Country of origin: Taiwan
In which Residency Program(s) did you participate?
City as Site: Public Art as Social Intervention, Summer 2015
What led you to participate in the Summer Residency Program?
The name of the program (City as Site) immediately caught my interest when I first saw it in a magazine. I have been doing several art interventions in the public on my own, and I was surprised that there is a class for that. I wanted to meet a community of artists with similar interests, and also to learn about the multiple ways we can make temporary public art in big cities.
What was the best part of your experience at SVA?
One of our assignments was to hold a “uber-absurd” and “super Dada” art intervention on 23rd Street. I chose a spot in front of a grocery store, placed around thirty tomatoes and bananas and some broken grocery bags on the sidewalk, and pretended that I was trying to fit all the fruit into my pockets, socks, and jacket hood, but failing miserably. I also placed a cardboard sign that reads “Indecisive, please help!” in front of me. Over the course of ninety minutes, several passersby tried to help me by giving me new grocery bags, a few even went into the nearby grocery store to ask for some. Many people were genuinely concerned for my dilemma. Days before, I had a lot of trouble coming up with an idea for this assignment. I realized how hard it was to create an art piece that is completely bizarre and meaningless. I’m used to worrying about an artwork’s meaning as I create it, but for this assignment, the art piece gave meaning to itself after I’ve finished it. Temporarily abandoning intentional meaning making, and letting myself focus on creating a chance for wonder and curiosity was like a breath of fresh air.
How did the Residency Program contribute to your development as a professional artist?
This program introduced me to the process of commissioning public art pieces for Percent For Art, and the different forms these art pieces can take in New York City. Additionally, it helped me develop my approach to understanding sites, and open myself up to all the details (visual, auditory, olfactory) in an environment. I was challenged to understand the history and personality of a place by observing my visual surroundings closely.
What's going on in your studio now?
I’m working on inventing new forms of interpersonal interactions, and having these interactions foster new kinds of connections between people. Specifically, I’m preparing a public art project called Conversation Tubes in University City, Missouri. This project involves installing three talking tubes in three parks, and inserting cell phones into them so people can talk or listen to strangers in other parks.
Is there anything else you'd like to share about your experiences in the program or after?
Be prepared to temporarily let go of your previous ideas about public art, and let the program guide you.