Be Mysterious | Walter Phillips Gallery | The Banff Centre | August 2- October 19

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Rebecca Baird, Mark Clintberg, Patrick Jackson, Daniel Jacoby
Joo Choon Lin, Alex Morrison, Brent Wadden

`Be Mysterious` is a survey of recent sculpture by Canadian and international artists, who invert the practicality of commonplace things. Accentuating the sensual and physical qualities above their use, these artworks go beyond appearances and allow for the development of alternate relationships with and among objects.

Curated by Jesse McKee

http://www.banffcentre.ca/wpg/

Prototype of “The VEGGsplode and EGGcellent Picture Show”

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The VEGGsplode and EGGcellent Picture Show
By Joo Choon Lin

"Give yourself over to absolute pleasure of VEGGsplode. Swim the warm egg yolk of sins of the flesh - erotic nightmares beyond any measure, and sensual daydreams to treasure forever. Can’t you just see it? Don’t dream it, be EGGcellent!" --- The VEGGsplode and EGGcellent Picture Show

The VEGGsplode and EGGcellent Picture Show aims to examine the notion of shame through an exaggerated set-up inspired by The Rocky Horror Show. I have employed the idea of egging – the act of throwing rotton eggs or vegetables at someone to be humiliated – as an allusion to shame. In some ways, egging can be seen as an act of delineating humanity into “good” and “bad”. The person being egged at can be treated as having done something wrong and therefore rightfully punished.

Tracing the history of psychoanalytic thinking on this subject, Freud’s brief consideration articulates shame as operating along the relational axes between narcissism, self-regard and the ego ideal. Friction between any of them may result in the internal experience of having dishonoured ourselves; the feeling that others are looking on with contempt and mock at what we do or don’t do; or encourage the preventive attitude to disappear for fear of further disgrace. One can hide shame in guilt and guilt in shame.

Through my work, I would like to investigate the theory of shame dynamics born of behaviours of looking and being look at. After all, we are social beings continuously internalising cultural values, idealised representations, and moral principles, to guide the actions and define contours of the self. Feelings of inferiority usually emerge as a response to having been caught engaging in some socially taboo activitiy. We are the roles we choose to play in reality – how much we allow our behaviour to be dictated by societal expectations also bears an influence on others to some extent.

Employing the schlocky aesthetics of The Rocky Horror Show mixed with a dose of the equally fantastical world of kung-fu, I have sought to create the characters in “The VEGGsplode and EGGcellent Picture Show” to closely resemble objects as well as performers acting on stage. Along with some outlandish video effects, I hope these fulfill their potential to be made for observation. As my actors are without any professional performing background, being more often in the position of observing others than being the object of observation, I hoped to capture their apprehensions or impetuousness at being so intentionally made for looking at. I am inclined to think that their intuitive responses could serve to reflect our way of seeing and sense of shame.

According to Otto Fenichel’s writing, “I feel ashamed” can be understood as not wanting to be seen. People who feel ashamed sometimes hide themselves away, and may correspondingly close their eyes in refusal to look. I would like to propose this to be a magical gesture, arising from the curious belief that anyone who does not look cannot be looked at. The eye is the organ of shame par excellence.

Arranging my object-characters based on the composition of Freud’s human psyche, I have structured “The VEGGsplode and EGGcellent Picture Show” as a theatrical experience, highlighting the act of seeing and being seen.

As reflected in the set-up, the id is uninhibited; the superego ‘eggs’ and acts as an intermediary between the id and the audience; our conscience is concerned about rewards, punishments, and also generates fear, shame and guilt.

While shame is typically understood as the fear of disgrace, through this work, I would like to put forth that shame can also be taken as an attitude of awe or respect reflecting the values central to the culture and its human interactions.

Special Thanks to: Participants : Real Chia | Mdm Thiayaga | Chris Tan | A*Mei | Jasper Cher Julian Chua | Head | Community Arts & Culture Division Joanne Ye | Constituency Manger (Community Arts & Culture) Ted Chen | Photographer (Photo credit)
Text Editor: Elizabeth Gan