A bug like any other, 2018. Mixed media installation and performance including gouache paintings on paper, plexiglass, secondhand Ikea frames, Ikea chair, fake fur, rayon and upholstery fabrics. 15” x 8” x 8”. Worth Ryder Gallery, Berkeley, CA.
A bug like any other is a performance-activated installation that asks viewers to consider how symbols and gestures travel across borders, as well as the contexts that are elided or re-imagined during these migrations. It is a work that I developed because I was curious to see what would happen if I created a being that was a collection of accumulations. The form of the bug comes from Chinatown kitsch, as well as natural history drawings produced during the British colonization of Singapore. I was particularly drawn to images of durians, jackfruits and bamboo rats.
During a performance on 2018 January 24, I donned a Bug costume and communicated using a non-verbal language, which I dynamically developed with those in the gallery space. I built up a dictionary of bodily language by mimicking the movements of various people in the space.
At the beginning of the evening, most people did not know how to interact with me, and I had a very limited lexicon of gestures with which to communicate with them. By the end of the performance, I had learned a significantly expanded repertoire of movements, which I could then use to initiate “dialogue.” The bug is a monster and a shell, a creature of the compost bin of history, a materialized agglomeration of residues.