest in technological developments. As various technologies of representation devise new ways of capturing the likeness of things (e.g. high-definition technology), so the quality of the surfaces of these things undergoes a transformation. Consequently, ‘reality is reconfigured and the natural state of objects is modified, degenerating the subject’s essence and reflexivity. Surfaces are replaced by another sense of ‘reality’-a glossy, hyper-real world that we sometimes choose to believe in over the tangible world.
In this video and sculptural work, three videos address the idea that objects have an alter-ego nature. In the first video, the nature of a knife is altered by the movements of user. The viewer no longer recognises the knife as a tool meant for cutting, as the knife highlights previously unknown peculiarities and is reincarnated from a hard to soft material. The viewer begins to disassociate him-or himself from the familiar, socially determined function of the knife and sees a new potential for the object. The knife is freed from its former role.
The second video shows a plywood table that appears solid, but seconds later, tools are thrown into it and they slowly submerge into the plywood surface, which is now recognised as a mushy surface. The tools are a hand saw, screws, a screwdriver and a measuring tape. Once disposed into mushy surface, the presence and functionality of these tools are dislocated, akin to a body disappearing into quicksand. The viewer is prompted to think about salvaging them; it is at the verge of losing these objects that their presence and value seem the most visible.
The third video shows a piece of meat jolting out of its Styrofoam packaging as if its nerves are still intact, and it starts to make noises. Through the three videos, joo questions if objects have an independent life. Do or can they have a ‘natural’ voice once they are freed from their socially dictated purposes? Can these objects be there if we no longer need them, or do we miss them only when they are no longer available? Joo draws back from the everyday presence and original uses of these objects, to highlight the absurdity of social conditioning formed by our utilitarian habits.
I am challenging our perception of reality and breaking the familiar patterns of perception, to make known the nature of things, liberating them from their utilitarian function. In the video “Broken Tools”, fully functional tools such as hand-saw, screws, a screw driver and a measuring tape encounter an utterly uncut-able “wooden” plank made of synthetic goo, and the tools in turn become useless themselves. When tools break down, although no longer serviceable, they loudly announce their reality. It is typically in these moments that object first becomes strikingly visible and draws our attention to it.
But underlying all of this, perhaps, is my philosophical interest in the nature of reality: this interest might be summarized in terms of the philosophers’ longstanding investigation into the relations between appearance (i.e. the surfaces of things as they present themselves to the eye and to the other human senses) and essence (i.e. the immutable identity of things as they are apprehended by the mind, rather than the senses).
The film is composed entirely of the knife turning from solid to rubbery. There is a quality of relentless persistence-of doing something over and over again- demonstration of almost persistent determination. I borrowed the repetitive element found in painting or sculpture.
The hand movement becomes sculptural material, showing how the hand can dynamically transform the material(Knife). The perception and bodily comportment can affected to the material form(from solid to soft) with an attempt to stimulate individual perception. An entities has different uses in different context. This Knife is not the same thing in a kitchen, or a prop used in theatrical drama. When a normal hard object such as knife is seen in a limp or wobbly state, this tool is now dysfunctional. The wobbly state gives the knife a form very different from its everyday incarnation.This knife suddenly performs in ways that highlight peculiarities that were unnoticed before.
I think solidity is perhaps the most baffling and incomprehensible of the qualities of everyday objects, and the one we most commonly use to reassure ourselves of their presence. In emptying them of the solidity, it opens to our apprehension a strangeness that was always hidden in everyday objects.