Aphonic Ventriloquist (Artist/Works)
Aphonic Ventriloquist (Artist/Works) is a single-channel video projection with myriad moving images and a voiceover that claims to be the voice of an artist. The story involves a ventriloquist who has some issues with his voice. The storyteller—the voice of an artist—illogically recounts her issues about the relationship among artist, artwork, and audience in a vacillating manner, provoking queries about authorship, disembodiment, and the sincerity of the voice.
22 minutes / featuring Heather Foster, Carla Rhodes, and Cecil Sinclaire
The Video and Performance were shown at The Jewish Museum, NY as a part of the exhibition, In Response: Unorthodox. 2016
Still from the Video >>>
Here I propose ventriloquism, not as a stagecraft, but as a standpoint to a relationship among artist,
artwork and audience. Unlike the believers of mystic religious practice of ancient ventriloquism,
where diviners would imitate the departed spirits, intelligent yet guileless contemporary audiences
know the old tricks too well. Hence I envisage this perception could be whimsically defied if the
ventriloquist’s dummy itself is what actually speaks to audiences, or the words come from neither
of them, but elsewhere on the stage. Yet, despite these alterations on the stage, the audience’s
attention is still on the dummy’s mouth on his master’s hand.
The artist as a ventriloquist is perplexed when his or her work becomes voluntary in itself beyond
the role as the one in control, or when the number of dummies or the number of works within a
project grows, as the ventriloquist loses track of which dummy is performing which voice. From
my project that weaves fictional anecdotage about a fisherman inspired by Robert Musil’s
unfinished novel The Man without Qualities, I witnessed the myriad of components evolves by
themselves without my authorial intrusion. Is the artist the one who ventriloquizes the voice of an
artwork, or his or her culture or spirit the where voice from which an artwork speaks? I also
question whether the works themselves ventriloquize each other.
Through this audio-visual piece, I hope to provoke a question on a very orthodox notion that what is ventriloquized
as the work of art stems from the artist. The ventriloquism among artists, artworks, and the audiences that have evolved from a
deluge of information and intercultural ideology is eccentric, and a beautiful mess.