Digital image by Hyun Lee. Installation and performance work in development for MFA, UNSW Art & Design.
On a trip to Guizhou Province with 4A last year, I came across a striking pair of shānzhài platform sandals. These shoes collapsed iconic Versace, Prada, Louis Vuitton and Chanel design features into a bold new product, albeit an absurd one. Walking in them conjured a different character in me and became the catalyst for my work in development, Gloss. It currently features a fake celebrity persona, photography and textiles using counterfeit logos.
In response to Western influences on local markets, I will write and perform experimental pop songs with technologies that standardise sound (Google Translate, pitch-correction, voice-generators). Linguistic and aesthetic errors via generic tools operate as a metaphor for the impacts of Westernisation/colonisation/patriarchy and the necessity of their break down. As dance music heavily relies on jacking rhythms and stuttering vocal samples, I see an equivalence between the disintegration of language and semantics in techno (losing yourself in a trance) and globalisation (losing yourself in late capitalism).
My research draws strongly from music theorist and writer, Robin James. I will look at James's notion of “feminine resilience” in pop music as a way to subvert labour economies by exploiting “damage” as a profitable spectacle. She uses the examples of Rihanna, Beyoncé and Lady Gaga as artists who see the damage caused by white patriarchy as an entrepreneurial overcoming: “Ideally feminine subjects must turn their gendered damage into human capital.” Like these artists, I wish to create a concept album of intelligent dance/pop songs that thrives in an immersive club environment. In its live context, I will use the figure of the cyborg, lavish costuming, inflatable sculptures and audio-visual performance to bring together pleasure and social consciousness.