麥克風試音：告別式 Microphone Test: Funeral Service
Triple-Screen Projection, Interactive Installation, Glass Fiber, Table and Chair, Plant
This work is a cooperation with my long-time collaborator, screenwriter Chen Wan-Yin.
The Microphone Test series is named after writer Huang Guo-Jun’s work Microphone Test. Two months before Huang committed suicide, he wrote an essay in epistolary style titled“To Mother,” in which he expressed his intention to kill himself to his mother. The writing style is filled with black humor and expressive quality, but he killed himself two months after he wrote this letter, and he did not leave any suicide note.
Microphone Test: A Letter to Huang Guo-Jun is a video letter to Huang Guo-Jun. Through conversations with Huang’s works created before he died, the letter depicts private family memories of three good friends, and attempts to portray what in fact belongs to my, or perhaps everyone’s memories through the memories of these others. Or perhaps, what is important is not whose memory it is, but the process that memory is constructed and viewed. I invited Yuan Zhi-Jie, Chen Liang-Hui, and Lo Tien-Yu to go back to the event site, and reenvisioned their memories in front of the camera. Eventually, I substitute the people in the video with animated figures drawn in lines, in accordance with my past creative methods, and leave only the background shot by the camera.
Microphone Test: A Letter to Huang Guo-Jun__clip from Hsu Che-Yu on Vimeo.
Microphone Test_exhibition recording from Hsu Che-Yu on Vimeo.
Memorial Portrait of Great Grandfather in the Worship Hall in the House: Chen Wan-Yin, who doesn’t know my three friends (Yuan Zhi-Jie, Chen Liang-Hui, and Lo Tien-Yu), rewrote their memories into a script, and dubbed the video Microphone Test: A Letter to Huang Guo-Jun according to her own perspective. In the process of writing, she recalled the memorial portrait of her great grandfather in the worship hall of her house, and the association has double meanings: first, it is an association with family stories, including family member who she has never seen, and the seemingly distant but close family memories; second, it is an association with production method. The video Microphone Test: A Letter to Huang Guo-Jun makes use of a method that replaces real figures with animation, which is similar to the technique of memorial portrait, with both using fiction in place of reality.
In the memorial portrait, only the head image is shot by camera, which is then cut down and pasted to a background with a single seat armchair and pot plant, while the body and the background are replica paintings outlined in Chinese ink wash. The replica is a ready-made model provided by the store for customers to pick, which is why in other unknown families, there could also be the same memorial portrait, memory, body, and background.
A Telephone that Keeps on Ringing on the Living Room Table: After the audience walk into the exhibition space, they see a set of single person table and chair, and a phone that keeps on ringing is placed upon the table. They will hear a man’s voice mumbling words about “sending someone off” after they pick up the phone. The voice actually comes from Huang Guo-Jun’s novelist friend Yuan Che-Shen, who reads his own essay “Sending Off” on the television program “Swimming in the Sea of Books” hosted by Zhang Da-chun. I recorded parts of the dialogues, taking them out of their context and transplanting them in the telephone transmitter, just like sending off Huang Guo-Jun and witnessing his own death, or also like sending off the family memory in the video.
After Huang left the world for a year, Yuan also committed suicide. The newspaper used “Sending Off” as a pun in the title “Sending Off Turns into Parting Eternally.”
The Voice of Yuan, the Farewell Video of Huang, and the Animation and Statue that Rub the Giant Breasts:
Behind the table that has telephone on it and the plant and chair, the back of triple-screen projection is seen by the audience, who have to go around to read the content of the video. Three videos are: Yuan imitating the way his grandfather killed himself under the wall, the funeral service of Huang that can be searched on the Web, and the Animation and Statue that Rub the Giant Breasts, respectively.